Last week Microsoft hosted its first ever Windows Azure Conference in India. Though Microsoft has been traditionally hosting developer and IT professional conference in the form of TechEd, this was the first time that it hosted an exclusive cloud conference. Microsoft did not miss the opportunity to demonstrate its strength in the Indian cloud market by involving high profile customers who spoke about their adoption of Azure.
With over 2000 participants and 30 technical sessions spread across 2days, Lalit Ashok Bangalore, the venue for the conference was buzzing with developers. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft India opened the event with his keynote where he mentioned that Microsoft is adding over 2000 commercial cloud customers every month in India coming from various industry sectors including banking, manufacturing, healthcare and media, and across large, mid-sized and small companies. Though Microsoft didn’t disclose the customer identity, it shared some interesting facts about Azure’s adoption in India –
- Three leading private banks
- Five leading auto manufacturers
- Four leading healthcare organizations
- Three leading media houses
- Five leading Indian SIs are also building solutions on Windows Azure for global consumption
Given the enterprise footprint Microsoft has in India, it is not surprising to see the adoption from the leading organizations.
Karan Bajwa, Managing Director, Microsoft India said, “Our investments in improving the readiness of our partners and developers is enabling faster cloud adoption. We are in a mobile-first, cloud-first world and cloud is becoming an integral part of the IT infrastructure in Indian enterprises today”.
By getting customers like Fortis Healthcare and Reasoning Global eApplications on stage to sharetheir experience of migrating to the cloud, Microsoft made a strong statement that they are serious about driving Azure’s growth in India. Varun Sood CIO, Fortis Healthcare Ltd. said, “To be able to be proactively address the needs of our organization in a simple, flexible, scalable and cost effective manner, we turned to Windows Azure. It has enabled us to establish an efficient foundation for our rapidly growing organization. Azure fits very well with Fortis.”
The key announcement from this event was the legacy hardware trade-in scheme for SMBs. Many SMBs do not know what to do with the hardware if they move significant part of their IT to the cloud. To encourage them to migrate to Azure, customers can trade their old hardware for Azure benefits. This is an innovative and smart move from Microsoft to attract cost-conscious customers in price sensitive, emerging markets like India. It will not be surprising if other subsidiaries of Microsoft in emerging markets run a similar campaign. It will be interesting to see how Amazon responds to this move.
The technical content focused on how open, broad and flexible the Azure platform is. There were sessions on running Linux and Oracle workloads on Microsoft’s cloud, which is an indication that Microsoft is going all out to attract the open source customers. Other sessions included running NoSQL databases, developing mobile applications and managing complex deployments on Azure.
With its investment in the Microsoft Ventures that focuses on the startup ecosystem, there was a dedicated track for the startup ecosystem. This was attended by more than 150 startups that got a chance to understand what it takes to build applications on Azure.
The key takeaway from this event is that Microsoft India is not leaving any stone unturned to get customers on their cloud platform. With more than two decades of presence for Microsoft in India combined with its strong enterprise footprint and credibility, it will not be a cakewalk for the competition.