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WPC 2012: Microsoft Launches CTP of Windows Server for Hosting Providers

On the heels of its announcement last month that Windows Azure customers will be able to run virtual machine instances, Microsoft this week released the community technology preview (CTP) of Windows Server for Hosting Providers in a move that would enable third-party hosting providers to build cloud service offerings running on Windows Server.

Based on Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Server 2012, the suite will allow hosting providers to provision and manage through System Center, Windows Azure Web Sites, virtual machines, the Service Management Portal and API.

The move should aid hosting providers that want to offer services that are compatible with Windows Azure. Microsoft announced the CTP release at its Worldwide Partner Conference, which took place this week in Toronto.

Indeed, hosting providers are gunning to offer services that are compatible with Windows Azure and private clouds running Windows Server, said Sinclair Shuller, co-founder and CEO of Apprenda, which last month launched Apprenda Azure.

As the name implies, Apprenda's software will let organizations create private clouds that have the same characteristics as Windows Azure service except they run in a customer's datacenter. Nevertheless customers can also shift workloads or create hybrid clouds that split workloads, applications and data between Windows Azure and Apprenda Azure, Sinclair said.

In concert with Microsoft's announcement this week, Apprenda joined three other vendors -- Cloud Cruiser, Derdack and ServiceMesh -- to create the Private Cloud Solutions Suite (PCSS). All four are Microsoft ISV partners. Cloud Cruiser offers a billing and chargeback system, Derdack's Enterprise Alert provides alerting and notification and the ServiceMesh Agility Platform is used for provisioning, governance and management of hybrid cloud applications.

"Microsoft doesn't have all the moving parts to provide a full robust full blown private cloud deployment platform," Sinclair said. Maybe not now but what will Sinclair do if Microsoft decides to offer one in the future?

"They could do whatever they want but in the context of private cloud but we don't see Azure coming on premises," he said. "They've talked about it in the past but it hasn't materialized. We work very closely with the team and we don't have any personal fear that's going to happen. Microsoft wouldn't be telling 1,000 systems integrators worldwide they should be looking at Apprenda for private PaaS if they planned on jumping in."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on July 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM


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