Microsoft is continuing its efforts to expand the breadth of its cloud offerings. Last month, the company enhanced Azure with several features, most notably, Linux support. Now Microsoft has its sights set on the private web. Microsoft has released a new set of tools that make it easier to create private cloud environment on Windows Server2012.

Microsoft’s All Over the Cloud

There is lots of cloud related activity occurring at Microsoft. As part of Azure’s spring update, Microsoft repositioned Azure from a (sort of) pure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) to an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) / PaaS hybrid. These new IaaS capabilities from Azure are the foundation for the new Windows Server features:

  • Hosted virtual machines
  • High-density Web Sites (essentially the same as Windows Azure Web Sites)
  • Service Management Portal
  • Service Management application programming interface

The new features are specifically targeted at cloud service and hosting providers, and popular hosting provider GoDaddy is already testing the new features on its services. Microsoft announced the new tools at its annual Worldwide Partner conference. The tools are available now, but are not in the final production release. The release is just in time for the launch of Windows Server 2012. Microsoft announced on Monday that the operating system will be released to production in September. The company has not announced a final release date for the cloud tools.

Reading Between the Lines

Microsoft is waging wars on multiple fronts -- virtualization and the cloud. The company  took its virtualization technology to the cloud last month and has launched a switch to Hyper-V ad campaign designed to lure customers away from VMware. On the cloud front, with today’s announcement Microsoft has offerings for the public, private and hybrid scenarios.

If Microsoft wants to gain traction in the cloud market, it has quite a bit of work to do. Almost every major technology company has some cloud offering, but Amazon still leads the pack. However, don't count Microsoft out. The company is willing to invest dollars and resources toward its goal. Microsoft has opened its doors to open source and even incorporated former foe Linux. We will definitely be watching to see what happens next.