Microsoft Aims for Quarterly Updates to Its 'Cloud-in-a-Box'

Enterprise and service provider customers running Microsoft's Cloud Platform System (CPS) will receive software updates on a "predictable quarterly cadence," Microsoft said recently.

According to a blog post last week by Justin Incarnato, a program manager for the Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Solutions Group, the quarterly schedule is designed "to allow for planning and ensure customers have all applicable security and functional updates."

Incarnato added that "hardware and firmware" updates will be part of the update process in "future releases," but he didn't specify a timeline.

CPS is Microsoft's latest effort to produce a so-called "cloud-in-a-box" solution, mimicking Microsoft Azure. CPS is a conglomeration of hardware and software resembling Microsoft's datacenter architecture used to deliver Azure services.

Organizations using CPS have so-called customer "stamps," per Microsoft's lingo. Each stamp runs Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack software. A stamp can range from a single hardware rack to four racks. Microsoft claims that a CPS product can scale to support up to 8,000 virtual machines in the four-rack configuration.

So far, Microsoft has a partnership with Dell on its CPS products, with Dell supplying the hardware portion of the product. Organizations or service providers typically might use CPS for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) purposes. One example is Capgemini, which uses CPS as the basis for its SkySight cloud-based services, including the delivery of SharePoint and Lync services.

Incarnato suggested that the patching system Microsoft devised for its CPS products involves "zero downtime" for customers. The update gets carried out though "a single PowerShell script," which updates all of the CPS components at the same time.

Microsoft validates the update packages before releasing them broadly via its own internal test racks. Individual customer stamps get validated by the CPS update engine after the fixes are applied. The update delivers security updates, too.

Installation of the CPS update packages happens automatically. The update engine tracks all of the software in the CPS stamp, as well as "firmware, drivers, services, roles and hotfixes." The update engine is designed to address failures, too. It will stop updating when a CPS stamp becomes "unhealthy," according to Incarnato. The updates are designed so that they can be run in a "disconnected environment" as well, he said.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


  • The 2020 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    From the next major update to Windows 10 to the next generations of .NET and PowerShell, here's what's on tap from Microsoft this year.

  • Microsoft Releases Migration Manager for SharePoint Server

    Microsoft this week announced updates to the SharePoint Migration Tool, plus commercial release of Migration Manager.

  • Version 2004 of Windows 10, Windows Server Released

    Microsoft announced the latest update milestones for Windows 10 and Windows Server this week.

  • Microsoft Projects Q4 Release for Universal Print Solution

    Microsoft's plan to alleviate organizations of the pain of managing print servers continues to take shape.

RCP Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.