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Private Cloud 2.0 – Windows 8

This is a massive evolution for Microsoft

A key component for the enterprise IT team to consider as part of planning their Private Cloud strategy is the migration to Windows 8.

This is a massive evolution for Microsoft, nicely captured in this white paper from CSC and the Leading Edge forum: Windows 8 – A New Era for Microsoft (22-page PDF).

In this they describe how Microsoft is setting to achieve far more than just another incremental version release, but rather a reinvention of application architecture and development as a whole.

This is entirely logical as part of the overall Cloud wave, which is going to do that independent of whether Microsoft participates or not. This is another inflection point for them like their pivot for the Internet market.

Therefore this is likely to go hand in hand with their accompanying Private Cloud strategy, and this paper does an excellent job of explaining the IT spectrum that stretches from the ‘extra enterprise’ right through to consumer IT devices and encompasses this strategy.

They describe a three-tier stack featuring:

  • Platforms and systems
  • Frameworks and tools
  • Applications and solutions

and the enabling relationships between these layers of the stack. Importantly it defines where and how Windows 8 stretches across server, PC and mobile functions in this spectrum, highlighting for Private Cloud:

As it turns out, many significant improvements and additions to Windows 8 are happening at the server level. Facing tough competition from VMware and others in large-scale enterprise virtualization, Microsoft has upgraded Hyper-V so it can support host servers with 160 cores and 2 terabytes of RAM, with new reliability and performance features that directly compete with the high-end enterprise hypervisors. Improved storage virtualization, support for advanced graphics for remote desktops, and faster networking performance options.


Although Windows Server 8 and Windows Azure are not yet interchangeable, Microsoft is working to bring them closer together. Windows Server 8 will purportedly support online backup to Azure, while extended features like WIndows Azure Active Directory and SQL Azure Data Sync bring the in-house world (private cloud?) closer to Microsoft’s cloud options.

This starts to yield some insights into setting an associated Cloud Migration strategy for older apps:

Microsoft has also expanded the virtualization options within the desktop version of Windows 8, where Hyper-V is available for use to support older versions of Windows and things like creaky old Visual Basic 6 applications. Although it’s not meant to scale as Hyper-V would on a server, the bundled hypervisor for Windows 8 will — depending on the age of the processor — take virtualization on the desktop much farther than previous Microsoft products. However, Windows 8 will not include an additional license for Windows XP; if you need to run Windows XP apps under Windows 8, you’ll need more Windows licenses.

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