Microsoft hopes to make hybrid Clouds less scary with more extensive testing

The company hopes to embolden enterprises to move more applications to the cloud

Step by step, Microsoft is working to make its hybrid Cloud offerings more attractive. With a new set of "how-to" documentation, it intends to inspire more application development and experimentation with different IT workloads.

The documentation shows how to configure basic hybrid Cloud testing environments, which use a mixture of public and on-site computing resources, and how to run a SharePoint intranet farm as well as other applications on top of it.

These testing environments use a local Internet connection and a public IP address to set up a functioning, cross-site Azure virtual network. Once the testing environments have been configured, IT staff can use them to begin application development, experiment with IT workloads, and gauge the performance of VPN connections, Microsoft said in a blog post on Thursday.

Even if the hybrid Cloud concept is easy to understand, taking the leap to actually building one isn't always an easy decision. More in-depth testing increases the chance of a successful roll-out.

That Microsoft wants to make the most of its strong position in enterprise data centers, hoping to move customers to Azure, has been apparent for some time. The strategy is a way for Microsoft to differentiate its offerings from Amazon Web Services, which has a more extensive public Cloud.

In the last couple of months Microsoft has announced a number of initiatives to make it easier for the IT department to start using public Cloud-based services without leaving existing datacenters behind. They include the Azure-in-a-box Cloud Platform System product and a deal with consulting company Accenture, which launched the Hybrid Cloud Solution for Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft isn't alone in going down this route; VMware is also hoping to take advantage of its presence in datacenters. This week, CEO Pat Gelsinger detailed his company's take on the future of hybrid Clouds, which includes a common platform that enterprises can use to manage private and public Clouds.

This competition is good for everyone looking to move applications to public or hybrid Clouds. The challenge is to do it in a way that doesn't lead to an infrastructure that's too dependent on one vendor, which is always a risk in new sectors where standardization is lacking.

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