Azure Remains Key to Microsoft’s Future

Key to future

…recently launched its Anthos initiative to enable customers to run its cloud services on on-premises hardware from a range to vendors, including Lenovo, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell EMC, as well as other public clouds.

Microsoft in 2017 released Azure Stack, a way of bringing the Azure platform into customer data centers. It has since expanded its hybrid capabilities, such as unveiling in March its Azure Stack HCI for hyperconverged infrastructure solutions and Azure Data Box Edge in April. The latter is an edge computing appliance that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and can transfer data real time to Azure over a network.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with The Enderle Group, said Azure “is at the heart of Microsoft’s near-term future, it is Satya Nadella’s baby and it pretty much will define the new Microsoft much like Windows defined the old.”

The Enderle Group's Rob Enderle

The Enderle Group’s Rob Enderle

“They have been aggressively open, they have embraced developers and they have provided a well-priced, secure solution,” Enderle told Channel Partners, adding that there are weaknesses to Microsoft’s efforts. “Microsoft still appears as a U.S. company (they haven’t done the work globally that IBM once did to appear to be a more global vendor and with nationalism on the rise, that reduces their potential) and past concerns about old bad behavior still surround the firm even though it is vastly different than the firm it once was.”

In its efforts to gain ground on AWS, the analyst said that Azure opted to tout its own merits despite what he said are challenges facing AWS that are expected from a retailer trying to provide IT services. If Microsoft officials had employed some of the aggressive marketing skills they were know for a decade or more ago, they may have been able to more successfully attacked AWS. In the end, Enderle said Microsoft’s less aggressive approach is the better path forward.

“You don’t need to bad mouth competitors or grow at near vertical rates to be successful long term,” he said. “You just need to stay on top of the market and focus on understanding both what the customers need today and what they are likely to need tomorrow. Staying focused on that should serve them far better than their past focus on killing competitors.”

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