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Azure takes centre stage

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At the Microsoft TechEd 2013 conference currently underway in Durban, it unveiled the Windows Azure Infrastructure Services (IaaS), which allows users to move existing apps to the cloud to save time and money.

With this announcement, Microsoft is now a cloud provider offering customers a fully supported, comprehensive hybrid cloud solution with platform and infrastructure services, said Microsoft South Africa’s developer platform head, Clifford de Wit.

‚”This is a significant step in our cloud computing strategy, which has been influenced directly by our discussions with customers and partners around the world,‚” said De Wit. ‚”Customers don’t want to rip and replace their current infrastructure to benefit from the cloud: they want the strengths of their on-premises investments and the flexibility of the cloud.

‚”It’s not only about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), it’s about Infrastructure Services and Platform Services and hybrid scenarios. The cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organisation’s IT fabric, not just a fancier way to describe cheap infrastructure and application hosting.‚”

Delivering the keynote address at TechEd 2013, which runs until Friday at Durban’s ICC, De Wit said Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform was gaining momentum in the marketplace, with nearly 1000 customers signing up for Azure daily. More than 200 000 customers are using the Windows Azure platform to date, with ‚”strong growth‚” in the South African marketplace as customers started seeing the benefits of the platform.

Not surprisingly, a major area of focus at this year’s event is expected to be Microsoft’s Server solutions, which are driving the modern enterprise’s drive towards cloud computing. Other areas which will enjoy a good deal of attention are the company’s Office 365 offering, and its Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms within the enterprise.

However, this year is also expected to see a surprising amount of attention being paid to apps, with a specific track around apps and developing apps on all of the company’s platforms.

‚”Since the last TechEd event 18 months ago, we’ve seen new versions of practically every product and service in our portfolio,‚” De Wit told the 2500 delegates. ‚”The drive behind this massive wave of innovation is a focus on cloud-enablement, which we see as a key area of focus for all businesses.‚”

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