|By Pat Romanski||
|July 12, 2010 01:00 PM EDT||
"For customers, cloud computing creates tremendous value, which translates to massive opportunity for Microsoft and its partners," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today, in his keynote address at day one of the company's Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC). Ballmer highlighted the critical role Microsoft's 640,000 partners - who generated more than 6 million highly skilled jobs and approximately $537 billion in local revenues last year - will continue to play in driving the IT industry’s transformation to cloud computing and helping fuel economic growth and job creation in local communities around the world.
“We are at an inflection point in technology history,” Ballmer declared.
This view was underlined by Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, who added:
“Microsoft is the first and only company that offers customers and partners a full range of cloud capabilities and the flexibility to deploy these services where and how they wish — whether that is with Microsoft, a service provider, in a customer datacenter or a combination of all three. Today’s introduction of the Windows Azure platform appliance ushers in a new era of cloud computing, and we are looking forward to working with our partners to bring all the benefits of the appliance to our customers and the business technology industry.”
Muglia's reference to the "Windows Azure platform appliance" was to a limited production release of a turnkey cloud platform for large service providers and enterprises to run their own datacenters.
“We believe the introduction of the Windows Azure platform appliance marks an important industry milestone in the transformation to cloud computing,” Muglia said. It would make it easier for customers and partners to build cloud solutions, he noted.
He also elaborated on several new enhancements to the Microsoft server platform, including the Release Candidate of the System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self Service Portal 2.0. The company also introduced the Microsoft Management and Virtualization Solution Incentive and the Private Cloud Deployment Kit, which offers financial rewards and guidance to partners as they build virtualization and private cloud solutions.