In his opening keynote during the TechEd 2010 conference in New Orleans on Monday, Microsoft Server and Tools President Bob Muglia said that the computer industry was on the cusp of a major transformation from traditional software models to the cloud computing future. Microsoft, he said, will help businesses make this transition, and bring their IT investments forward into the cloud.

"Our job, simply put, is to deliver what customers need to take advantage of cloud computing on their own terms," Muglia said. "Some vendors would have you believe that you must move everything to the cloud now and there is only one way to achieve cloud computing. Don't be misled and lose sight of the value of all the investments you have already made to enable the full promise of cloud computing."

"Microsoft's strategy is to deliver software, services, and tools that enable customers to realize the benefits of a cloud-based model with the reliability and security of on-premises software," he added. "Microsoft is unique in that no other solution vendor has the same level of experience and expertise in software and services. We are providing the most comprehensive set of choices available to customers."

Muglia discussed a number of related product developments as well. The first service pack for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be made available as a public beta by the end of July and will ship in final form by the end of 2010. This service pack will include hot-fixes and other updates for Windows 7, but will provide major new functionality to Server 2008 R2, including Dynamic Memory and the RemoteFX remote desktopĀ  capabilities.

Microsoft has also updated its Windows Azure software development kit (SDK) to support .NET Framework 4, the final, shipping version of Visual Studio 2010, and IntelliTrace. SQL Azure has been enhanced with spatial data support and a higher, 50 GB capacity for SQL Azure databases. The company is also offering a public preview of the SQL Azure Data Sync Service, which supports data distribution and synchronization functionality.

Microsoft also released its Windows Server AppFabric technology, which provides a way to deliver so-called composite applications. It's available for free to customers with licenses for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise editions. There's also a new Bing Maps SDK that lets customers build applications that run on top of Bing Maps and optionally host them on Bing.com.

Finally, Microsoft revealed features it will deliver in Communications Server "14" and Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1). These include expert search, Office document and application sharing, and one-click meeting access from Outlook, SharePoint, and mobile phones, according to the company. Exchange 2010 SP1 is available today, and Microsoft expects to deliver Communications Server "14" by the end of the year.

As for migrating customers to the cloud, Muglia said that Microsoft had "deep experience" running some of the most popular online services, which include 600 million unique users on MSN, 4 billion Bing search queries each month, over 500 million active Windows Live IDs, 20 million Xbox Live users, and over 40 million paid users of MOS across 9000 businesses and over 500 government agencies. "We've said it before, but we are all in when it comes to our offerings for the cloud," Muglia noted.

For more information about TechEd 2010, be sure to check out the SuperSite for Windows, where I'll be blogging throughout the show.