Microsoft Expands Data Platform to Help Customers Manage the ‘New Currency of the Cloud’

This morning, I gave a keynote at the PASS Summit 2011 here in Seattle, a gathering of about 4,000 IT professionals and developers worldwide. I talked about Microsoft’s roadmap for helping customers manage and analyze any data, of any size, anywhere -- on premises, and in the private or public cloud.

Microsoft makes this possible through SQL Server 2012 and through new investments to help customers manage ‘big data’, including an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure and a strategic partnership with Hortonworks. Our announcements today highlight how we enable our customers to take advantage of the cloud to better manage the ‘currency’ of their data.

We often talk about the economics of the cloud, detailing how customers can achieve unmatched economies of scale by taking advantage of public or private cloud architectures. As an example, an enterprise with a small incubation project could theoretically take it to production overnight, thanks to the elasticity and scalability benefits of the cloud.

As we turn more and more to the cloud, data becomes its currency. The exchange of data is the heart of all cloud transactions, and, as in a real-world economy, more value is created whenever data is generated or consumed. But there are new business challenges that this currency creates: How do we deal with the scope and scale of the data we manage? How do we deal with the diversity of types and sources of data? How do we most efficiently process and gain insight from datasets ranging from megabytes to petabytes?

How do we bring the world’s data to bear on the tasks of the enterprise, as businesses ask themselves questions like: “What can data from social media sites tell me about the sentiment of my brands and products?” And, how do we enable all end-users to gain the critical business insights they need – no matter where they are and what device they are using? Customers need a data platform that fully embraces the cloud, the diversity and scale of data both inside and outside of their ‘firewall’ and gives all end-users a way to translate data into insights – wherever they are.

Microsoft has a rich, decades-long legacy in helping customers get more value from their data. Beginning with OLAP Services in SQL Server 7, and extending to SQL Server 2012 features that span beyond relational data, we have a solid foundation for customers to take advantage of today. The new addition of an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Azure and Windows Server is the next building block, seamlessly connecting all data sizes and types. Coupled with our new investments in mobile business intelligence, and the expansion of our data ecosystem, we are advancing data management in a whole new way.

Imagine if everyone, regardless of what type of data frameworks or platforms they use, could achieve deep business insights by amassing and analyzing enormous amounts of data not just from their own organization, but from all over the world using a global data marketplace. As futuristic as that may seem, we believe we are uniquely positioned to bring this vision to life. Our existing assets across the public and private cloud, as well as our commitment to providing choice and flexibility for our customers, make us the only vendor delivering on this vision today. And now more than ever, with our latest data platform innovations, we are ready to help our customers harness the currency of tomorrow.

Posted by Ted Kummert
Corporate Vice President, Business Platform Division, Microsoft