Hello,

While in the Building 16, I worked on the mix of SharePoint with Cloud/Online services. Some may be interested understanding our branding options, as Microsoft is in. The best place to understand Microsoft Cloud story is this site: http://www.microsoft.com/cloud. But, here’s what I understood from what I learned being inside the story:

Datacenter facilities

All our Datacenters are managed by the GFS division (Global Foundation Services). This division cross charge the others entities consuming its services, like the externally known ones (Live, Bing, BPOS, etc.), but also internally (like MSIT – the Microsoft Internal IT organization).

You can find more info on GFS here: http://www.globalfoundationservices.com/

Most of the services aimed at consumers’ markets are named “Live” something:

Live services are mainly:

  • Free to use
  • Ad based
  • Mass/consumer market oriented
  • Internet Scale service, meaning many millions of users +hundreds of millions requests per day
  • Bing is derived from this model
  • The main services here are: Live Messenger, SkyDrive, Live Mail (former Hotmail), Live Mesh, etc.

You can find more information on the Live Services here: http://www.live.com

Most of the services aimed at businesses, applications and solutions markets are either “Azure” or “BPOS”:

These Services are aimed to businesses. Businesses is a wider market than only the Enterprises and Corporations. World Wide Services are oriented to Enterprises and Corporations (Support, Premier and Consulting). But the market target here is really every businesses, from Fortune 500 to Small and Medium Businesses in emerging markets. This a vast scope!

Azure is based on a platform (the Windows Azure Platform). This platform offer different “services” which mainly consist today in:

  • Windows Azure (Compute) service, with worker and web roles
  • Windows Azure Storage services, with blobs, tables and queues
  • SQL Azure database service with relational databases
  • Windows Azure AppFabric service with Access control and Service bus
  • Azure VM Role, currently in beta

This set of services are provided as a platform to quickly create new applications and solutions. More info here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/products/default.aspx

BPOS is the abbreviation of “Business Productivity Online Suite”. It offers the Business Productivity Infrastructure from Microsoft in the Clouds. This infrastructure is mainly built leveraging Exchange, SharePoint, LiveMeeting and Office Communications Servers’ products. BPOS is available in 2 flavors:

  • BPOS – Dedicated: The service is hosted on a dedicated environment per customers, within Microsoft Datacenters mutualizing the Engineering of the service. This service requires various connections between MSFT and the customer (VPN or MPLS, Active Directory dir sync)
  • BPOS – Standard : The service is hosted on a mutualized environment for all the customers (called tenants). The service is managed through a specific Commerce portal and Administration center. Customers can subscribe to the service automatically on a website, and use it very quickly (few hours).

These are the services which are the closest to what could be deployed on-premises. More info here: http://www.microsoft.com/online/

I missed to mention Windows Intune (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsintune/) which is a great service for security and workstations management. Its' aimed to businesses, but branded with the Live style sheet :-S.

Where SharePoint fits in

SharePoint 2007 fits in:

  • Office Live Workspace beta
  • SharePoint Online Standard (part of BPOS-S)
  • SharePoint Online Dedicated (part of BPOS-D)

SharePoint 2010 fits or will fit in:

  • Office Windows Live, as it provides the Office Web Applications feature in this service (Globally, everywhere Office Web Applications are available, SharePoint 2010 is the platform fueling it)
  • SharePoint Online Standard
  • SharePoint Online Dedicated

What’s in common?

Most of these Online Services share the same challenges. Among them, you find:

  • Shared resources and infrastructure
  • High dependence to the Network
  • Be designed at scale
  • Optimize Cloud computing concepts to provide a better service at an efficient cost
  • Adapt to scale (up and down)
  • High degree of automation
  • Virtualized platforms
  • etc.

What is really in common here is to use Microsoft technologies to provide Internet scale services or Large hosting solutions.

Our aim is to find the best balance between the size, the markets and customers needs, and our internal industrialization efforts.

Ok, now you read 2 words very close to me: Automation and Industrialization....

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