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Microsoft has hit out at its public cloud rivals for treating the needs of enterprise IT users as an afterthought by failing to realise their hybrid cloud requirements early enough.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice-president of the software giant’s cloud and enterprise group, used the opening day keynote at Microsoft’s Ignite conference in Atlanta, Georgia, to talk up the company’s enterprise credentials and how they compare with those of its competitors.
“No other company offers both the breadth and depth of what the MS cloud delivers and we deliver all this in a global, trusted, hybrid promise that is truly differentiated in the industry,” he said.
“We have 34 unique Azure regions around the world. To put that into perspective, that’s twice the number of locations and countries that AWS [Amazon Web Services] has today.
“This enables you to run your applications and services closer to your customers and employees than ever before and compete in even more geographic markets.”
Both Google and AWS have made no secret of their desire to ramp up the number of enterprise customers that use their cloud infrastructure services, having found solid early success with startups.
This has seen both firms outline their commitment to helping enterprises address their data sovereignty concerns by expanding their global datacentre footprints, and rolling out a slew of enterprise-friendly cloud features in recent years.
However, Guthrie said no such learning curve had been necessary for Microsoft because its products were so deeply entrenched within enterprise IT environments.
“The Microsoft cloud is optimised for organisations,” he said. “For us, enterprises are not an afterthought – they are a critical design point.”
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Julia White, Microsoft cloud platform product marketing executive, also touched on this theme during a pre-event Q&A session, where she hit out at AWS and Google for coming late to the hybrid cloud party.
“AWS and Google, to some extent, have woken up to the hybrid reality that we have known since the beginning and it is really in our DNA,” she said.
“Whether it be Office 365 and Dynamics all the way down the [infrastructure] stack to having our own cloud as well as an on-premise capability so that people can run hybrid [environments] and move at their own pace.”
White cautioned enterprises against cloud suppliers that resorted to “hybrid washing” techniques to market their wares, but stopped short of naming those guilty of doing so.
“You will see people in the industry using hybrid washing and they mean hybrid [in that] they connect my datacentre with the cloud, and the connectivity is hybrid, but we don’t believe that,” she said.
Hybrid cloud setup
Instead, enterprise IT buyers should focus on seeking out suppliers that offered a hybrid cloud setup that provided a consistent user experience across their on-premise, private and public cloud environments, said White.
“We do consistency by having that same management experience, the same development APIs [application programming interfaces], and having it across your entire enterprise estate,” she added.
The Ignite show has seen Microsoft roll out updates to Windows Server and System Center in its push to help enterprises move to the hybrid cloud, along with another technical preview of its datacentre-based, cloud services-enabling Azure Stack.
Several security-focused updates for Office 365 users were also announced at the show. These included the roll-out of dynamic delivery capabilities that allow users to open and receive emails, while any attachments and URLs contained in them are scanned for suspect content and viruses.