On Monday Microsoft revealed an extensive "fall" wave of new enterprise products and services that will be launched over the next several weeks, starting on October 18. These include the launch of Windows Server 2012 R2 next week, a new Windows Azure cloud for the government, and a second preview of SQL Server 2014.
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"As people look at our commercial business in this age of cloud computing, big data and the consumerization of IT, people are asking questions about our future strength in the enterprise," said Satya Nadella, Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft. "Will Microsoft continue to be at the core of business computing in, say, 10 years? I'll be honest that there's a little déjà vu in that question; 10 years ago many people doubted our ability to be an enterprise company and today we surely are."
Available now is Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2, offering small and midsize businesses interoperability with Office 365, full multitenant support, and a range of tools designed to support large-scale hosting of the application on Windows Azure. The company has also announced a partnership with Equinox, allowing customers to connect their networks with Windows Azure at Equinox exchange locations.
Microsoft is also introducing Windows Azure U.S. Government Cloud, which will provide government workers with a dedicated community cloud for data, applications and infrastructure, hosted within the States and managed by US-based personnel. Microsoft reports that Windows Azure has been granted FedRAMP Joint Authorization Board Provisional Authority to Operate, making it "the first public cloud of its kind to achieve this level of government authorization."
On October 18, Microsoft will launch Windows Server 2012 R2, followed by the suite's Microsoft Remote Desktop app for Windows, Windows RT, iOS, OS X and Android later this month. On the same day Microsoft will also launch System Center 2012 R2, Visual Studio 2013, .NET 4.5.1, and a new version of Intune, the latter of which allows IT departments to give mobile employees security-enhanced access to apps and data on their iOS, Android and Windows devices when combined with System Center Configuration Manager.
Next week Microsoft will release a second preview of SQL Server 2014, promising 10 to 30 times better performance without application rewrites or new hardware. Then later this month, Microsoft will release Windows Azure HDInsight Service, an Apache Hadoop-based service that works with SQL Server and widely used business intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Excel and Power BI for Office 365. Also released later this month will be the next major version of the company's CRM solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall '13, promising multiple platform support and more personal interactions via contextual information.
Finally on November 1, Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers will get access to discounted Windows Azure prices, regardless of upfront commitment, without overuse penalties and with the flexibility of annual payments.
"Our fall wave delivers significant advancements across each of these areas, touching nearly every aspect of IT," Nadella said on Monday. "The enterprise move to the cloud is on, and today marks a major milestone in that journey."
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware, Tom's Games, Tom's Guide and Tom’s IT Pro. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
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