Microsoft rolls out a private Azure appliance and big freaking cloud servers

At a press event in San Francisco on Monday, Microsoft Executive Vice President of Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie announced a new family of Azure products that the company hopes will drive home the message it’s trying (really hard) to send about its ability to run hyperscale, enterprise-grade and hybrid cloud computing environments. Among those products are a new Azure appliance that companies or service providers can deploy in their own data centers, and a new family of very beefy Azure cloud instances.

The appliance is especially interesting considering Microsoft’s previous dabbling into the idea of Azure appliances. It has previously floated the idea of selling appliances to a few large service provider partners such as HP, and even launched a program to help web hosts to launch their own versions of Azure. Both of them appear to have fallen along the wayside for various business and technological reasons, but now the appliance is back.

Called the Cloud Platform System, Guthrie said the new appliance will run the same Azure APIs, services, hypervisor, and everything as the Azure public cloud and will be able to connect easily to the Azure public cloud. [company]Dell[/company] is building the appliances for Microsoft.

The new server types, called the G family of instances, are designed for big data workloads and provide up to 32 cores, 450 gigabytes of RAM and 6.5 terabytes of local solid-state drive storage. [company]Microsoft[/company] also announced a new durable storage offering that supports up to 32 terabytes per virtual machine and 50,000 IOPS.

Scott Guthrie. Photo by Jonathan Vanian/Gigaom
Scott Guthrie. Photo by Jonathan Vanian/Gigaom

A new Azure Marketplace will support ISV applications and instance types, and Microsoft brought Cloudera Chief Strategy Officer Mike Olson on stage to show how easy it now is to launch a [company]Cloudera[/company] Hadoop cluster in Azure via the marketplace.

The company also followed up the Docker partnership it announced last week with support for CoreOS, a startup operating system technology built specifically to run Linux containers.