‘2012 R2′ releases: They’re scenario-centric and battle-ready

Microsoft made a ton of news around its next wave of products the last couple of weeks, including previews for Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and SQL Server 2014, plus Visual Studio 2013, Windows Intune, and new Windows Azure services. Customer feedback has been fantastic, which is no surprise – these releases were packed. So how’d Microsoft do it?

Over the last couple of years, Microsoft made deep changes to how we build and deliver products. Today, we build for the cloud first, using a customer scenario-centric approach. It’s working.

As Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Windows Server and System Center, explains, part of our cloud-first approach includes the creation of a “Scenario Focus Team.” This team identifies key scenarios that our products need to support for our product engineers. This enables all of the groups and stakeholders to work quickly and efficiently.

And how was it that Microsoft managed to release so much at once? Anderson says it was the first time they had common, unified planning across Windows Client, Windows Server, System Center, Windows Azure, and Windows Intune.

“We spent months planning and prioritizing the end-to-end scenarios together, with the goal of identifying and enabling all the dependencies and integration required for an effort this broad,” said Anderson.

From there they were able to align a common schedule with shared engineering milestones.

Finally, Microsoft’s cloud-first design approach means that we build and deploy products within our own cloud services first and then deliver them to our customers and partners. Gone are the days of long-term beta testing.

Anderson said this means we’re able to first prove-out and battle-harden new capabilities at cloud scale, and then deliver them for enterprise use.

For a closer look at the specific customer scenarios and the organizational principles behind the “2012 R2” group of releases, take a look at this post on In the Cloud.

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Deborah Pisano
Microsoft News Center Staff