Microsoft has merged its cloud operating system, Azure, that lets developers create new Microsoft-compatible tools and applications in a cloud-based environment with its Server and tools group. The two groups will be operating under one division tagged Server & Cloud Division (SCD). The idea is to bring the software giant’s Windows servers, online tools like Hotmail, Office Web apps etc, private and partner clouds under one roof to promote flexibility for the customer and provide seamless integration of different applications. It certainly gives more options for businesses currently running in-house Windows software to extend into the cloud as an initiative to expand operations or to migrate into other platforms without running into compatibility issues.
As more and more Enterprises strive to reduce computing costs by taking the cloud route thanks to on demand utilization, reduced administration and infrastructure costs, and faster deployment cycles, Microsoft ‘s move to unify its cloud offerings and its regular software sales is a shrewd one. Everyday business applications like word processing, spreadsheets, CRM tools, ERP and database management software are jumping onto the cloud and clients are lapping it up mainly due to simple plug and play type settings and pay-as–you- go payment models. The huge success of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is testimonial to this. In a matter of seconds, and starting at just 10 cents per hour of instance up-time, a small business owner can have any number of servers is at his/her disposal. With Tech research firm IDC predicting that spending on IT cloud services will grow almost threefold, reaching $42 billion by 2012, it seems like cloud is here to stay.