Microsoft to Drop Windows Branding on Azure
Microsoft's rebranding efforts are spreading into its cloud services portfolio.
In a sign that the Redmond, Wash.-based software titan's cloud ecosystem has grown more platform-agnostic, Microsoft is getting ready for a change. According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, the company will soon announce that Windows Azure is going by a new name: Microsoft Azure.
"The announcement is expected to happen tomorrow, March 25, and to take effect on April 3, the second day of Microsoft's Build conference in San Francisco, said a couple of individuals who asked not to be identified, but who are familiar with Microsoft's plans," wrote Foley. Build 2014, Microsoft's developer confab, takes place April 2-4.
Considering how far Azure has ventured from Windows, the "rebranding makes sense," she added. The company's cloud has supported various flavors of Linux since 2012—in addition to Windows Server—courtesy of the company's Azure Virtual Machine technology.
As of this writing, supported Linux distributions include Ubuntu 12.04.1, 12.10 and 13.04; CentOS 6.3; Oracle Linux 6.4; SUSE Linux Enterprise SP3; and OpenSUSE 13.1 and above. In his report for eWEEK, Darryl K. Taft noted that as of June 2012, "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has the broadest industry support among enterprise Linux operating systems, with more than 9,200 certified applications from over 1,800 independent software vendors, expanding customer choice in cloud environments." Unsurprisingly, the popular open-source operating system factors significantly in the company's answer to Amazon's Linux-friendly cloud services platform.
Last year, after a preview period, Microsoft launched Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, the company's infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, as its name suggests. In an April 16, 2013, blog post, Microsoft General Manager Scott Guthrie—now the company's new cloud chief since Satya Nadella took over as CEO—said Azure Infrastructure Services "is now live in production, backed by an enterprise SLA, supported by Microsoft Support, and is ready to use for production apps."
One rival business software giant is making its wares available on Microsoft's cloud. After Oracle and Microsoft announced a cloud co-op deal on June 24, 2013, the companies officially kicked off support for Oracle virtual machines (VMs) on March 12.
Azure also serves as the technology base for Microsoft's sprawling cloud services slate.
Office 365 subscriptions are powered, in large part, by Azure. Microsoft's cloud provides collaboration and file syncing capabilities across multiple platforms, including iOS and Android, along with access to the newest software updates. Several Xbox One features, including AI processing on select games like Titanfall and Forza, are powered by Azure.
Azure follows other big name branding moves at the company. On Feb. 19, Microsoft announced that OneDrive had replaced SkyDrive as the company's cloud storage service, following a court loss in a trademark infringement case in the U.K. Hotmail.com, Microsoft's popular Webmail site, now points to Outlook.com.