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June 3, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Updates coming to Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server

Microsoft is unveiling today some details about the upcoming refreshes to its key enterprise IT offerings.

The updates include Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 — to be released by the end of this year. SQL Server 2014 is slated for release shortly after that.  Previews of all three will be available later this month.

Windows Intune, Microsoft’s cloud-based solution for PC and mobile device management and security, will also be getting a series of updates over the course of this year.

Microsoft is announcing the updates at TechEd North America, the company’s annual conference for IT professionals and enterprise developers. About 10,000 people are expected at this year’s event, taking place today  through Thursday in New Orleans. (Microsoft is livestreaming the keynote addresses and select sessions at

The updates are building on the momentum that Microsoft’s enterprise IT offerings have experienced over the past few years.

SQL Server Premium revenue, for instance, has grown double digits for 12 consecutive quarters and Windows Server Datacenter revenue has been growing 60 percent year over year, said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of marketing for Microsoft’s Server & Tools division. Windows Azure revenue has grown 200 percent year over year, with a thousand customers signing up each day, he added.

The upcoming refreshes incorporate what the company is calling its “cloud first” principles, which emphasize faster-paced development and release cycles.

The updates also incorporate what the company has learned from hosting its own services such as Bing and Office 365 on its Windows Azure cloud platform, Numoto said.

The updates include enhanced capabilities to manage virtualized networks; the ability to more easily set up secondary backups in Windows Azure; and the ability to use the products to more easily break down boundaries between their own datacenters, service provider datacenters and Windows Azure to create hybrid on-premises and cloud solutions. The idea is to have IT services and apps available on demand from any location and any device, with the computing power backing them ready to throttle up or down, as needed.

Microsoft is also offering a preview of Windows Azure BizTalk Services, the cloud services version of its BizTalk Server that lets applications talk to each other. This lets customers “integrate applications that may be across premises, or to connect to a supplier’s or a vendor’s or a partner’s applications,” Numoto said.

The company is also making a push for customers to use its Windows Azure cloud for development and testing work, giving MSDN subscribers (those who have licenses to use certain Microsoft products, services and development tools) $150 worth of Windows Azure services a month. In addition, Microsoft is offering the option of per-minute billing for use of Windows with no minimum.

Webcasts from TechEd are being streamed here.

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: server & tools, sql server, system center


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