In the last of this three-part series, Tim Cozze-Young reports on Microsoft’s recent Enterprise Briefing and ends with cloud computing and the infrastructure that drives it, using real-world examples from Microsoft customers at the event.

“When I hear ‘cloud’, I think ‘server’,” said Maurice Martin in his presentation at Microsoft’s Enterprise Briefing on 7 November 2012. With this simple statement, he highlighted an important truth about the technology behind cloud computing.

In the new era of IT, infrastructure underpins the huge changes going on in IT, such as cloud computing, new devices, social media, big data and mobility. When Martin says that system integration is now a core business capability, he’s right.

Microsoft uses its ‘Cloud OS’ technology to transform data centres, enable modern apps, unlock data insight and empower people-centric IT.

Demanding applications? No problem!

For example, when UCAS has to find university places for 629,000 candidates in a couple of days, Windows Azure and Microsoft technology let them spin up 650 servers to provide a seamless, reliable service and deal with 900,000 logins.

Similarly, we heard from Andy Caddy, the CTO at easyJet about the way that Windows Azure let the airline prototype a user-friendly seat allocation system. Building it for the cloud was “just a tick in a box in Windows Studio.”

But for me, the more remarkable part of easyJet’s IT story is that they run their entire IT department with about 100 people. For a £4 billion a year business, that’s about 0.85% of revenue spent on IT.

easyJet’s bold use of Microsoft technology unlocks this efficiency, whether it’s outsourcing their entire email infrastructure to Office 365 or using Microsoft handheld devices to do face-to-face check for passengers, it’s cost-effective and transformative.

Reliable, consistent and stable

Royal Mail’s CIO, Catherine Doran, told a similar story of innovation and rapid change. They’ve moved 20,000 users to Microsoft cloud-hosted email and this year their moving 28,000 employees to a SharePoint intranet. The organisation delivers 59m items to 29m address every day – it can’t afford to take chances: “If we talk about ‘always on’ that means ‘reliable, consistent and not falling over’.”

These three presentations from Microsoft people and CIOs from some of largest customers, reveal the essential role of Microsoft server technology in delivering the changes that enterprises expect and making the new era of IT a reality.

By Tim Cozze-Young
Audience Manager, Microsoft Enterprise UK