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August 21, 2014

Microsoft migrating to its own Azure cloud

Redmond solving infrastructure challenge by taking its own medicine.

By Joe Curtis

Microsoft is migrating the majority of its IT to its own Azure cloud as it tries to avoid spending $200m to replace 40,000 servers nearing end-of-life.

The tech giant faces the decommissioning of two data centres over the next two years, as well support for its aged servers, located in seven data centres, expiring.

The challenge prompted the company to modernise the way it runs IT, guided by an aim to run Microsoft entirely in the cloud.

As a result, Redmond’s Service Deployment and Operations (SDO) team is busy shifting internal HR software, finance applications and training systems, as well as the back-end systems powering applications used by millions of customers into Azure.

In the first of a series of six blog posts about the move, the company said: "Microsoft IT has adopted a cloud-first approach to applications and workloads, which supports the vision. We have been using Microsoft Azure as the default infrastructure for new applications and workloads to further this cloud strategy.

"In addition to implementing this policy for new applications and workloads, we continue to extend the cloud-first vision by assessing existing infrastructure for cloud migration. These efforts will help us meet the challenges of end of life and closure of physical datacenters."

It is using a hybrid cloud strategy that will see all commodity workloads become SaaS applications like Office 365 and CRM tool Dynamics, with new apps running in Azure’s Platform-as-a-Service space.

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Existing applications will move into Azure’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service environment or remain in a private cloud.

"When we apply this strategy to the overall infrastructure environment, we see steady progress toward … an optimized private cloud over the next several years," the blog concluded.

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