Microsoft made several announcements this week affecting its Azure cloud computing ecosystem, but none as momentous and its decision to join the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
The group was formed in 2015 to administer the Cloud Foundry open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Originally developed by VMware, Cloud Foundry is now backed by some of the biggest names in the IT industry.
During the Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara, Calif. on June 13, Microsoft announced it had joined the project as a Gold Member, one step below the platinum tier, which counts Cisco, Dell EMC, IBM, SUSE and SAP among its members. Other Gold members include SAS, GE Digital, Huawei and Capgemini.
Microsoft follows in the footsteps of Google as a fellow Gold status holder. Late last year, the search giant joined the organization in a bid to make its own cloud platform more open and spur adoption among businesses.
"Collaborating with customers and partners as we've worked on these projects made the decision to join the Cloud Foundry Foundation simple. It's an energized community with vast enterprise adoption," stated Brian Stevens, vice president of Google Cloud, at the time.
With similar aims in mind, and some prior experience with Cloud Foundry technology under its belt, Microsoft has jumped on board.
"The partnership with the Cloud Foundry Foundation extends our commitment to deeply collaborate and innovate in the open community," wrote Corey Sanders director of Compute at Microsoft Azure, in a blog post. "We remain committed to create a diverse and open technology ecosystem, to offer you the freedom to deploy the application solution you want on the cloud platform you prefer."
On the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) side of Microsoft's cloud, the company announced on Thursday a four-fold increase in the maximum disk size that customers can use in Azure IaaS virtual machines (VMs).
Users can now use disks with up to 4TB of storage in Azure's Premium and Standard storage tiers, up from 1TB previously. Customers with memory-optimized GS5 virtual machines can now provision up to 256TB of storage in the cloud.
The larger disk sizes are available now in nearly all Azure data regions. Microsoft hopes to enable large disks in its "sovereign clouds" (U.S. Government, U.S. Department of Defense, China and Germany) in the coming weeks, according to the company.
For organizations with more modest needs, Microsoft also unveiled smaller Premium Managed Disk sizes of 32GB and 64GB.
"You can use these new smaller sizes to optimize cost in scenarios in which you require consistent disk performance, but with lower disk capacity, such as the OS disks for Linux VMs," suggested Yuemin Lu an Azure Storage program manager at Microsoft. "We already offer smaller disk sizes for Standard Managed Disks."
Also this week, the company released a public preview of Apache Kafka open-source stream processing platform with Azure Managed Disks on HDInsight, Microsoft's cloud-based big data platform. Technical details are available here.