Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO) and Scott Guthrie (Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group) took the stage in San Francisco today to give a Microsoft Cloud "State of the Union" today, but also supplied some important and interesting announcements. When news came about this event, Microsoft only supplied information that an update was coming, but as you can guess, Microsoft rarely schedules and event like this, and has Satya show up, without prepping some news.

To kick-off the event, Satya spent some time rehashing his world view of a Mobile First/Cloud First world where it's not about devices, but instead about delivering experiences for individuals. Satya hammered home how Microsoft is unique positioned to be the leader in the Cloud space. Microsoft Cloud (powered by Azure) provides hyperscale, hybrid, and enterprise grade services making Microsoft the only available provider to offer a "complete" Cloud solution. Microsoft Cloud empowers every business, across every industry, and across the entire geography and currently more than 80 percent of the Fortune 500 rely on the Microsoft Cloud.

Microsoft is intent to not build its Cloud in isolation, providing single sign-on capabilities, a no limits mega-scale Cloud, made for developers, that supports any device, and that loves Linux. Tomorrow morning, Microsoft will make Azure compute power (along with help from MS research) available to the medical research industry to tackle Ebola.

Satya concluded by noting that it's still early days. Microsoft is continually learning and taking real world complexities to evolve its Cloud offerings.

Satya then handed the speaking reins over to Scott Guthrie, who proceeded to deliver deeper dives into Microsoft's hyperscale, hybrid, and enterprise grade abilities, but also was tagged as the new announcement purveyor for the event.

Some interesting data points from Scott:

  • Microsoft has rolled out an astonishing 300 major new features and services in Azure in the last 12 months.
  • There are 10,000 new Azure customers per week.
  • There are currently 350 million Azure Active Directory users.
  • Over 2 million developers using Visual Studio Online.
  • Where once customers were using only basic Azure services, 60% are now using the higher level services.

Now, for the announcements. We'll be covering each announcement more in-depth over the next week or so, but here's an overview of what was announced today:

  • A new G-family of Virtual Machines. The G-family is optimized for data workloads, with up to 32 CPU cores, 450 GB RAM, 6.5 TB of local SSD, and running with the latest Intel Xeon processors.
  • The Azure Premium Storage tier. Premium Storage carries with it up to 32 TB of storage per VM with greater than 50,000 IOPS per VM, and less than 1ms read latency.
  • The Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS). "Cloud in a box" finally becomes a reality next month as Microsoft will deliver a fully integrated hardware and software solution to bring the Cloud into your own datacenter. Microsoft will supply Azure, Windows Server and Microsoft System Center and Dell will supply the hardware. CPS will be available for purchase on Nov. 3.
  • Azure Marketplace. Azure Marketplace is designed to allow startups and ISVs to deliver solutions to enterprise and Azure customers through just a few clicks in the Azure console.
  • CoreOS support in Azure. Container-optimized Linux distribution with a minimal memory footprint is available starting today in the Azure Marketplace.
  • Cloudera. In addition to the CoreOS support, Cloudera solutions will be certified for the Azure Marketplace by the end of 2014.

Scott reiterated much of Satya's earlier statements, I hopes of solidifying a unified message. Azure is the Cloud with no limits, supporting any OS, any device, any data, and providing a complete Cloud to all geographic regions. Microsoft still sees the industry as having only three true Cloud providers, and that's: Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. Microsoft is the only provider positioned to offer a complete Cloud and the only one recognized by Gartner in four different magic quadrants.

Next week Microsoft will be adding two new Australians regions, pumping up its worldwide datacenter numbers to a whopping 19 Azure regions. To put this into perspective, Scott said that each datacenter is about the size of a football field. Each region hosts 16 of these massive datacenters and is capable of housing 600,000 servers in each region. Scott said that is twice as many as Amazon, and six times as many as Google.

Stay tuned for our coverage for each announcement made during today's event. We'll pick them all apart and deliver the things you need to know.