Microsoft has announced several updates to its cloud computing platforms and services, including the Service Pack 1 (SP1) release of System Center 2012, availability of Windows Azure services for Windows Server, plus an enhanced Windows Intune that can manage Android and iOS as well as Windows.
Unveiled today, the new tools deliver against the Microsoft Cloud OS vision to provide customers and partners with the platform to address their top IT challenges, Microsoft said.
System Center 2012, released almost a year ago, updated Microsoft's management platform to enable provisioning and management of servers in a private cloud configuration.
Now, the SP1 release extends this out to the public cloud, enabling customers to manage cloud-based applications and resources in their own datacentres, in a service provider's datacentre or on Microsoft's own Windows Azure platform.
Meanwhile, Windows Intune, Microsoft's cloud-based management tool, has been extended to handle more than just Windows PCs, now supporting Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Android, and iOS devices.
When used in conjunction with Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 (a component of System Center), administrators will be able to manage both corporate and employee-owned devices via a single console, Microsoft said.
Configuration Manager itself now includes support for Mac OS X devices and Linux and Unix servers.
The company also made its Windows Azure services for Windows Server available. These tools are designed to enable Microsoft's service provider hosting partners to deliver cloud capabilities previously found only on Windows Azure using Windows Server and System Center.
All of these components form part of Microsoft's overarching vision of what it now refers to as the "Cloud OS".
"Powerful management and automation capabilities are key elements of the Cloud OS, taking the heavy lifting out of administration and freeing IT organisations to be more innovative as they embrace hybrid cloud computing and the consumerisation of IT," said Michael Park, vice president of marketing for Microsoft's Server & Tools unit.
Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.