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Join EMC and Insight on Friday September 18th at the Microsoft Technology Center in Irvine to discuss your Exchange and SharePoint environments. 

This is a great opportunity for Exchange and SharePoint owners, IT Directors and Application Directors to learn from data center and Microsoft experts about how to optimize your Exchange and SharePoint environments to best support your organization. Choose 3 of the 5 following topics to learn about!

  • The Next Frontier in Messaging: Exchange on XtremIO
  • Highly Scalable Strategies with ScaleIO for Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint
  • Optimize Exchange and SharePoint through Converged Infrastructure
  • Deliver Exchange and SharePoint as a service with a Hybrid Cloud
  • Data Protection for Exchange and SharePoint

  Space is limited! Register today!

The allure of moving your messaging and collaboration (M&C) workloads to the cloud is undeniable. In the past, one would have had to rely on Microsoft or Google to meet an organization’s M&C needs.  Now, EMC powered Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) provide a nice alternative when you are considering moving your M&C workloads to the cloud.


Working with the EMC CSPs, you can take advantage of highly skilled cloud experts that specialize in the management of these applications freeing up your valuable IT resources to focus on other strategic efforts.  These cloud providers typically have made significant investments in their infrastructure to provide applications as services often with greater efficiency, speed and reliability than most organizations can muster. The benefits to a consumer of their services include:


1) Increased agility deploying new ways to communicate and share information on demand only when you need it.  This capability can create a strategic advantage when organizations can communicate in new ways faster than their contemporaries.


2) Improving end user productivity through increased reliability and availability.  The reality is that organizations cannot go with without the ability to communicate for any length of time.  Is it possible to place a value on the ability to communicate?


3) Finally, protecting the valuable information stored within messaging and collaboration system is not an option, it is a necessity.

EMC powered Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) offer very compelling messaging and collaboration services such as Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Skype for Business all while still receiving the benefits of EMC’s data management technology.


I know what you are thinking, “Really, the EMC CSPs can provide a better more cost effective service than Microsoft and Google?”   The short answer is absolutely, especially when customers are looking for a customized, managed cloud implementation that gives them a similar quality of service they received from their previous in sourced systems while retaining full control of their data.  When you are buying cloud services from Microsoft and Google you only get what they offer.  Any variation from the standard offerings is usually relatively costly or it is just not an option—with Microsoft you must have at least 30,000 seats to get a dedicated/customized service and Google does not offer any deviation from its standard service.  So, you really need to ask yourself whether you are OK with either provider’s standard services.


Will your CEO tolerate waiting with thousands of other customers to get his or her email back up? The standard reliability and uptime O365 guarantees is 99.9% which means you may be without email for more than 24 hours a year!


Are you okay with giving up full control of your data? You better trust that service provider, because your data is now in their hands!

EMC and our ecosystem of CSPs can help you avoid those challenges by providing a solution to meet your specific messaging and collaboration needs through a customized managed cloud. To learn more about the leading EMC CSPs please visit the EMC Cloud Service Provider Site .

Typically, one would not think an all flash array (AFA) such as XtremIO would be the best platform for managing Exchange data.  However, once you get past the initial acquisition cost and start to look at the efficiencies one can gain using XtremIO, it becomes quite a compelling data management platform for Exchange.  During a recent evaluation of Exchange on XtremIO, EMC found incredible efficiencies reducing the total disk required to manage an Exchange environment. The efficiencies generated significant opportunities to reduce costs over a five year period.  So much so that when compared to alternative solutions such as a VNX solution or Microsoft’s preferred direct attached storage solution, the XtremIO solution total cost of ownership (TCO) was fairly similar.


How is this possible, especially when considering that AFAs typically have relatively high acquisition costs when compared to traditional hybrid storage arrays or Microsoft’s preferred architecture?


