Microsoft Revs Up Its Private Cloud Message

On Monday at the TechEd conference in Berlin, Microsoft unveiled Hyper-V Cloud, an umbrella of programs and initiatives that amount to a giant shot of espresso for Microsoft's private cloud deployment strategy.

Microsoft has decided not to be in the business of delivering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) from its own data centers and instead relies on partners to offer this under a hosted model. Microsoft has signed up 70 partners thus far for its new Hyper-V Cloud Service Provider Program, which includes Korean Internet Data Center; Fasthosts (U.K., U.S.); Agarik (France); and Hostway Corp. (U.S., U.K., Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Romania).

The combination of Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V and System Center is one that Microsoft partners are using to meet demand for private clouds, Dai Vu, director of solutions marketing in the Windows Server and Cloud Division, said in an interview.

"Hyper-V has a lot of momentum and there is a lot of demand to take the virtualized data center to the next level. This is a formal effort to bring a lot of what we're doing to bring infrastructure-as-a-service and private cloud together," Vu said.

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Demand for private cloud infrastructure is being driven by companies that are legally required to pay fanatical attention to things like data sovereignty and security, as well as by firms that require a high degree of customization. These organizations would rather run a cloud inside own their data center and have their IT delivering services to business units.

Microsoft's new Hyper-V Cloud Fastrack program offers pre-validated reference architectures for private cloud deployments that take into account compute, storage, networking resources, virtualization and management software. The idea is to remove the guesswork from private clouds and get customers up and running quickly.

"We want to reduce the risk and accelerate the speed of deployment," said Vu.

Recognizing that some customers want to build private clouds on their existing Microsoft infrastructure, Microsoft is also rolling out its Hyper-V Cloud Deployment Guide, which includes tools and guidance for private cloud deployment that are borrowed from the Microsoft Consulting Services (MSC) business.

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MCS is also helping customers with private cloud assessments, proof of concepts, and production deployments as part of the new Hyper-V Cloud Accelerate program. Microsoft partners that meet certain private cloud related criteria will also deliver these services, according to Vu.

"The intent is to ignite the ecosystem of partners to invest and drive private cloud deployment based on our solutions stack," Vu said.

Microsoft's strategy as a player that was late to the cloud market is to span every layer of cloud services, from software to platform to infrastructure. After spending much of its Professional Developer Conference in late October talking about platform-as-a-service with Windows Azure, Microsoft is now moving to fill in its private cloud story.