At a Microsoft event earlier today, the Windows team shared new information on the direction of Windows in the enterprise. Likewise, we in the Cloud + Enterprise team would like to start sharing the direction for our datacenter products, anchored on Windows Server and System Center, as we continue to deliver against our Cloud OS vision. While this post will give you a sense of where we’re headed, we encourage you to stay tuned as we share more information in the coming weeks.
With Microsoft Azure, we are focused on delivering the world’s leading cloud platform for infrastructure and application services. In addition to Azure, Microsoft runs over 200 cloud-based services, many of which run at global scale including Office 365, Xbox Live, Bing, and Outlook.com. We take the know-how from building and operating these cloud services – automation and efficiency, flexibility, scalability – and bring it into Windows Server and System Center. We think this is unique in the industry: running global-scale cloud services AND providing customers the same innovative technologies to run their own cloud and IT services.
This is most true with Windows Server and System Center, the core of our cloud platform vision. We are excited today to start to share just a bit of what is to come with these releases. Some of the cloud innovation features you will see include:
Infrastructure upgrades: Rolling upgrades for Hyper-V clusters to the next version of Windows Server without downtime for your applications and workloads. This includes support for mixed versions as you transition your infrastructure.
Networking: New components for our software-defined networking stack that enable greater flexibility and control, including a network controller role to manage virtual and physical networks.
Storage: New synchronous storage replication that enhances availability for key applications and workloads plus storage Quality of Service to deliver minimum and maximum IOPS in environments with workloads with diverse storage requirements.
Remote Desktop: Enhanced application compatibility with OpenGL and OpenCL support.
Identity and Access Management: New scenarios to reduce the risk profile of administrators with elevated rights, including time-based access with fine-grained privileges, and new application publishing capabilities.
As our first step in this journey, we will be making a “Technical Preview” available for the next version of Windows Server and System Center on October 1. We typically provide this release only to a small number of customers, but this time we are providing broad access for those that want to start the journey early. If you want to download the bits or try them on Azure, then by all means go for it. But do know that this is an early release, and many of the features and scenarios are still in development. As such this build is not intended for production environments, labs, nor full evaluations.
This early access is just one small step we are taking. We are also evolving how we ship our software and service our platform products to keep the software up-to-date. For our datacenter products, there is a duality in what customers want: in some scenarios customers tell us they favor stability and predictability while in other scenarios they want access to the latest and greatest technologies as fast as possible. We’ll have more specifics in the coming months, but you can expect us to deliver the best of both worlds: options for speed and agility, plus options for stability and durability.
This is just the start of the story with this wave of products. We will have much more to share in the coming weeks and months. Thank you and stay tuned for more!
Follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates at @MSCloud.