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Microsoft launches surge of cloud based enterprise solutions in fresh challenge to Amazon

Microsoft has launched a new challenge to Amazon's dominance of the cloud market by launching a surge of new cloud based enterprise services.

In order to encourage organisations and businesses to move onto the cloud, Microsoft will offer Enterprise Agreement customers discounted rates on Windows Azure with flexible annual payments and no overuse penalties.

To further boost adoption, the firm has announced a strategic partnership with data centre and Internet exchange firm Equinix to boost customer options for private connections to the cloud.

Along with this, Microsoft revealed a special offering aimed at the US government. Branded Windows Azure US Government Cloud, the solution is designed to help government agencies "realise the benefits of public cloud computing".

Microsoft is also targeting firms who may be looking to opening their own data centres trough the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2.

The technology is designed to allow businesses to set up data centers using Hyper-V, enabling "high-scale virtualization; high-performance storage at dramatically lower costs; built-in, software-defined networking; and hybrid business continuity".

For big data analytics, Microsoft is set to release Windows Azure HDInsight Service, an Apache Hadoop-based service that works with SQL Server along with widely used business intelligence tools including Microsoft Excel and Power BI for Office 365.

To support BYOD, Windows Intune will help provide mobile employees security-enhanced access to applications and data through Windows, iOS and Android devices.

Furthermore, a new Microsoft Remote Desktop app, available for download from app stores later this month, will provide easy access to PCs and virtual desktops across a variety of devices and platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Satya Nadella, Cloud and Enterprise executive vice president, commented: "As enterprises move to the cloud they are going to bet on vendors that have best-in-class software as a service applications, operate a global public cloud that supports a broad ecosystem of third party services, and deliver multi-cloud mobility through true hybrid solutions."