While I sit here at PDC, Ray Ozzie and Bob Muglia are announcing a new cloud computing platform – Azure Services Platform -that runs in Microsoft’s network of datacenters. In case you couldn’t make it to LA or watch the keynotes today, below is a short video of Bob providing an overview of the Azure Services Platform.
As Bob notes, this new platform opens the door for businesses to quickly address challenges and opportunities through cloud-based computing.  Relative to other cloud computing platforms, some of the advantages of Azure are that it provides a complete cloud platform while leveraging your businesses’ existing IT skills sets and knowledge.  These advantages allow businesses to quickly extend existing applications or build new cloud applications.

Customers tell me that they want both on-premise IT and server infrastructure as well as to be able to leverage cloud-computing when it makes the most business sense. You might be asking whether Azure will replace Windows Server. The answer is simply no. Azure is not a platform or software that customers will run on their own internal servers. It runs in Microsoft’s datacenters only and is optimized for cloud computing scenarios. We will continue to innovate and ship Windows Server for both on-premise application and infrastructure scenarios and will ensure that customers continue to have choice in choosing the platform that best meets their need, whether on-premise or in the cloud.

I wanted to address another common question that has come up when I talk to IT professionals. They ask how Azure will change how they work. Azure provides a fundamental paradigm shift in what IT professionals manage. With the Azure Services Platform, IT operations will be focused on deploying, configuring and monitoring applications. The hardware, operating system and infrastructure management are abstracted away from IT professionals and developers to save them time by enabling them to simply focus only on applications. To learn more about this paradigm shift in what is managed, you can download Azure’s Customer Technology Preview and run it on your local machine or watch some demo videos.

As I’ve said before in my blogs, the long-term success for Microsoft depends on our ability to deliver a platform that is open, flexible, and provides customers and developers with choice. This includes Microsoft and open source technologies working together. Now we enter the next era where customers have greater platform choice to innovate and deliver value, whether on-premise or via a cloud platform.

Bill Hilf, General Manager, Windows Server

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