A closer look at Microsoft's new Azure Marketplace

He thinks this integration is what will make the Marketplace appeal to business customers. "The way we look at it, if I'm pulling these sorts of apps and workloads into my enterprise often you're coming in with an IT and an IT governance perspective. Because I am opening up and running these workloads in my data centre, it has access to my sensitive data, so we do want to make sure, when you're in that environment, that you're comfortable with that."

But it might also inspire some businesses to do more development themselves. "A lot of the same mechanisms we are talking about for creating these applications, like Azure Active Directory – we also allow enterprise line of business apps to be in the same system. So I can build my own internal line of business applications and authenticate against AD and write services and those sorts of things as well. We think it will be a combination of deploying third-party curated workloads in my enterprise as well as any custom development I'm doing and the mechanisms all wind up being the same."

The importance of consistency

That sort of consistency is what he believes makes Microsoft attractive for private cloud, whether you're shelling out for the pre-built Microsoft Cloud Platform System or building your own with Windows Server and System Centre. That doesn't give you a cloud that's the same as Azure, just one that's consistent with Azure.

He notes: "Take Cloudera. That's an example where I'd like to take the workload and I'd like to be able to deploy it consistently, whether it's going to be run on a private cloud, the CPS kind of device, or in the public cloud. That's a place where consistency is helpful for me, because I can take the same workload and I can decide where to run it and how to configure it."

If you're doing that in a private cloud, there's more work, but you get more control. "For my private cloud, I may have very custom hardware topology, say network devices, and I still want to be able to manage those. And those may be places where I need to do custom configuration for my private cloud where frankly, in the public cloud, you shouldn't really have to care, because you're not going to get access to the actual equipment.

"Those are cases where the fact that we're built on Hyper-V and we have System Centre support means that it's not an either or. I can actually use my custom hardware, I can run Azure Pack on it, I can do configuration that's custom to my hardware and my environment. But I can still have that consistency when it comes to the workloads being able to run in both places. My virtual machine can run in both places and I can choose to scale – maybe in the hyperscale Azure cloud I'll want to run on ten thousand of fifty thousand cores, and in my private cloud maybe I'll only need a hundred. This way, I get to make those choices."

On the public cloud side, Zander also dropped a hint that the new Australian Azure region won't be the last. "We're 19 regions by the end of the year; we're not done."


Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.