Microsoft launches network of Azure providers

Microsoft's Cloud OS Network extends Windows Azure across the globe

Microsoft has launched the Cloud OS Network, a global consortium of cloud service providers that offer Windows Azure IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service).

More than 25 providers have signed up for the network for its initial launch, including Capgemini, Capita IT Services of Glasgow, CGI, Computer Sciences Corporation, Dimension Data of Australia, DorukNet of Turkey, Fujitsu Finland, iWeb of Montreal and Lenovo in China.

Overall, providers in the Cloud OS Network covers over 90 regions worldwide. The companies collectively now serve more than 3 million customers with more than 2.4 million servers across 425 data centers.

Each provider offers Microsoft-validated, cloud-based infrastructure and associated applications, using the Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack, which provides the same Azure IaaS capabilities Microsoft runs with its own offering.

Microsoft launched the Cloud OS Network with the understanding that regional providers worldwide may be better equipped in some cases to provide Azure cloud services than Microsoft itself, explained Eugene Saburi, general manager of Microsoft Cloud OS marketing.

Governments and organizations may have geographical restrictions about where its data is located. A local provider may also offer better network latency times because its data centers are closer to its customers, Saburi said. Regional providers may also know how to more effectively reach the potential customer base.

Users of Azure services could benefit in a number of ways as well, Saburi said. With a number of competing Azure services on hand, an organization can move their workloads from provider to another, should service suffer. This approach also allows customers to use their own copies of Windows System Center 2012 R2 to manage both in-house resources and those in this cloud network.

The Cloud OS network " allows customers to experience boundary-less data centers, being able to move workloads and virtual machines and manage assets whether they are in the data center, in our cloud, or in a partner cloud," Saburi said.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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