Microsoft Cloud OS Vision Unfolds With New Products, Services

Microsoft laid out more pieces of its Cloud OS vision, including System Center 2012 Service Pack 1, new Windows Intune and Windows Azure services for Windows Server.

Microsoft recently announced a series of products and services that help outline its Cloud OS vision.

In a Jan. 15 press briefing, Microsoft described how customers and partners can capitalize on cloud opportunities with System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1), the new Windows Intune, and Windows Azure services for Windows Server. These products help users manage hybrid cloud services and connected devices—including iOS and Android—with greater agility and cost efficiency, Microsoft said.

Also on Jan 15, in a blog post, Michael Park, Microsoft corporate vice president of Server and Tools Marketing, outlined the Microsoft Cloud OS vision to provide customers with one consistent platform for infrastructure, apps and data—spanning customer data centers, hosting-service-provider data centers and the Microsoft public cloud.

Microsoft has been very successful building a business around the concept of an OS, Park said. "And we think an OS will play a more important role in the era of the cloud," he said in a briefing. Park also wrote about the Cloud OS on The Official Microsoft Blog.

"At the highest level, the Cloud OS does what a traditional operating system does—manage applications and hardware—but at the scope and scale of cloud computing," Park said in the post. "The foundations of the Cloud OS are Windows Server and Windows Azure, complemented by the full breadth of our technology solutions, such as SQL Server, System Center and Visual Studio. Together, these technologies provide one consistent platform for infrastructure, apps and data that can span your data center, service-provider data centers, and the Microsoft public cloud."

Moreover, "with Windows Server and Windows Azure at its core, the Cloud OS provides a consistent platform across customer data centers, service-provider data centers and the Microsoft public cloud," Park said in a statement. "Powerful management and automation capabilities are key elements of the Cloud OS, taking the heavy lifting out of administration and freeing IT organizations to be more innovative as they embrace hybrid cloud computing and the consumerization of IT."

Microsoft announced the general availability of System Center 2012 Service Pack 1; this update brings the full range of System Center management to Windows Server 2012 for private and hybrid cloud-based computing. It provides a single tool to manage cloud-based applications and resources running in a private, hosted or public cloud.

Using System Center 2012 SP1 with Windows Server 2012, customers can shift from managing data center components separately to delivering resources as a whole, including networking, storage and compute, Microsoft said. Cloud infrastructure capabilities such as multi-tenancy, software-defined networking and storage virtualization are built in and ready for automated, hybrid cloud environments.

With the updated System Center, customers can centrally manage cloud-based applications and resources running in their data centers, on a hosted-service-provider data center or on Windows Azure. By integrating service-provider cloud capacity and management directly into their operations, enterprises can extend their data center capabilities. Administrators can move virtual machines to Windows Azure and manage them from within System Center, based on their needs.

Customers can also use System Center 2012 SP1 to back up their servers to Windows Azure to help protect against data loss and corruption. In addition, SP1 supports Global Service Monitor (GSM), a new Windows Azure-based service available for trial evaluation, which provides Web application performance measurement from a user's perspective. System Center GSM extends the application monitoring capabilities in System Center 2012 SP1 using Windows Azure locations around the globe, giving a true reflection of end-user application experiences. GSM is now available for trial and will be broadly available in March.