Acquisition cost is only part of the TCO equation.  XtremIO has the capability to greatly reduce the total storage required, data center footprint and management complexity required to manage an Exchange system. Those capabilities are as follows:


  • Globally de-duplicating every redundant 8 KB block that enters the array for storage
  • Reducing repeating sequences of data (compression)
  • Eliminating fully-formatted volumes
  • Eliminating volume boundaries

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As a result, we reduced storage usage by as much 60%.  This reduction in storage reduces the total amount of disk required, the amount of power consumed, the cooling needs, the overall data center space required, and the administrative support required to support the Exchange system.  When you consider all of these savings, the reduction in TCO can be very meaningful making XtremIO a very compelling data management option for Exchange systems.  For more information, please read EMC XtremIO and Microsoft Exchange Databases .

Big data and analysis of it have become ubiquitous concepts.  But, analyzing the massive amount of data we generate on a daily basis can be challenging. Data is growing at a mind blowing rate doubling every 18 to 24 months.  Not only is it challenging to deal with the explosion of data, but it is equally challenging to define the value associated with analyzing all of this data.  It is even harder to determine the benefit of extracting the hidden value contained within specific information sharing platforms such as messaging and collaboration systems.  This blog will describe the value one can derive from analyzing these systems and how the EMC Federation Business Data Lake (FBDL) can help you access this treasure trove of information.


The amount of digital information contained within messaging and collaboration systems is staggering.  IDC estimates that over 90% of the world’s digital information is in the form of unstructured content such as emails, video, instant messages, documents, and other formats.  This information is locked within messaging and collaboration systems that are often made up of disparate repositories making it difficult to access the data to take advantage of the value within.  Let’s put this into even clearer perspective.  The same IDC study indicates that 61% of an organizations knowledge workers access 4 or more systems (knowledge workers include engineers, skilled task workers, researchers, sales people, analysts, managers, IT staff, executives, and other professionals).  Almost half of the time, those knowledge workers cannot find the information they sought out.  However, according to IDC some organizations are more adept at unlocking the value from the vast amounts of messaging and collaboration data they possess.  IDC defines this capability as the Knowledge Quotient (KQ).  Organizations with a high KQ are five times more likely to reap the value hidden within messaging and collaboration systems.  Conversely, organizations with low KQs can waste as much as $5.7M annually unsuccessfully looking for the information they need to operate their organizations.

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The EMC Federation Business Data Lake (FBDL) provides the platform organizations need to consolidate all of their data into one repository so it can be analyzed for strategic advantages.


  • EMC provides dynamic block and HDFS to enable simple deployment and configuration of storage
  • VMware provides the virtual infrastructure and management platform to streamline the management and provisioning of the EMC and Pivotal technologies allowing organizations to quickly implement a data analytics solution.
  • Pivotal provides the core data analytics platform to ingest,process, and analyze the data


In addition to these components, EMC is creating solution accelerators, fully validated reference architectures and implementation guides to help customers implement the solution. The solution accelerators include:


  • Data Manager – Ensures data ingested is placed in the right repository all the while enabling more efficient searching capability.
  • Data Governor – Applies policies for data usage, security parameters, and access control for the data.
  • Data and Analytics Catalog – Provides a single-pane access to the data lake for users or applications accessing the data.


With the FBDL you can increase your organization’s Knowledge Quotient.  You will gain access to new information and make strategic decisions faster than ever. In an increasingly more competitive environment one cannot afford to miss out on any opportunity.  The FBDL will give you access to new insights allowing you to operate more efficiently than ever before.

I am excited to announce that EMC’s Messaging and Collaboration Solutions will be prominently represented at EMC World May 4 – 7.  Come join us and learn why EMC is the #1 provider of data management solutions for messaging and collaboration workloads.


During the conference, we will be highlighting the following solutions:

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At EMC World, we will showcase how to manage your messaging and collaboration (M&C) applications more cost effectively, with greater efficiency all while ensuring your data is available when you need it.


  • Our solution story begins with a fully converged infrastructure where compute, data storage, networking and virtualization are consolidated in one system allowing M&C applications to be operated more efficiently and cost effectively than ever before.  Converged infrastructure is just the start, as it provides the base platform to offer your M&C applications as services.
  • At EMC World, we will highlight how our converged infrastructure platforms combined with EMC’s Federation Hybrid Cloud will increase your organization’s agility allowing you to share information in innovative ways and as rapidly as possible.  EMC’s cloud solutions provide automated provisioning, monitoring and operations as well as increased visibility into system usage.  Utilizing those capabilities, organizations can standardize and automate operations of M&C systems providing new ways to communicate exactly when needed.
  • Finally, the ability to communicate and share information is not an option, it is expected.   One cannot afford to be without the M&C systems that support this need for any length of time.  At EMC World, we will demonstrate how our data protection and availability solutions minimize M&C downtime and data loss so that your data will be available ensuring you can communicate seamlessly.


