Ballmer: We're Building Windows Server 8 Around Cloud

Microsoft is not just reimagining Windows with the upcoming release of Windows 8, but the whole company is transforming itself around the cloud, CEO Steve Ballmer told Dell World attendees during a keynote session Friday.

"We're thinking about data center and the notion of public cloud and hybrid cloud are also extremely important," Ballmer said.

Microsoft is building its solutions around the notion that more end users will begin to move more heavy workloads into the cloud over the next few years, Ballmer said.

"The ability to build not just a virtualized data center but a data center where you get cloud-type management is phenomenal," Ballmer said. "

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"There's going to be a real movement for a lot of IT shops for [moving] a lot of key applications into the cloud. We're seeing it with Office 365, our CRM product. Our competition is seeing it with their CRM product. But I'm not saying you will connect your backbone manufacturing system or distribution system into the cloud. That's still quite early."

But it's likely that enterprises will implement new applications and extensions to run their business that they will want to share with partners or customers, or only use it for a few days a year. In that case, it makes sense to put that in the cloud, Ballmer said.

"We'll see that migration for the next 10 years. That means we need to get cloud infrastructure right. We need Active Directory in both places to help with security. We need Visual Studio in both places for application portability. We're reimagining Windows not only in the server but for Azure too.

"We're in the business of innovation and reimagination," Ballmer added. "The core starts with Windows, for the client for the server, for the cloud, for a phone. But we're also reimagining business applications and productivity. We're not reimagining the need for security and management and access, but reimagining the tools for all of you to deliver solutions.

Ballmer brought Brian Surace, a senior program manager at Microsoft's Windows team, onstage to demonstrate the ease of migrating a virtual machine from one host to a second host with no service interruption.

"We're removing the entire virtual machine, the information that's in RAM, the configuration of the virtual machine, the entire virual hard disk with nothing more than a network connection between the two hosts," Surace said.

Windows Server 8 can run 32 virtual processors in a single machine and supports up to 512 GB of memory and a single 16 TB hard disk for large scale workloads, Surace said.

"We want to do live migration with no limits. Move from one host to another with no clustering, no specialized hardware," Surace said.

The functionality is part of Microsoft's strategy to simplify cloud for enterprises, Ballmer said.

"Let's make sure we have the common tools, common security between private clouds on Windows Server 8 and public clouds," he said. "Let's fill in those tools that people need to manage, secure and operate on the back end."