This week, Microsoft has added several enhancements to its cloud offerings including a new Azure Marketplace, “G-series” Azure virtual machines and premium storage, a pre-built “cloud-in-a-box” solution called Cloud Platform System, as well as partnerships with Big Data software provider Cloudera Inc. and Linux distribution CoreOS.
These new updates and partnerships either directly or indirectly play into Microsoft’s goal of making Azure capable of handling any workload customers can throw at it.
A Cloud In a Box
Working with hardware provider Dell, the Cloud Platform System or CPS is a pre-integrated, pre-deployed, Microsoft-validated bundle of software and hardware designed to an on-premise cloud for IaaS and PaaS, according to a blog post by the CPS Engineering Team.
On the software side, it provides Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2 and Windows Azure Pack. On the hardware side, customers can chose a CPS solution ranging from a single rack to up to four racks. Each rack has 32 servers with a combined 512 cores, and as much as 282 TB in total storage.
New Azure Marketplace with SaaS and Data
The Azure Marketplace now provides a central place for startups and software vendors to offer their software and services for Microsoft cloud customers. These partners can provide Software-as-a-Service applications, but also premium sets of data such as a database of energy prices across the US which can be used by applications.
Among the new partners now offering solutions are CoreOS and Cloudera.
Cloudera Inc. and CoreOS to Become More Entwined in Azure
Enterprise analytics and data management provider Cloudera is aiming to have its Hadoop-powered software Azure-certified by the end of the year. The final goal of the partnership is to allow Cloudera and Microsoft customers to deploy Cloudera directly from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, import data into Cloudera from SQL Server, use Microsoft Power BI for Office 365 for self-service business intelligence, and use Azure Machine Learning for powerful cloud-based predictive analytics
Meanwhile, container-based Linux operating system CoreOS is now available to all Azure customers as an image on the Azure Marketplace.
Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise executive vice president Scott Guthrie said in a statement, “By helping to create an open platform powered by choice and flexibility, we are enabling the enterprises and developers of today and tomorrow to connect with each other and create new business opportunities in the mobile-first, cloud-first world.”
New Azure “G-series” VMs and Premium Storage
Microsoft’s new G-series Azure instances are its largest VMs and provide more memory and more local SSD storage than any other major public cloud service. Designed for extraordinary performance demanding applications, the largest G-series offer 448 GB RAM and 6.5 TB of local SSD storage, as well as the latest Intel Xeon E5 v3 family of processors for higher computational performance.
Microsoft is also offering SSD-based “Azure Premium Storage” for I/O-intensive workloads. With Premium Storage, you can provision a persistent disk and configure the size and performance characteristics that will meet your requirements. You can then, stripe across them and deliver to your applications up to
Through attaching several persistent disks to a single VM, one can have as much as 32 TB of storage and more than 50,000 IOPS at less than one millisecond latency for read operations.
By providing these new options, either through Microsoft technology or through its partners via the Azure Marketplace, Azure is more likely to be thought of as the cloud platform that’s not only reliable and scalable, but one that’s also able to handle massive workloads which are at the forefront of business needs such as Big Data.
In a press conference this week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “With more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 on the Microsoft cloud, we are delivering the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry and every geography.”
This is something it cannot do alone.