Microsoft has recently come to market with Windows Azure platform, the Windows Azure platform appliance, and Hyper-V Cloud offerings. Windows Azure platform is a cloud-based approach to build, deploy, and manage scale-out applications and databases using traditional Microsoft tools and frameworks including .NET and SQL. Microsoft offers public cloud services out of its own datacenter based on the Windows Azure platform. To support private cloud offerings based on Windows Azure, Microsoft has packaged the Windows Azure platform appliance as a turnkey solution that allows service providers and large enterprises to deploy Windows Azure. Hyper- V Cloud is another new set of Microsoft programs and offerings designed to make it easier for customers and partners to build and deploy their own cloud infrastructures with Windows Server and System Center. Hyper-V Cloud consists of deployment guidance and the Fast Track offering, which includes predefined, validated hardware and software designed for rapid deployment of private clouds based on Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and System Center. Hyper-V Cloud also includes a service provider partner program for hosted dedicated clouds. Microsoft's approach is to enable customers to integrate existing applications on Windows Server with the Windows Azure cloud platform through consistent identity, development, and
management tools. These tools span private and public cloud deployments so that customers can leverage their existing skill sets and more easily build, migrate, or extend out to the public cloud.
Enterprises and service providers want to realize the scalability, time to market, and cost benefits of cloud computing without having to rely solely on public clouds. By taking advantage of the private cloud capabilities of Hyper-V Cloud and the Windows Azure platform appliance, organizations can still maintain levels of control and sovereignty of data required for mission-critical applications or to meet key compliance or network latency requirements.
Challenging Economics of Datacenter Growth
Previous-generation application infrastructure was built using server hardware located in the enterprise datacenter. Until the advent of VMs, enterprises frequently deployed applications on dedicated physical hardware. Including development and test hardware,
more than one physical server was usually required per application. As the number of applications grew, datacenters suffered server sprawl and escalating capital and operating costs for datacenter management and power and cooling. Virtualization has helped alleviate aspects of sprawl and power consumption, but as the number of virtual machines explodes, the net effect is replacement of physical server sprawl with virtual server sprawl. This is leading to even greater management costs because doubling the number of VMs still doubles the amount of work for administrators.
High Capital and Operational Costs for Physical Servers
The result is server sprawl in the datacenter and an explosion in the global installed base of servers, which IDC estimates grew from just over 5 million in 1996 to 32 million in 2009. IDC estimates that there was an installed base of nearly 30 million virtual machines in 2005 and anticipates that the installed base of virtual machines