Microsoft sits on the fence over cloud

Tech Ed

Microsoft has claimed its strategy to not completely commit itself to cloud-based computing is the way forward.

Speaking at the opening keynote of Microsoft's Tech Ed event event in Berlin, Germany, Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of server and tools claimed that the software giant does not dictate to businesses what is best for them.

He said that we're currently experiencing a transformative time for IT describing cloud computing as the "evolution of the data centre". Companies could either choose to host private clouds, let third parties host their cloud, or let Microsoft do so through its Azure platform, according to Wahbe.

"Microsoft's strategy is about supporting all scenarios, public and hybrid. Companies need to have the flexibility," he said.

Wahbe, demoing key features of Windows Server 2008 R2, which was released on 22 October in line with Windows 7, said that according to Microsoft figures, moving to 2008 R2 will bring power efficiencies of 18 per cent on the same hardware.

He also claimed that enabling the Branch Cache feature of Server 2008 on its own cloud networks had reduced network bandwidth by 90 per cent. Wahbe said this was achieved by sharing resources around the network, caching local files when necessary, while leaving others in the cloud.

Microsoft also announced the general availability of Forefront Protection 2010, an anti-malware application that integrates with Exchange 2010, and Outlook Web App online. He described Forefront as "securing the infrastructure all the way to the edge".

Also at the keynote, Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division demoed new features in Outlook Web App with Exchange Server 2010, such as threaded conversations and integrated instant messaging.

Elop said that in IT there was a general tension between flexibility and control and that new features in Windows 7 such as Bit Locker to Go would help IT managers, "surprise and delight".

"Users want flexibility, IT departments want control," he said. "It's the job of IT pros to bridge the gap."


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