Microsoft publicly announced its purchase of InMage on July 11, 2014. With this purchase Microsoft adds another solution to its growing list of answers for enterprise businesses migrating to a hybrid computing architecture built with on premises and cloud IaaS, SaaS components. The other product in this lineup is the StorSimple Hybrid cloud storage offer, which partners hardware from Seagate with custom software to provide a backup method for data reposed on Azure.
Why the need for these solutions? As this writer discovered recently, business subscribers to Microsoft’s Office 365, with data residing in business silos (with, in turn, their own databases) may have a very difficult time retracting this information, once it is uploaded to the cloud. If the information resides in Access 2013, for example, once the data is sent to the Office 365 cloud as an Access 2013 App, it will be converted to SQL Server data, regardless of whether or not the customer maintains a license for SQL Server or not. The Access 2013 App simply lands “somewhere in Azure” and cannot be retrieved.
For larger businesses, this kind of experience is untenable (and for understandable reasons). Given the urgency of Microsoft’s objective to emerge as the premier provider of solutions to a “mobile first, cloud first” market, proceeding without a solution directly assuaging market concerns about the data integrity of a hybrid computing architecture with on premise and cloud venues, disaster recovery, and simply periodic backup of the whole thing to on premise servers and storage is an unacceptable option. Evidently Redmond has gotten a lot of the message on just what can be expected of enterprise business on the question of cloud computing migrations.
As Takeshi Numoto states in his blog post announcement of the InMage acquisition, the “business continuity” solution represented by the InMage product running on Azure actually expands the attractiveness of Azure as a premier cloud, IaaS option not only for enterprise customers standardized on Windows, but also for their counterparts running Linux or even VMware. So InMage expands the reach of Azure, while, at the same time, providing a unique feature neither Google Compute, nor Amazon AWS can offer, at least for the near future.
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