In January Microsoft and HP announced a $US250 million partnership intended to lead to the delivery of 'data management machines; converged, pre-packaged application solutions; comprehensive virtualisation offerings; and integrated management tools.' The goal of the 'joint engineering effort is to manage the full infrastructure from the processor to the hypervisor to what's inside the virtual machine,' said Wright.
Microsoft has also been working with Dell on similar issues according to Wright.
In December the company acquired Canadian company Opalis Software which is expected to allow much of the server management currently handled by Microsoft's System Centre to be automated. So for example, at present System Centre will send an alert to an IT manager once virtual machines start to reach a certain use threshold, so that more virtual machines can be provisioned.
According to Wright by integrating Opalis technology it should be possible to automate that provisioning, so that once specific use-thresholds are reached a new virtual machine is automatically brought online. The company has already racked up some local users of its technology, according to Wright who claimed that retail giant Woolworths was an Opalis user and had 'saved millions through IT process automation.'
The acquisition of Opalis, and relationships with HP and Dell represent Microsoft's continued attempt to control more of the data centre real estate.