Microsoft Launches Worldwide Cloud OS Network

It's an archipelago of clouds. The Cloud OS Network, launched Thursday by Microsoft, is the name for a global consortium of more than two dozen Microsoft-validated cloud service providers that use its cloud platform.

The company's platform includes Windows Server with Hyper-V, System Center and Windows Azure, and the consortium is intended to provide consistency across data centers. Providers include Capgemini, Capita IT Services, CSC, Dimension Data, Fujitsu Ltd., Lenovo, Outsourcery, SingTel, Sogeti, Tieto, T-Systems, Doruknet and Workmann. Together, they represent over 425 data centers with more than 2.5 million servers in over 90 markets.

Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing, said in a statement that the network will help customers "create data centers without boundaries for apps, data and device management." Numoto added that this offers a "greater diversity of solutions, more flexibility and lower operations costs."

'Prevents Vendor Lock-In'

In its announcement Microsoft added that this multiplicity of cloud providers "prevents vendor lock-in." Ironically, the company has been accused countless times of locking customers into its proprietary solutions, so apparently this is part of the new Microsoft vision.

There are also a variety of potential advantages of this network for providers. The network members can offer value-added services, such as for hybrid solutions. Other advantages include regional or governmental differences that a regional provider might be better equipped to handle, such as geographical restrictions for certain kinds of data, as well as more effective marketing to potential local customers.

Microsoft gave the example of network partner Outsourcery in the United Kingdom, which is in the midst of an initiative to provide cloud services for businesses of all sizes in that region, as well as services for the U.K. governmental agencies. Similarly, TeleComputing in Norway and Sweden is migrating its large VMware environment to Hyper-V with Microsoft's assistance.

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