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Microsoft cloud and enterprise CTO: "We have recognised the shifts and invested early"

Microsoft's CTO of cloud and enterprise, Dave Campbell, has said he believes the firm has "recognised the shifts and invested early" in cloud technology.

Speaking at the GigaOM Structure:Europe conference today, Campbell, who has been with Microsoft for 19 years, said that although he recognises that there are a lot of competitors and still a long way to go, the firm is "all in".

Confirming outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer's recent claim that the firm now operates one million servers, Campbell said the the figure is definitely in the ballpark, adding, "the rate that we're buying data centres is astronomical".

Talking about how cloud is the next "big shift" in computing, he explained how operating at the scales big data requires is completely transforming the skills and knowledge required.

"Building things at this scale is vastly different...I've started assessing people's ability to unlearn," he said.

His comments follow Steve Ballmer's keynote address at Microsoft's 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference in July. "We have something over a million servers in our datacenter infrastructure. Google is bigger than we are. Amazon is a little bit smaller. You get Yahoo! and Facebook, and then everybody else is 100,000 units probably or less," he said.

"So the number of companies that really understand the network topology, the datacenter construction, the server requirements to build this public cloud infrastructure is very, very small. And the number of companies that are at the same time seriously investing in the private cloud, which is not going away, and in these hybrid clouds is really just one and that's us."