Microsoft enters the IaaS space

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Earlier this year, Microsoft announced plans to enter the Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space by extending their Azure platform. Those plans have started to become reality as announced during PDC2010. To use the IaaS features of the Azure platform, customers will have to build their virtual machines on premises (probably inside a Hyper-V environment as no on-the-fly conversion capability has been mentioned) and then upload them over the Internet to the Azure servers. Some time in 2011, Microsoft will also allow customers to build new virtual machines directly from inside the Azure control panel, possibly introducing a content catalog and a lab management facility. At the beginning Azure will only support Windows Server 2008 R2 as guest operating system, but some time during 2011 such support will be extended to Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2.

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