Microsoft Talks Up Private Clouds at Tech-Ed Europe

While Microsoft has talked up its public cloud efforts in recent months, the company also is looking to show customers and partners that they can build private clouds based on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V.

Microsoft today launched Hyper-V Cloud, a collection of programs, products and service offerings intended at facilitating private cloud deployment based on Windows Server and Hyper-V. The company debuted the effort at the annual Tech-Ed Europe conference and expo in Berlin.

"This is a set of programs and initiatives that are expressly focused on helping you to get to a private cloud as fast as you can," said Brad Anderson, corporate VP of Microsoft's Management and Security division. Anderson unveiled Hyper-V Cloud in his keynote address at Tech-Ed, which was broadcast via the Web.

Core to the offering is Hyper-V Cloud Fast Track, which lets customers purchase servers from participating vendors -- Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, IBM or NEC. The six vendors will deliver configurations for private cloud deployments validated by Microsoft based on a reference architectures developed by the company. The vendors' cloud offerings have compute, storage, networking, virtualization and management software configurations defined by Microsoft. 

"We've pre-tested, we've pre-certified, we've preconfigured -- we know exactly how to optimize the performance of these so you can take these Fast Track Reference Architectures and rapidly use them to build out private clouds in your environments," Anderson said.  The reference architectures from Dell, HP and IBM are being made available today, he noted.

Anderson also announced some deliverables from its partnership with HP, which back in January signed a three-year, $250 million pact to develop next-generation converged data center technology. The two companies today announced HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V, which consists of HP's Blade System Matrix with Microsoft's System Center integrated into the platform.

According to Microsoft, the joint solution will reduce the time it takes to deploy a private cloud based on Hyper-V and will deliver "comprehensive" management of the virtualized infrastructure and applications.

HP also announced HP CloudStart, a package of professional services centered around Hyper-V Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V Cloud.

Microsoft also announced the Hyper-V Cloud Service Provider Program, which currently consists of 70 partners worldwide that will offer hosted private cloud services based on the Hyper-V cloud platform. Among those providers are Fasthosts, Hostway, Korean Internet Data Center and Agarik.

For customers that want to build their own private clouds using existing infrastructure, Microsoft launched Hyper-V Deployment Guides, a set of tools and guidance based on best practices provided through Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) engagements.

Microsoft also is offering a program called Hyper-V Cloud Accelerate, in which it will provide funding for proof-of-concepts and assessments. The services will be delivered by MCS and pre-certified partners in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

Also during the keynote, Anderson talked up the next release of System Center, which is due to go to beta imminently and ship sometime next year. Greg Jenson, senior director of server and cloud product management showcased the ability of an application owner to provision a private cloud service.

"Our cloud model enables resource sharing," Jenson said. "That makes it easy for me to manage resources across my different business units but with System Center [2011], I can also enable my business by providing self service management of my private cloud."

Lastly, Microsoft principal program management lead Vlad Joanovic demonstrated the Windows Azure Application Monitoring Management Pack, which allows System Center admins to monitor their apps and services running on their private cloud infrastructures. The capability is based on the technology Microsoft gained last month when it acquired Avicode. The release candidate is now available for download here.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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