Microsoft Unveils On-Premise Azure

Microsoft has unveiled its Azure on-premise cloud computing appliance at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference (WWPC).

The company says that it will be offering the appliance to enterprises who wish to buy it in large quantities, and that current Azure appliance customers include Dell, Futijsu, Hewlett-Packard and eBay.

The company explained on the Microsoft Azure Platform Appliance page that the appliance, which is currently available as a "limited production release" to selected customers and partners, will consist of "Windows Azure, SQL Azure and a Microsoft-specified configuration of network, storage and server hardware".

Forrester Research analyst James Staten commented on the announcement in a blog post: “For enterprise and government infrastructure and operations professionals, this announcement brings greater degrees of freedom in using Windows Azure, but it won't bring Azure in-house for more than the few very largest companies... at least not yet”

Microsoft plans to offer the platform to large organisations including governments, IT firms and major retail organisations.