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Major Microsoft re-org to avert Windows' cloud cannibalization

Talisker money maker for on-premises Azure

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Exclusive Microsoft's $14bn server and tools unit has undergone a major shake up in order to squeeze money from the Windows Azure cloud without cannibalizing Windows Server and tools.

The unit has ramped up product and business development executives whose goal is to quickly build sellable products and services and sign up ISV and developer partners, according to internal Microsoft emails seen by The Reg.

Furthermore, under the re-org, Microsoft has accelerated plans to let people outside of its own data centers run versions of the Azure computing and storage fabric – something Microsoft had until now resisted.

Fresh resources have been allocated to Project Talisker, a months' old initiative to build and sell versions of Azure that customers and hosting partners can run on their own premises.

A brand-new communications unit has also been created to try and push a unified and consistent cloud-computing message spanning all S&T products and services. The unit – under a former internet explorer general manager and senior product director Amy Barzdukas – will pound press, analysts, and customers using public and analyst relations and executive speeches.

Normally, communications are carried out on a product-by-product basis, but the Barzdukas' unit stands in its own right and has been equal ranking with S&T's infrastructure marketing, business platform, and developer marketing units under Bob Kelly, Eduardo Rosini and Eddie Amos.

All four report to overall S&T marketing vice president Robert Wahbe, who continues to report to S&T group president Bob Muglia. The move means Microsoft is taking a leaf from IBM's book of marketing so-called "solutions" that wrap in disparate and integrated products.

Amos' developer marketing, meanwhile, has taken ownership of technical computing – created in May under general manager Bill Hilf – to win developers to Windows-Server based HPC and block them going to Linux. Developer marketing is also home to Visual Studio and Silverlight.

"We are moving the Technical Computing group... to recognize that the key battle for Technical Computing is winning developers to our platform," Microsoft's emails said.

Also, a joint data center virtualization and platform team has been created to compete with Linux and Unix.

The massive overhaul is already been put into effect, for Microsoft's new fiscal year that began on July 1.

Microsoft is expected to start by hitting partners with the cloud message at this weeks' World Wide Partner Conference in Washington, DC, where Wahbe and Muglia will keynote.

According to the Microsoft emails, the shake-up is designed to make money from Azure and cloud by spanning S&T's diverse products. The company believes it has "opportunity to grow significantly in the Tier 1 Enterprise" and cloud but that it's also under "intensive competitive pressure" from VMware, Oracle, and LAMP – the open-source stack of Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl, PHP and Python rocking the cloud.

Until now, Microsoft has tried to attract PHP developers to Azure and Windows Server by making PHP and Azure and Windows work better together at a programming and deployment level.

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