Microsoft Product Updates Enable Next-Generation SharePoint Cloud

Want easy, seamless integration between your company’s network and’s SharePoint Cloud? How about Disaster Recovery (DR) failover with fast, secure Virtual Machine (VM) replication across the Internet? New updates in the core Microsoft server product lineup are closing the gaps and facilitating smarter cloud-based SharePoint environments. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Microsoft SharePoint and the Cloud are becoming fast friends! (*hold for applause*)

At the recent Microsoft Hosting Summit 2012, I was thrilled to see the future of Cloud tools unfolding before my eyes. Microsoft is finally producing tools that enable providers like to go big and fast. As a trusted SharePoint advisor and leading hosting provider for the platform, is 100% SharePoint, and solving our customers’ SharePoint needs just got easier! has provided Microsoft’s SharePoint Team with a ton of feedback from our customers, and I am delighted to say that most of our wish list has been fulfilled with this release of products. Always nice to see Redmond recognizing’s dedicated SharePoint team in their new product release presentations.

So, let’s talk about what the Microsoft Product Teams have been up to – and which tools will be using to build the next-generation SharePoint Cloud. The big three core components behind SharePoint are Windows Server 8, SQL Server 2012 and System Center 2012. SPOILER: Windows Server 8 is the greatest Cloud platform on the planet…

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Windows Server 8

Windows Server 8 logo artwork

This release is absolutely massive. It has too many features and benefits to list here. (You can grab the complete list off a plethora of blog sites.) I want to focus on features that will have the greatest impact at and help us to deliver the best SharePoint Cloud in the world. Here’s the ‘Geek List’ and some possible real world scenarios for you:

– Network Virtualization – Extend your Enterprise network to the SharePoint Cloud. can also extend its own network across global data centers or to other clouds like Amazon. This is huge and probably merits its own blog post altogether. Network virtualization will allow us to connect to various clouds securely while giving delivering the full server control you need and want.

– 64 TB RAM – Huh? We are talking native support… Ok, fair to say storage is now the main issue for Microsoft service providers like But no worries, System Center 2012 to the rescue. More on that below!

– Live VM/storage migration – Wicked! I was blown away when I saw this demo. Easily move around live VMs AND storage. Yes storage, and I’m talking anything – SAN, DAS, you name it. There’s even native fiber channel support. Admin Nirvana is fast approaching…

– VM replication – Hooray for realistic Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity via the Microsoft stack! Secure replication with compression 40% compression out of the box. will be able to more easily replicate to its other data centers and you will be able to replicate to us as a DR facility. Read on below, it gets better!

– Initial replication to media – Anyone who has done replication across a WAN can feel our pain. The process is is typically slow and expensive. Our superhero to the rescue, Windows Server 8 can write the VM snapshot instance to external media. We ship it to another data center, do a fast restore, replicate the deltas across the Internet and presto! We’re in business! Of course, you could also replicate to in the same manner if using us for DR and continuity planning.

– IP failover – Hot warm SharePoint scenarios are painful right now. No more with Windows Server 8. will now have the ability to set up a HOT VM with full IP failover to a geographically dispersed data center. And, as always, you could do the same to us.

System Center 2012

Microsoft System Center 2012 logo artwork
System Center 2012 = Admin Nirvana. I might need to get a copyright on that t-shirt design! System Center 2012 will ultimately allow to manage our global network of data centers and SharePoint servers as if they were right next door. It can handle the entire stack – hardware to SharePoint app.

Again, System Center has a huge list of features and benefits so I won’t regurgitate bullet lists here. But here’s what has me fired up:

– Orchestrator – Automate IT processes, whether it’s building SharePoint servers or setting up alerts to know when capacity is reached on a server to then automatically deploy your warm server. may also use System Center 2012 to run HOT HOT SharePoint servers with secure replication, IP failover and custom alerts. System Center 12 reportedly is able to handle the heartbeat monitoring and failover of SharePoint servers. I haven’t seen it work, so I’m holding out until we test it thoroughly.

– Endpoint management – Licensing has been simplified so that endpoints are the only thing to worry about. End points could be a server or a desktop.

– Monitoring and reporting – Thorough, easy SharePoint server health monitoring with alerts. Microsoft has everything covered – including anything you could ever want or not want to monitor. Our goal is to surface all this data to a customer dashboard so you can see the same thing does.

SQL Server 2012

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 logo artwork

The engine behind SharePoint just got stronger! SQL Server 2012 is gearing up to handle big data. It goes to general release in just a few weeks. And again, tons of new features and benefits. Please check our SQL Server 2012 Sneak Preview blog to learn more. But here are the biggies for SharePoint Cloud:

– Business Intelligence – This release is all about BI. Getting more out of the data you have.

– Big data – SQL Server 2012 is beefier and they have combined eight versions into five. Microsoft has been listening to Gartner and others.

– Licensing – This is a big one. It has moved from processor to core.

Microsoft is touting six nines (99.9999%) uptime availability with this release of SQL. Read more about a Stratus Technologies case study.

And the most overlooked feature of SQL Server 2010, PowerPivot, has a stronger presence in the new release. See why voted PowerPivot product of the year.

So, there you have it! It’s time to get excited about the future of your SharePoint Cloud. has the tools and the expertise to take you to the next level of SharePoint cloud hosting! Contact today!

2012-04-09T11:57:17+00:00 April 9th, 2012|


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