Making Sense of Microsoft’s Cloud

By now you’ve undoubtedly seen the numerous “To the Cloud!” commercials or come across of the many “Cloud Power” print campaigns that Microsoft has been actively promoting recently. As a SMB business owner, or road warrior passing through airports to make your next important sales presentation, you may wonder how the cloud fits into your life or what the cloud can do for you. Microsoft’s push behind the cloud is focused on three distinctive components which include Office 365, Azure and Windows Server.

What’s the difference you ask? Each variant of the Microsoft cloud is targeted at specific roles and is intended to compartmentalize the functions of these cloud offerings. *Office 365* Designed to enhance end-user productivity, Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of Microsoft’s email, communication and collaboration software including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online with their Office Professional Plus desktop suite. Essentially Office 365 makes your data, files, contacts, etc. all accessible from where ever you happen to be. No need to connect directly to your PC back in the office, your critical data is stored securely within the cloud for immediate retrieval. *Windows Azure* Designed for application development & hosting, Windows Azure is Microsoft’s operating system for the cloud. Azure lets applications scale up or down depending on the demand. Developers are free to flex their creative muscles on a platform that already speaks their language including .Net, PHP, Java & Ruby.

Windows Azure relies on SQL Azure – the cloud-based relational database service (RDBMS) built on SQL Server technologies. It is a highly available, scalable, multi-tenant database service hosted by Microsoft in the cloud. As no physical administration required – software installation and patching is included, since Azure is a platform as a service (PAAS). *Windows Server Hyper-V* Designed for private cloud offerings, Windows Server Hyper-V lets you harness the power of cloud computing by pooling computing resources, automating management, and improving scalability, provisioning, and agility. Cloud power allows for management across physical and virtual, on premises and off premises. Cloud power helps drive down operation costs by automating the management of datacenter resources.

With Microsoft’s private cloud using Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and System Center, you can build out a scalable and efficient cloud infrastructure to transform the way you deliver IT services to your business. From an end-user seeking 24/7 access to your data, to a developer launching and application that’s secure and scalable, to an organization interested in taking advantage of combining resources and improving performance – Microsoft offers a cloud that fits most everyone’s needs.