Microsoft Azure Conference 2015

The Microsoft Azure Conference, organised in Pune, was all about the fast-growing cloud industry in India. The bright minds that had arrived for the event had the opportunity to hear several announcements on Microsoft’s cloud offerings. By Jasmine Desai

Cloud is now the fastest growing vertical in enterprise IT—this was the resounding message of the Microsoft Azure Conference 2015. In his address, Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India, said, “Cloud represents a unique democratisation of
technology. Due to the rise of cloud, technology is no longer the limitation, affordability is no longer the issue.” Microsoft India announced that the company would start a data centre in Pune by the end of 2015. It was also revealed that across India, Microsoft would be starting three data centres. The DR sites for these new data centres will be contained within the Microsoft sites. The representatives from Microsoft spoke about the Cloud Accelerator Program, which the company feels will lead to the acceleration in the adoption of cloud services in enterprises and government organisations.

Equipped with in-house experts and trained partners, Microsoft India’s Cloud Accelerator Program is specially designed to help Indian customers start and complete their cloud journey. More than 15 Microsoft partners, including HCL, Wipro and Tech Mahindra, will be part of the rollout of the Cloud Accelerator Program in India. In times to come, Microsoft expects more partners to join the Program and increase the range of offerings. Azure Vidyapeeth and GuruVarta— Microsoft’s two cloud training programs were also explained at the event. These two training programs are especially developed for enabling SMBs to
transition their applications to the cloud.

Microsoft expects that the program will help 10,000 SMBs across 250 cities to move to the cloud. Pramanik explained Microsoft’s strategy of mobile first and cloud first. He gave a glimpse into the hyper-scale of Microsoft’s cloud offerings. He informed that the company has invested $4.5 billion in setting-up data centres across the world. It is investing in hyper-scale data centres in India. Microsoft is also facilitating the development of the hybrid environment, which offers the advantages of both, private and public cloud.

“Big Data and cloud will open lot of service opportunities and great ecommerce opportunity,” said Pramanik. “Twelve months ago, the Azure footprint consisted of just eight data centre regions in USA, Europe, Singapore and China. Now it has expanded to India, Australia, Japan and South America. Presently, 19 Azure data centre regions are open for business,” he added.Microsoft Azure led to the spotlight being placed on many of the key concerns that CIOs in enterprises and IT officials in government face. Today many government departments and even enterprises are not prepared to place their applications on the cloud due issues
related to security, speed, and accessibility. “Our data centres meet all regulatory requirements. Customers can take back the data if they stop using the service,” said Pramanik. “Security, privacy and compliance makes it a trustworthy cloud.”

There is a single sign-on capacity, and all authentication activity of SaaS applications is happening on single platform. The enthusiasm that the present government in Maharashtra has about cloud deployments was well articulated by Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary- Industries, Government of Maharashtra. He said that the adoption of cloud by the governments was
inevitable. “Aaple Sarkar portal has been launched. State government land records have been digitised. Registration of documents from 2002 to 2015 have been digitised. This has brought lot of efficiency and transparency to our operations,” said Apurva Chandra. “Maharashtra Industry and Development Association bought a server four years back. Now the server
needs to be upgraded, but we are deciding to go for Microsoft cloud,” he added.

Dave Campbell, CTO, Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group, Microsoft, said, “India has combination of three things: technical skills, entrepreneurial spirit and pragmatism. These three things will lead to rapid development of the cloud industry in this
country.” Elaborating on Azure cloud, he said that the most important currency at Microsoft is the pace of learning. There are 1,200,000 SQL databases in Azure. Azure is getting 10,000 new customers a week. 60% of Azure customers use higher level of services. One interesting point that Campbell made is that currently 40% of Azure revenue is coming from start-ups and ISVs. Subramanyam Petrevu, CIO, Mindtree, said, “In next 2-3 years the start-up ecosystem will grow, and this will lead to a more accelerated adoption of cloud.” Mindtree is presently working on developing solutions for establishing DR in the cloud.

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