Microsoft has used the SugarCon 2010 conference in San Francisco to reveal more details about its Azure cloud services.
Rob Craft, Microsoft's senior director of cloud services, told delegates that Microsoft is a long-term applications company, which is on the 15th version of some of its software and the seventh version of Windows.
However, while it may take time for Microsoft to switch focus, Craft insisted that the firm is investing heavily in cloud services.
"This is a deep, substantive long-term investment from Microsoft," he said. "Just as we've grown from mainframes, we're making the bet on cloud."
Azure is being run from six datacentres in San Antonio, Chicago, Dublin, Amsterdam, Singapore and Hong Kong, although Craft said that other facilities are ready to take extra load on the network's edge.
Customers can choose the datacentre that best suits their compliance needs, and Microsoft will shortly offer data backup in different world regions to protect against downtime. Data stored on Azure is already backed up three times to ensure security.
Microsoft guarantees 99.9 per cent uptime for Azure, and awards a 10 per cent rebate if this falls to 99 per cent and a 25 per cent rebate if it falls below 99 per cent.
The company will also bring out a hosted business intelligence suite later this year as an add-on to Azure, and will add more management features and better data synchronisation.
Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to selling off-the-shelf applications, but said that cloud services offer significant cost savings in many areas.
"If you can commit to a service and time period you can save a good chunk of money over the resource model," said Dan Moore, senior platform strategy advisor at Microsoft.
"We're not trying to make it hard to use cloud; we want to make it easier. Basically we're offering you a 50 per cent discount over buying the applicatio ns."
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