Windows Server 2012 is Here…And so is the Cloud OS

Today’s launch of Windows Server 2012 puts a spotlight on the transformational shift underway across the entire IT ecosystem. This transformation is being driven by an exponential growth of devices used for smarter, more personalized applications, which in turn create an explosion of data and the need for more computing power. It is a world of connected devices and continuous services, and it’s all powered by servers. 

This is leading to dramatic changes in how computing, storage and networking come together in scalable, automated, shared and adaptive platforms that deliver modern applications to power the world’s computing experiences. This is cloud computing.

There is a lot of jockeying in the industry around what the drivers and enablers are for this new paradigm. We believe that software will play the key role in this new era. Specifically, software value manifested as a new operating system for the cloud. 

In this context, we have set out to build the Cloud OS – a reimagined operating system that enables those smart, modern apps across a company’s datacenter, a service provider datacenter, or the Windows Azure public cloud. The Cloud OS does what operating systems have always done: manage hardware and provide a platform for applications. But it also expands to include services and technologies that have not previously been considered part of an operating system. The Cloud OS needs to bring together all the services required by end users, developers and IT to truly reap the benefits of the Cloud.

In building the Cloud OS, we are focused on four key things. First is the transformation of the datacenter. We want to bring together all of the resources provided by a traditional datacenter – storage, networking and computing – into one platform that scales elastically with an organization’s needs. Second is offering the APIs and runtimes to enable developers to create modern applications – for mobile, social and big data. A third important aspect of the Cloud OS is ensuring personalized services and experiences, so that any user on any device can access all of their data and applications. Lastly, data of any size or type, stored anywhere and processed in any style, must be a first-class citizen of the Cloud OS. 

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With Windows Server 2012 and Windows Azure at its core, we are delivering the Cloud OS. Based on our unique innovations in the most widely used operating systems, applications and cloud services, only Microsoft is able to offer the consistent platform that the cloud demands. It is that consistency that will enable customers to use common virtualization, application development, systems management, data and identity frameworks across all of their clouds.  

As companies find more and more ways to take advantage of cloud benefits, this consistency will be required in how the cloud behaves, whether on-premise or through service providers. To be clear, that consistency is not a statement about packaging or offers, but rather about the underlying technology designs, in which virtuous cycles of development drive both Windows Server and Windows Azure and the key technologies that span both. We’ve built the Cloud OS components in concert – not acquired them as piece parts – which provides a further level of consistency and cohesion across deployment scenarios. 

Today, we are launching the cornerstone of the Cloud OS – Windows Server 2012, and it has been built from the cloud up. Drawing from our experience running massive cloud services at global scale, Windows Server 2012 redefines the server operating system and introduces advanced storage, networking, virtualization, automation and end user access capabilities. It delivers a transformational leap in the speed, scale and power that datacenters and applications can build on. And it is a linchpin in that consistency customers will use to take advantage of private, hosted and public clouds.

In the 1990s, Microsoft saw the need to democratize computing and made client/server computing available at scale, to customers of all sizes. Today, our goal is to do the same for cloud computing with Windows Server 2012. I hope you’ll tune into our on-demand launch experience to get more details on the product, as well as great examples of how customers are already using it and realizing value.  

Posted by Satya Nadella
President, Server & Tools Business, Microsoft