Microsoft opened its TechEd Europe 2010 conference in Berlin this week by revealing a new initiative -- called Hyper-V Cloud -- as part of its evolving cloud computing strategy meant to make it easier for customers to deploy private cloud environments either in-house or from a hosting provider.
Company officials, including Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer, have repeatedly said they are "all in" on cloud computing, and just two weeks ago announced they are working to deliver what they call "platform-as-a-service" (PaaS) on the company's cloud environments.
Monday, Microsoft announced it has signed up six global firms -- Dell, Fujitsu, Hitachi, HP, IBM, and NEC -- as partners to deliver "prevalidated configurations" for customers migrating to the cloud, according to company statements.
The overall concept behind PaaS is that customers shouldn't deal with platform issues -- for instance, managing virtualization of applications in the cloud environment. Instead, the cloud should provide those functions automatically.
Now, Microsoft is moving to enable customers to deploy their own private clouds to host secure cloud applications.
"Many of our customers have told us they want the benefits of cloud-computing -- fast deployment, increased agility, lower costs -- but with tight control over things like physical infrastructure and security policies, " Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Management and Security Division, said in a company statement.
The initiative uses Windows Server 2008 Release 2 (R2) Hyper-V, Microsoft's virtualization hypervisor, and works with the company's System Center management suite to provides the tools and underlying infrastructure components needed to construct private clouds -- either in-house or hosted by a third party.
Additionally, HP and Microsoft announced HP Cloud Foundation for Hyper-V at the conference. The two companies describe it as "a reference architecture that combines HP BladeSystem Matrix, Microsoft System Center and Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V to provide customers with a proven foundation for running business applications within a private cloud computing environment."
Microsoft also said that it has signed up more than 70 service providers globally to provide "fully hosted service" running on Microsoft technologies.
For customers who want to host private clouds themselves, Microsoft has also developed "tools and guidance" distilled from Microsoft Consulting Services' (MCS) experience with cloud deployment. Customers can also contract with MCS and with pre-qualified members of the Microsoft Partner Network.
Microsoft has posted more information regarding Hyper-V Cloud online.