Microsoft talks up private and public cloud adoption


Microsoft is banking on new products, simpler pricing and transferable licensing agreements to speed up adoption of its cloud offerings.

The software giant recently announced the launch of its management console, System Center 2012, which lets IT administrators monitor workloads across private and public cloud environments.

Unlike previous generations, where end users had multiple versions of the product to choose from, System Center 2012 is only available in two different flavours.

Speaking to IT Pro, Cliff Evans, System Center product manager at Microsoft, said the change would simplify the purchasing process and help firms get into the cloud more quickly.

However, although the number System Center configurations has decreased, end users will not lose any functionality, he stressed.

"We used to sell individual components, such as Configuration Manager, Operations Manager and Data Protection Manager and each one of those would be available in several different versions with different capabilities," he explained.

"So, we put all of those things into System Center 2012 and they get all the capabilities straight off."

The product SKUs aren't the only thing Microsoft has simplified, added Dan Germain, director of hosted infrastructure at Microsoft partner Outsourcery.

Last year, the vendor overhauled its licensing strategy to allow Enterprise Agreement users that have purchased on premise licenses to use them in the cloud.

"In the past, they would buy a license for all of their on premise servers and then have to buy all of the licenses again [to make use of cloud]. That is not the case anymore," explained Germain.

"Since that initiative has been in place, we've seen a massive increase in the adoption of Microsoft cloud services.

"I wouldn't say it was a barrier to adoption in the past, but it was certainly an issue," he added.

To capitalise on this momentum, Mike Schutz, senior director of product management for server and cloud at Microsoft, said the firm has also recently introduced a "customer immersion" programme.

"When customers get their hands on the product, experience and totally immerse themselves in it, we see a high rate of adoption, so that is something we are actively encouraging," he said.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.