How Microsoft Uses Azure Internally

Microsoft's Azure cloud platform is aimed at businesses of all sizes, but how does the tech giant use the service itself? During a recent media tour, Jon Ormond from Microsoft IT talked through some of the uses Microsoft's internal IT department has found for Azure -- and how shifting to the cloud could save it $US150 million.

Ormond is the director of the architecture for network team within that group, which is responsible for running IT at 500 Microsoft sites. Right now, more than 1300 line-of-business apps for the company are running in Azure. That ranges from serious applications to ones that are appealing but trivial: "We have an application that tracks all the soda consumption in every building," Ormond said.

The goal is to have 80 per cent of all apps running on Azure within five years. In parallel, Microsoft is also trying to further virtualise the 40,000 Windows servers it is running in its own data centres. "Right now, we're about 65 per cent virtualised." A key element in that strategy will be using the Windows Azure Pack (WAP) to replicate Azure functionality in its on-premises environments.

"As an enterprise, we're hoping for convergence between those two products -- there's no single pane of glass yet, but it's close. We still do a lot of things manually internally. Getting to WAP gets it to truly be a private cloud."

That transition will save significant money, with the capital value of hardware which will hit end-of-life over that period estimated at $200 milliom.

"If we can hit these targets we can eliminate about $150m of that capex. We'll still have the associated opex, but I don't have to spend that capex, and that is as an IT person is very precious to me."


Comments

    They actually track the soda? That surprises me. (And yes, I know how much soda typical workers go through, because I worked there for years.) Then again, maybe it's sort of a failsafe to detect when a certain location's consumption goes up 6 cases per week, in case it's due to theft. (Not that a company that leaves perfectly good abandoned servers and other hardware just randomly out in the halls awaiting recycling pickup should really be worried about soda theft...).

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