UPDATED 14:34 EDT / NOVEMBER 05 2019

ignite2 CLOUD

At Ignite, Microsoft pitches its new role embracing the wider tech ecosystem

Microsoft Corp. made a series of announcements on Monday that involved cross-platform deployment of Azure Cloud services, analytics and an expanded edge infrastructure, but a secondary story may well be how the company is redefining its role in the tech community at large.

“Where does Microsoft sit in this landscape?” asked Stu Miniman, co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the kickoff analysis on the second day at the Microsoft Ignite event in Orlando, Florida. “The answer is, Microsoft is going to play in a lot of places. All the latest and greatest, the new things that you want, you can get it from Microsoft. But they are also going to meet you where you are.”

Miniman was joined at the conference by co-host Rebecca Knight, and they discussed a not-so-coincidental announcement released this week by another company, Microsoft’s move away from a proprietary culture and the company’s competition with other cloud players (see the full discussion with transcript here).

VMware partners up

Microsoft on Monday introduced Azure Arc, a hybrid platform for managing a wide range of services, including Kubernetes clusters whether they reside inside or outside of Azure. Across the ocean at VMworld Europe 2019 in Barcelona, VMware Inc. was also announcing advancements around its Tanzu portfolio of products for managing software on Kubernetes.

Twenty-four hours later, VMware announced a combined solution featuring Workspace ONE and Microsoft’s Endpoint Manager, along with expansion of the Azure VMware Solutions hybrid cloud service.

“Arc reminds me of what I hear from VMware with Tanzu,” Miniman said. “Arc being announced and the next step of where Microsoft and VMware are going together is not a coincidence.”

Microsoft’s openness to a wider ecosystem for the deployment of its technology represents a continuation of the cloud-first tone set by Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella (pictured). When the company’s CEO made his first public appearance in 2014, observers noted that he never mentioned Windows.

“Customers are seemingly demanding best of breed, and Microsoft is supporting that, championing that,” Knight said. “We’re seeing this as a trend in the broader technology industry. However, it feels different because this is Microsoft and they’ve been so proprietary in the past.”

With this week’s announcements and the shift in Microsoft’s strategic approach, could the company overtake Amazon Web Services Inc. in the public cloud market?

“Last quarter, AWS did $9 billion, and they’re still growing at about a 35% clip,” Miniman noted. “Last year, Azure did about $12 billion, so AWS is still two to three times larger when you look at infrastructure as a service. They are both clear, valid choices for the customer.”

Here’s the complete analysis, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage this week of Microsoft Ignite:

Photo: Microsoft

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