The conference details are as follows:

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Please come visit us at EMC World May 4 – 7, 2015.  You can find us at booth 950 in the Solutions Expo.  We would love to discuss how EMC’s data management solutions for messaging and collaboration can help your organization communicate as efficiently as possible.

If you are not already utilizing converged infrastructure to manage your messaging and collaboration systems, you should be as soon as possible.  Converged infrastructure provides an easy way to optimize the way you manage your messaging and collaboration environments.  By combining your compute, network and data management infrastructure into one consolidated system, you greatly reduce the complexity and cost of managing your IT systems while improving your overall efficiency.  Messaging and collaboration platforms such as Exchange and SharePoint are no exception.  EMC provides several converged infrastructure solutions for Exchange and SharePoint based on EMC validation, VSPEX architectures and Vblock.



EMC’s proven solutions, VSPEX and Vblock solutions can optimize data management of your Exchange and SharePoint environments in many ways. First, the need to communicate and share information continues to grow and at a rapid pace.  EMC provides a flexible infrastructure that can be easily configured on demand to keep pace with the rate of change in how organizations communicate and share information. Next, the consolidation of all the resources required to support messaging and collaboration significantly increases your system utilization allowing you to support your organization with a smaller IT footprint at the same or less cost than before. Finally, the efficiencies gained from the integrated and pre-tested nature of EMC’s converged infrastructure allows your staff to avoid standard maintenance and implementation tasks so they can focus on new messaging and collaboration strategies.


A recent study conducted by IDC of EMC’s Vblock customers showed real, tangible benefits of converged infrastructure.  The benefits included faster deployment of IT assets and increased efficiency of IT operations both of which resulted in higher returns on investment.  The study states, “We are now at the next point in the never-ending journey to consistently deliver IT assets faster (hours rather than days or weeks) and more cost effectively in terms of both capital expenditures and IT operations, all in support of a wide array of applications and diverse business initiatives.” (Convergence with Vblock Systems: A Value Measurement) With EMC’s pre-designed, pre-tested and pre-integrated converged infrastructure solutions for your messaging and collaboration platforms, the systems will be implemented faster and more efficiently freeing your IT resources to focus on innovative ways your organization can communicate and share information.



The path to dramatically improved productivity managing your messaging and collaboration systems is through EMC’s portfolio of converged infrastructure solutions. With EMC’s proven solutions, we validate our data management platforms and provide you prescriptive guidance on when and how to implement the technology so you can create your own converged infrastructure. If you are uncomfortable creating your own converged infrastructure, the next step toward an optimal converged infrastructure is with VSPEX.   EMC’s VSPEX provides a reference-architecture and a system that is built by a partner of your choice– combining virtualization, servers, networking, storage and backup. You choose the servers, networking  and hypervisor brands you want to go along with EMC’s industry-leading unified storage and backup technology. The final step you can take on your journey toward an optimal converged infrastructure is with Vblock converged infrastructure systems providing an integrated bundle of systems based on: 1) Cisco servers and networking; 2) VMware hypervisor; and 3) EMC data management and storage.  These options not only provide the fastest and least-risk path to deployment, but significantly streamline ongoing operations enabling maximum flexibility to meet the needs of your organization in the future.

Most IT organizations are consistently being asked to provide new and different ways to share information with greatly reduced budget to do so.  EMC provides simple and cost effective converged infrastructure to meet your messaging and collaboration needs.  Whether you choose an EMC proven solution, a Vblock or a VSPEX architecture, you can rest assured that the solution will perform predictably and interoperate seamlessly, because it has been tested and proven by EMC.

