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Microsoft details cloud ops

Joab Jackson, IDG News Service | May 16, 2011
Microsoft kicked off its annual TechEd conference Monday much the way it did last year's, heavily touting cloud computing as a more efficient way for businesses to run IT operations. This year, however, company executives provided more details about how organizations can actually use cloud computing day-to-day.

Wahbe predicted that public cloud use will be most prevalent for a number of use cases. Organizations may use the cloud for extending existing applications, especially those used by their customers and partners. Business intelligence will be an early use, because the digestion and analysis of data can be intensive and vary over time. One-time uses such as for marketing and presenting events would be another natural candidate for cloud computing, because hardware and software won't have to be allocated for them.

In addition to cloud computing, Wahbe also offered a few other tidbits about other Microsoft products, aspects of which will also be addressed at the conference this week. One topic will be the upcoming release of Mango, the update for Windows Phone 7 mobile handset OS. This update to the OS, due at the end of the year, will feature integration with Microsoft's unified communications offering Lync Server. Mango users will be able to call up their Lync contacts directly from within the phone itself. The service will also allow users to send instant messages to members of their contact lists as well. Support for accessing SharePoint repositories will also be included in Mango.

On the VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) front, Wahbe announced that banking giant HSBC is in the process of rolling out 100,000 VDI desktops across its organizations, making it "one of the largest VDI deployments" existing, he said. System Center 2012 will manage a wide variety of non-Microsoft devices, such as iPhone, iPad and Android devices. "System center will be the end-to-end management console," he said.

Wahbe also took the opportunity to show how the Microsoft Kinect gesture-based motion controller could be used for non-gaming purposes. One medical facility, the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, uses it to allow surgeons in the operating room to move around CAT scan images using arm and hand motions rather than moving the images by hand, which would require washing up afterward. The technology also is being used as the interface for the Microsoft Worldwide Telescope project, so that users can quickly navigate around an immersive collection of images of the universe.

Although Wahbe did not specify any plans for non-gaming support of Kinect, he did say these uses were examples of "future possible device interactions."

"Kinect would have the possibility of changing the way we work," he said.


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