No two enterprise IT departments are the same – but one thing they all have in common is this: They want the components of their IT infrastructure (hardware, software, cloud, apps, etc.) to JUST WORK.
One of the things I really love about my job is the opportunities I have to meet with so many of our customers and partners around the world. Despite the diverse conversations we have on their specific needs, there is a common issue I hear over and over: The first and foremost concern for companies is the performance and reliability of their infrastructure.
This perspective is especially true when it comes to the Cloud.
Each company is taking its own unique journey to the Cloud. Many organizations are building their own clouds (private clouds), and service providers offering Cloud capabilities to customers around the world is one of the fast growing segments in the IT industry. Based on the incredible growth we’re seeing in Windows Azure, the use of public cloud capabilities is becoming a common practice. We believe that most organizations will soon be using cloud capacity from multiple cloud sources (private, hosted, and public), and this combination of private and public clouds has produced what’s commonly called Hybrid IT.
Hybrid IT has become an extremely important topic because IT administrators are increasingly finding their datacenters spanning public, private, and hosted clouds from several different vendors. For this specific reason, one of our primary goals here at Microsoft is to ensure consistency across these clouds.
In countless meetings, our customers have been super clear with us about two things:
- They do not want to be locked into a specific cloud.
- They require the ability to place their apps and services in the cloud that best meets their needs (cost, compliance, governance, etc.), with the ability to then move across clouds as needed.
A common scenario we are seeing with Azure is the use of Azure resources for the web-tier or front end of a service, with the middle- and data-tiers running within the organization’s data center (private cloud). In this scenario, customers want to retain control over business critical data, yet maintain the flexibility necessary to scale their web tier depending on changing demand. This allows a company to control costs, yet respond to changing business needs.
Because we are actively delivering on our promise of “consistency across clouds,” these customers can chose to move the front-end servers back to their data centers, or they can move the middle/data-tiers into Azure or a Service Provider. Consistency across clouds delivers the flexibility and agility that every customer should demand from their cloud partners.
Now, to really make this work for IT, there absolutely must be a consistent experience for managing the applications and services across these clouds. The work we have done (and continue to do) in System Center provides that common and consistent experience across these clouds.
Helping our customers make this transition – on their terms, and at a pace that works for them – is a major area of emphasis for this team, and we are focused on our continued support for a consistent and high quality Hybrid IT environment.