Take that, vCloud: Microsoft opens Windows Azure to web hosts


Gigaom

Updated: It looks like Microsoft is serious about becoming the operating system for cloud computing. At its Worldwide Partner Conference on Tuesday, the company announced what amounts to a white-label version of its Windows Azure cloud platform targeting current Windows Server-based web hosts. This looks like a shot across the bow at VMware (s vmw), which has been pushing its vCloud agenda — which spans both on-premise and cloud-based VMware deployments — for a couple years.

Microsoft has taken flak in the past for not having a legitimate hybrid cloud strategy, but it’s certainly shaping up now. With the new offering called Service Management Portal, currently in Community Technology Preview mode (Microsoft lingo for “pre-beta”), Microsoft partners can offers customers a Window Azure-like infrastructure-as-a-service experience without actually using Microsoft’s cloud. This is accomplished via a standardized management portal, but also via extensible APIs that let developers connect their hosted…

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