TechEd Europe: Big bets and big opportunities

The following is a post from Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Windows Server & System Center at Microsoft.

I am absolutely thrilled to be delivering the Day 1 keynote at TechEd Europe for the third straight year. This is consistently an amazing event with the very best and brightest companies and IT pros across Europe, not to mention some equally amazing products to highlight and demonstrate.

There were some big announcements at TechEd North America (e.g., a refresh of our key enterprise IT solutions like Windows Server & System Center 2012 R2, Windows Intune and SQL Server 2014, as well as Visual Studio 2013, new Windows Azure BizTalk services, Azure per-minute pricing, new MSDN subscriber benefits, etc.), and TechEd Europe is going to have some surprises of its own.

In particular, I’ll continue telling the story that began at TechEd North America in New Orleans by announcing the immediate availability of preview software for Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and SQL Server 2014.

These products are going to have a massive impact on companies around the world – and IT pros are going to see the traditional boundaries between datacenters vanish and a true hybrid cloud emerge.

Microsoft has made a big bet on what we call our cloud-first design principles, and many companies are already benefiting. Key examples in Europe include Telefónica and DDM CineTrailer – both of whom are already operating Microsoft hybrid cloud solutions.

Telefónica is the largest telecom company in Spain, and, as of July 2013, will deploy Windows Server Hyper-V and SQL Server, with the goal to virtualize more than 80 percent of its IT services and design for expansion into the Windows Azure platform as needed. The company expects this move to result in a 15 percent cost savings in the next three to five years while making their business more agile and productive.

DDM is a digital media company from Italy that developed its popular movie-viewing app CineTrailer on Windows Azure. DDM’s customers expect to consume content through a variety of device platforms, and the agency’s previous solution, Amazon Web Services (AWS), could not scale easily enough to ensure all the services across PCs, mobile devices and connected TVs could be maintained – especially with the application’s rapid growth rate.

These customer stories illustrate that our cloud-first approach is not dependent on something we’re promising out on the horizon – but it is possible with products that are ready right now.

If you’ve followed Microsoft in the news over the last two years, then you know that we are focused on enterprise cloud services. We already operate a vast network of datacenters around the world which include more than 200 cloud services, and, in a post two weeks ago, I shared just a few of the reasons to be very excited about the Microsoft cloud. Each of our breakthroughs enable companies around the world to build a flexible, scalable, dynamic hybrid cloud that can meet demand and support a modern workforce.

The products announced at TechEd North America, and now delivered at TechEd Europe, comprise the components of a Cloud OS that can fundamentally transform the way IT operates. For example:

· Windows Server 2012 R2 delivers software-defined networking and high-performance storage on low-cost hardware. Hyper-V hosts apps across customer, service provider and Windows Azure clouds, and System Center manages across them.

· SQL Server 2014 features in-memory processing for applications (“Hekaton”), as well as data warehousing and business intelligence. SQL Server 2014 also enables new hybrid scenarios like AlwaysOn availability, cloud backup and disaster recovery. It lives in Windows Azure and can be easily migrated to the cloud from on-premises.

· Windows Azure is the only fully supported infrastructure and platform as a service offering, and fully integrates with on-premise infrastructure.

· The market-leading System Center Configuration Manager and cloud-based Windows Intune provide a unified environment to manage all devices. Windows Intune combines with System Center for a hybrid cloud approach to managing the growing “BYOD” challenge. One thing we will be demonstrating in the keynote is a new file synchronization solution in Windows Server 2012 R2 called Work Folders – which synchronizes user’s files to your file servers and then out to all the user’s devices.

When we talk about the delivery of our Cloud OS strategy, this is exactly what it looks like. To help you better understand how this comes together, here’s a slide from my keynote presentation that spells out how these new products and services fit into the Cloud OS:

Cloud OS

This approach is broad enough to help any IT team address a wide range of situations and flexible enough to be tailored for any company or industry.

The Microsoft Cloud OS challenges other cloud providers to justify their high costs, time consuming upkeep and expensive maintenance fees. When you consider that Microsoft alone can provide platform, management and productivity tools – it’s a very exciting proposition for companies around the world.

As you make your moves to the cloud, I encourage you to choose your cloud provider very carefully. Key considerations during this process should be simplicity and efficiency. Demand that cloud providers demonstrate exactly how they will tie together devices, applications, data and infrastructure – and learn everything you can about how this will enable your business and your employees in the years to come.

I believe that Microsoft’s track record with new enterprise cloud offerings makes it the best equipped to deliver an end-to-end app and IT experience – everything from building the app, deployment, maintenance and managing every device that uses it. But don’t just take my word for it – compare and contrast against all of the offerings out there to see what Microsoft can do for your business.

To watch my keynote live, follow this link, or you can watch it later on-demand here.

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