Microsoft has confirmed that its latest wave of cloud and server releases is set for release on 18 October to coincide with the availability of Windows 8.1. This will include Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, Visual Studio 2013 and .Net 4.5.1, plus a new release of the Windows Intune management platform.
Announcing the new wave, Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise executive vice president Satya Nadella said the firm is pinning its future firmly on the cloud, especially in delivering the needs of customers through hybrid cloud computing that combines on-premise IT with applications and resources hosted in a public cloud environment.
"The enterprise move to the cloud is indeed going to be huge – we're talking about a potential IT market of more than $2tn – and that move is just getting started," Nadella wrote on Microsoft's blog.
To be a leader in this new cloud-oriented world, an IT vendor needs to have best-in-class software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, be able to operate a public cloud on a global scale, and deliver true hybrid cloud, Nadella claimed.
With its new releases Microsoft is aiming to deliver on all of these areas, with Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 enabling customers to build their own private cloud and extend this out to Microsoft's Windows Azure public cloud as required.
These tools have been available in preview since Microsoft's TechEd conference back in June. Meanwhile, Visual Studio 2013 and the new .NET 4.5.1 will enable customers to create modern applications for both devices and services, Microsoft said.
The updated Windows Intune adds new capabilities to support enterprise mobility, including the ability to partially join an employee-owned Windows tablet or laptop to the corporate domain so that they can get secure access to corporate resources.
Microsoft also announced that from 1 November, customers with Enterprise Agreement (EA) licensing will be able to get discounts on Windows Azure, without overuse penalties and with the flexibility of annual payments.
Also due later this month is a second preview release of SQL Server 2014, an update of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Windows Azure HDInsight Service. The latter is a Hadoop-based service designed to work with SQL Server and common business intelligence tools such as Microsoft's Excel and Power BI for Office 365.
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