Microsoft announced today that customers will in future be able to buy server hardware with its Azure cloud computing operating system built in and pre-integrated.
The Windows Azure platform appliance, the company said, “consists of Windows Azure, [cloud database software] SQL Azure and a Microsoft-specified configuration of network, storage and server hardware.”
“This hardware will be delivered by a variety of partners,” it added. Microsoft announced that these partners will include Dell, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard.
Judging by an official blog post by the company’s corporate vice president for Microsoft Server, however, it doesn’t sound as though the appliances have yet been built. “Dell, Fujitsu, and Hewlett-Packard are implementing a limited production release of the appliance in their data centres,” Robert Wahbe wrote, “and we are working with them so they can offer the appliance to run in customer data centres, too.”
These partnerships have been interpreted as allegiances in the ongoing battle between Microsoft and VMware for control of the data centre software environment.