Why companies are turning to Microsoft private cloud solutions

Cloud computing is at an inflection point. According to Forrester Research, the global market for cloud computing will grow to more than $241 billion in 2020. With the rapid growth in cloud services and increasing industry hype, customers are making decisions today – about where to invest and with whom – that have long term impact.

With decades of experience in enterprise computing, customers across Europe are choosing Microsoft to help them on the first step of the cloud computing journey – implementing a private cloud solution: “We are seeing strong momentum in Microsoft cloud deployments in Europe. Moreover an increasing number of European customers and partners opt for our private cloud solutions and services over those of our competitors. Quite simply, this is because with Microsoft the economics of the private cloud stack up for businesses of all sizes,” says Klaus Holse Andersen, Area Vice President Microsoft Western Europe.

  • The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), working with Microsoft partner Certus IT, selected Microsoft technology, including Microsoft Hyper-V, over VMware to set up an in-house private cloud. Craig Phillips, IT manager at the WRU commented, “Savings was a long time aim of the virtualisation. We looked at VMware as well as the Microsoft solution and thought Hyper-V would be the best fit for the business. We run a lot of Microsoft applications and we could rest assured that Microsoft would continue to develop and support the solution.”
  • Team 7, an Austrian furniture manufacturer, has been using virtualisation for eight years and the company recently decided to move completely to Microsoft for its private cloud with the help of its local partner Base-IT. Karl-Heinz Voglsberger, Head of Datacenter, explains why: “We have been using all relevant virtualization services, including VMware ESX Enterprise, which required a significant investment from our IT budget. We evaluated Hyper-V for Windows Server 2008 R2 when it was released and were very satisfied with the performance. We soon decided to fully migrate from VMware to Hyper-V for budgetary reasons. Meanwhile we realised that we are not only benefiting from savings but also from the high integration into the Microsoft Platform. We definitely would take this decision again and hope Microsoft will remain that innovative in virtualisation.”

With an application-focused approach, a private cloud solution from Microsoft lets customers focus on what matters most – the applications that drive their business – not just infrastructure and virtual machines. With a Microsoft private cloud, you also get a licensing model that lets you scale applications without scaling costs. In contrast, a VMware private cloud solution can cost four to ten times more than a comparable Microsoft private cloud solution over a period of one to three years (see a recent analysis of the economics of the private cloud, downloadable here). With Microsoft, the benefits of implementing a private cloud stack up as these customers are seeing today:

  • London-based architecture and design practice Zaha Hadid Architects, needed to match the firm’s IT infrastructure to accommodate business growth, improve storage capacity, and ensure business continuity. Simon Johns, Head of IT, Zaha Hadid Architects, says: “It was important for us to achieve a greater user density per server. We wanted to offer our architects and designers application deployment through a self-service portal and give them a centralised infrastructure in which to work, with broader access to media-rich applications.”

    The firm had an existing Microsoft Services Enterprise Agreement offering the advantage of Microsoft virtualisation technology – included with Windows Server 2008 R2 at no extra cost. The firm’s partner Fabric Technologies replaced the core infrastructure with a more flexible architecture using Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with Hyper-V. VMware virtualisation software was considered, but ruled out on cost grounds. Simon Kentish, Chair of Fabric Technologies furthermore points out that, “ensuring business continuity was a major consideration during the deployment since Zaha Hadid Architects staff work late into the night and often at weekends as well. Using Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, it is now easier and quicker to deploy new servers.”

  • Ventelo, Norways’s second largest telecommunications provider, had previously begun virtualising on a small scale with products from VMware, but chose to switch to virtualising with Microsoft instead. As most of Ventelo’s internal servers run Microsoft Windows Server as the operating system, this was completely cost-free. Jørn-Morten Innselset, Infrastructure Architect in Ventelo’s IT department comments, “If we had continued with VMware, we would have had to pay around 800,000 kroner in licence costs, in addition to a yearly consultant agreement at around 100,000 kroner that we could now give notice on.” The only cost that Ventelo covers today is licence fees for the operating system, which is a cost they would have faced with any solution they chose.