Microsoft, Partners Roll Out Data Center Guides

Microsoft and partners announced new version of the Prescriptive Architecture Guide for Internet-facing data centers.

Microsoft Corp. and its partners on Wednesday announced new versions of its Prescriptive Architecture Guide for Internet-facing data centers.

The guides give step-by-step technical instructions on configuring data centers, with two combinations of partners products.

"We really dont have any guarantee programs set up, [but] what the customers gets out of it is a much better level of support. Youre going to see an MSA Qualified logo," said Don Thompson, product manager at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.

Users also get single points of contact for support, and "the other thing the customer of course gets is a tested infrastructure. They also get a complete bill of materials," Thompson said.

Its possible that users will see pricing discounts, but that will be the partners decision, not Microsofts, he said.

"We no longer can associate Microsoft with just applications and operating systems. Microsoft is to be taken seriously," said Tony Prigmore, an industry analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass. "Everyone wants to make fun of them. But at the end of the day, they can turn on a dime to solve a problem."

The Internet Blueprint, led by partners Avanade Inc., Brocade Communications Systems Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Emulex Corp., EMC Corp., Nortel Networks Ltd. and Unisys Corp., is one guide. Microsoft Internet Data Center, the second guide, supports Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Cisco Systems Inc., EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Microsoft Consulting Services and Nortel Networks.

The guides will be live at Microsofts Web site by Thursday, Thompson said—the guides currently on the site are versions of the generic Reference Architecture Guide, available since January. Also, the new guides are "absolutely" indicative of things Microsofts new storage division is working on, he said. Microsoft storage is also working on new appliance features.

"The next configuration we do is underway" and will be available in the fall," he said. "Itll be a different class of configurations. [The storage divisions work] is going to be incorporated as they develop it."

Thompson said the guides are not just Windows marketing in disguise. "It cost a considerable amount of money to bring all these things together. Thats way beyond best practices. Thats something we can demonstrate," he said.