June 12, 2012

Microsoft Pitches Windows Server 2012, Azure As ‘Cloud OS’

Microsoft is using its own, vast online services to demonstrate its next-generation cloud and data center technologies, the company said on Monday during its 20th annual TechEd North America conference in Orlando.

The software giant is aggressively pitching its new and upgraded enterprise application development products, including Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure and server-side solutions, to large enterprise clients. These products are key components of what Microsoft calls "the era of the cloud OS."

"The cloud operating system is the core capability," said Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft's Server & Tools division, during a 90-minute keynote address.

Microsoft said it was using its new technologies to run its own online services before it officially rolls them out to customers, and has migrated the front-end servers for the Bing search engine to Windows Server 2012.

"We wanted to make sure that we can do a great job of building it out comprehensively and consistently so that you can usher in the era of the cloud operating system,” Nadella said.

Organizations require server tools and operating systems that can provide and support a variety of Internet-connected devices and Web applications, he said.

These requirements offer "a huge opportunity to reinvent ourselves.”

Like previous Windows operating systems for servers, Windows Server 2012, which is currently in release candidate (RC) stage and is expected out this fall, performs the tasks of managing hardware and providing a platform for applications. However, the scale has now been broadened to accommodate data center requirements, Nadella said.

Applications residing on the cloud must be available through a variety of devices, while accounting for users' identities and offering social features, he added.

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure — a public cloud application hosting and development platform -- were specifically designed with these requirements in mind, he said.

Microsoft also announced a new version of its Windows Intune PC and mobile device management tool, which includes additional capabilities for managing mobile devices.

The Redmond, WA-based company said its LightSwitch product, a development tool for rapidly creating new applications, now includes support for HTML5.

It also gave a preview of Microsoft Team Foundation Service, an application lifecycle management tool designed to streamline application development and deployment.

Microsoft´s Windows 8 client version will be addressed during Tuesday´s TechEd keynote.