Microsoft just announced an on-premises version of its Azure cloud computing platform that will be available to hosting providers and customers through an appliance (or better: a large number of racks of appliances).
Microsoft is still mum about the Azure capability to run as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud, and there’s no trace of this feature in the online version of the platform, at the point that there are doubts about the company’s plans to compete against Amazon EC2 as previously announced.
But a new confirmation arrives exactly from this new Azure appliance. The just published FAQ page about the product in fact, clearly mentions the IaaS capability:
How is Microsoft Windows Azure platform appliance different from running a datacenter with Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center?
The Microsoft Windows Azure platform appliance allows customers and partners to deploy Windows Azure and SQL Azure in their own datacenters. The appliance is a turnkey cloud platform that runs on hundreds to thousands of servers optimized to deliver hosting services and massive scale-out applications, PaaS, SaaS, IaaS or high performance computing. Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center is a versatile, customizable server platform that allows customers and partners to build and run a dynamic, virtualized infrastructure and private clouds.
So, with this move Microsoft is not only going after Amazon, but also after VMware and its upcoming vCloud Service Director (vCSD, formerly project Redwood), that will be supposedly unveiled in September at the VMworld 2010 conference.