Cloud // Software as a Service
News
4/13/2012
09:51 AM
50%
50%

Microsoft Wins Its Largest Cloud Rollout Yet

Microsoft beats out Google and IBM to provide online apps, services to 7.5 million students and professors in India's national technical education council.

X Windows Annoyances That Windows 8 Will (Hopefully) Solve
X Windows Annoyances That Windows 8 Will (Hopefully) Solve
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft has secured its largest cloud engagement to date, a deal to provide online software and services to 7.5 million students and professors across technical colleges maintained by the All India Council For Technical Education (AICTE).

Microsoft will deliver to AICTE its Live.edu suite of online tools, which include Outlook Live, Office Live, and 25 GB per user of SkyDrive cloud storage. "In many cases these students didn't have services like this before," said Anthony Salcito, Microsoft's VP for worldwide education, in an interview. "Many of the schools are very remote and it's hard to physically deploy software to those campuses and schools; that's one of the benefits of the cloud."

The services will be provided free of charge to AICTE under Microsoft's educational software program. But the fact that the engagement will not generate revenue didn't stop other vendors from seeking the deal. Google and IBM also pitched their cloud services to AICTE, Salcito said. Western tech companies are climbing over each other to establish footprints in developing markets like India, even if it means providing services below cost or at no cost.

"We see the value of students using our core platform and tools," said Salcito. "They have influence as future users of software and leaders of growing economies like India."

[ Is Amazon Microsoft's next target in the cloud wars? See Microsoft Azure in 2012: Watch Out Amazon? ]

AICTE officials said access to Live.edu services will make it easier for students and professors at India's technical schools to access key resources and collaborate with each other. "Microsoft's cloud platform will make for a truly progressive ecosystem and contribute to the country's technical education by providing a better communication and collaboration platform for institutes and students," said AICTE chairman S.S. Mantha, in a statement.

To support an engagement this large, Microsoft will provide AICTE with a management console that lets IT admins at the organization deploy the software to students and professors through Active Directory, establish policies like single sign-on, and integrate the software with other cloud services. "They would manage the environment just like they would if they were deploying the Exchange environment locally," said Salcito.

At its end, Microsoft will host the services from data centers located around the world. Salcito said the company isn't daunted by a cloud engagement of this scale. "We're used to running huge data centers that support many millions of users on services like Xbox Live. And we're already supporting 22 million users on Live.edu."

AICTE said it also plans to deploy Office 365 for education when it becomes available later this year.

Take part in an Interop Webcast, Prepare Your Infrastructure For The Cloud Using Open Standards, which will look at the new drivers influencing cloud infrastructure. It happens April 18.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
8 Steps to Modern Service Management
ITSM as we know it is dead. SaaS helped kill it, and CIOs should be thankful. Hereís what comes next.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.