"As one of the biggest technology companies in existence, Microsoft is a name that nearly everyone is familiar with. While some know the company for its software, computing devices and gaming consoles, others know Microsoft for its powerful data center and cloud services. While cloud computing has been a disruptive force for change for enterprise IT, recent developments that show Microsoft backing cloud hosting for business highlight the technology’s potential.
Powerful Microsoft Takes on the Powerful Cloud
Microsoft released a fact sheet featuring a collection of statistics regarding the company’s products and servicesthat demonstrated how profound of a presence the company has established in the modern world. The stats detail that there have been more than 100 million Windows 8 licenses sold thus far, and about half of all Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft’s cloud platform, Windows Azure. Furthermore, Microsoft reported that roughly 1,000 new customers sign up to utilize Windows Azure every day. Another notable statistic provided is that Microsoft’s Partner Network is comprised of more than 430,000 organizations around the world, adding up to an impressive 160 million mutual customers.
Recognizing that enterprises need reliable cloud services, Microsoft has taken a number of critical steps to ramp up its offerings in recent months. On September 18, Microsoft announced a partnership with AT&T to deliver reliable cloud solutions to business customers that facilitate access to Microsoft’s cloud platform by means of a private network.
“This is a game changer for businesses that have been seeking a more secure way to reap the benefits of cloud services,” said Andy Geisse, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions. “By bringing the security and performance of our virtual private network to Windows Azure, we expect to energize enterprise demand for cloud solutions.”
This is a significant development in the realm of the enterprise cloud, as AT&T’s cloud integration technology and the use of virtual private networking is expected to enhance security features in the cloud environment – historically a point of contention among business cloud users. Microsoft addressed these often cited concerns regarding security and reliability in the cloud in its announcement of its new solution. The company noted that by working with AT&T, it will enable enterprise customers to connect services and applications running in their own on-premises data centers and private clouds to the Windows Azure platform. Security is enhanced in this process by leveraging virtual private networks, which provide better protection with its high data transmission speeds.
“There’s no question that the time for cloud computing is now, and it’s critical we help enterprises embrace the cloud on their terms,” said Satya Nadella, executive vice president of Cloud and Enterprise for Microsoft. “Through this strategic alliance with AT&T, we can reduce the barriers to entry for cloud computing by providing a more secure and reliable connectivity option for enterprise customers, accelerating the growth of cloud computing and the rapid adoption of Windows Azure.”
Moving Forward for Enterprise IT
Microsoft’s partnership with AT&T is not the first of its kind. The company announced its enterprise partnership with leading software developer Oracle back in June, citing motivations of providing greater choice and flexibility when it comes to helping businesses embrace the cloud. With other big market players like Rackspace releasing studies that demonstrate corporate preference for hybrid cloud solutions, such strategic partnerships like these are key to providing the interoperability that organizations need today.
“Microsoft is deeply committed to giving businesses what they need, and clearly that is the ability to run enterprise workloads in private clouds and, increasingly, across both,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a press release. “Now our customers will be able to take advantage of the flexibility our unique hybrid cloud solutions offer for their Oracle applications, middleware and databases, just like they have been able to do on Windows Server for years.”
Microsoft also performed a study in early June that found 94 percent of small and medium-sized businesses will bolster security defenses, privacy and reliability in addition to cutting costs and saving time when they adopt cloud services. The company’s TechEd Europe 2013 and TechEd North America 2013 conferences were also used as an opportunity for Microsoft to tout the cloud’s benefits and reinforce its commitment to helping businesses embrace the technology as they move forward."