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Microsoft Boxes Up the Cloud

OK, so, since this is a family newsletter, we're not going to make a reference to "that" Saturday Night Live skit when we talk about Microsoft's cloud in a box. But, yeah, we thought of it too.

Despite the notable absence of Justin Timberlake, Microsoft is talking boxes these days, at the same time that it's saying that it's "all in" for the cloud. How does that work, exactly? Well, Microsoft plans to put the cloud in a box (there's that phrase again -- but we're resisting temptation) with the forthcoming Windows Azure Platform Appliance.

The technology is fairly complex, but the idea is pretty simple. Microsoft compares WAPA (our name, not Microsoft's, but we find it catchy) to a cable or satellite box, except (hopefully) without a bunch of niggling little fees tacked on and with a better product to offer. Essentially, a customer would have WAPA on-premises, but Microsoft would host and maintain the device -- again, kind of like a set-top TV box.

This could be the device that finally bridges the cost advantages and convenience of the cloud with the reassurance about security and reliability that on-premises deployments offer. Or, it could be a thing that looks like a gigantic window-unit air conditioner and goes the way of Windows Vista. We're betting on the former, though, so partners should know how they can take advantage of this work in progress.

And they can find out...by reading the cover story in September's RCP magazine. Jeff Schwartz wraps everything up nicely and well in advance of the holiday season. Read up on Microsoft's cloud in a box and send your thoughts on it to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on August 30, 2010


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