Data growth is absolutely exploding!  In 2012 the world generated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day (2,500,000,000,000,000,000)!  That is a whole lot of zeros.  Messaging and collaboration applications by themselves account for massive amounts of data every minute…over 100 million emails are generated, 277,000 tweets are created, 350 GB of Facebook data is posted, and 570 new websites are created! We have become a global community of data hoarders.  This is not a bad situation at all.  On the contrary, if you have the right strategy and technology in place, one can reap great rewards from mining all of this data.   With the EMC Federation Business Data Lake, a comprehensive data management solution combining technologies from EMC, Pivotal and Vmware, you have a platform that can consolidate all of your mission critical messaging and collaboration data to begin taking advantage of the vast treasure trove of information available in all of these systems.


I suppose one might ask, “Why do I need to analyze my messaging and collaboration data?”


What you should really be asking is, “Can I afford not to analyze this data?”


After all, the vast majority of organizations are loaded with knowledge workers such as engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists and other technical experts in their fields. These knowledge workers are often sharing their expertise with others, yet it is usually only shared with a few as needed. This knowledge is rarely available without having direct interaction with the expert. Gaining access to this information can be critical to an organization.  Take for example the growing challenge of replacing the expertise from knowledge workers when they retire or leave an organization.  When that person walks out the door so does their expertise.  Deloitte Consulting LLP released a recent study indicating that the oil and gas industry would lose over 5,000 geo scientists and petroleum engineers to retirement by the end of 2014 ( Oil & Gas Journal—Deloitte Study ). Replacing that expertise will be challenging without capturing their knowledge and making it available to the new work force.   The EMC Federation has the capability to make this information available to everyone.


The knowledge worker uses tools such as email, blogs, twitter, collaboration portals (like SharePoint), and file server to share their expertise with people.  However, extracting useful information from these systems can be daunting.  It would be great if we could store all of this data in a massive and easily accessible repository, a data lake, and build tools to analyze and extract the key knowledge worker expertise hidden within it. The EMC Federation Business Data Lake solution provides a comprehensive data analytics platform with the following components from the companies in The Federation:


  • EMC provides dynamic compute, block and HDFS to enable simple deployment and configuration of analytics applications
  • VMware provides the virtual infrastructure and management platform to streamline the management and provisioning of the EMC and Pivotal technologies allowing organizations to quickly implement a data analytics solution.
  • Pivotal provides the core data analytics platform to ingest, process, and analyze the data


Federation Business Data Lake launch event

At last all of an organization’s messaging and collaboration data can be consolidated in one repository enabling easy analysis.  Your knowledge workers’ expertise is accessible quickly and for all time. If you need to know where to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, what sales tactic worked to close a deal for your new product, how to solve a technical problem within IT, or any other subject matter expertise EMC can help you answer these questions.

Messaging and collaboration systems such as Exchange and SharePoint generate massive amounts of data. Email alone generates over 100 million messages a minute.  However, organizations largely ignore this data.  I would suggest that organizations can no longer ignore the information stored within these systems.  These are the systems your organization’s experts utilize to communicate about their craft.

If your messaging and collaboration platforms are the tools your experts use to communicate how best to run your organization, should you continue to ignore this valuable repository of expertise?


This may seem counter intuitive since your experts are in fact using the systems to communicate about their expertise.  However, the information is usually only shared with a select few and they may not be the individuals best suited to take full advantage of this expertise. The key here is making this information available to anyone who needs it whenever they need it so that your organization can address its business imperatives with greater agility.  The information locked within these systems may help you reach organizational goals by expediting your ability to execute on data that leadership may not even have been aware was available.


To successfully compete one must analyze the information in these systems and act on it faster than the competition.  John Boyd, a former United States Air Force Colonel, postulated that one must observe, orient, decide and act (OODA) faster than the competition to defeat them.  In his example he utilized the concept with fighter pilots, however he has since applied the same principles to business strategy.



One must first mine the data in these powerful messaging and collaboration systems in to effectively begin your own organization’s application of OODA concepts .  EMC data management solutions can bring OODA to life analyzing this valuable data helping organizations make decisions quicker.


Ask yourself whether your competitors are taking advantage of their messaging and collaboration data allowing them to apply the concepts of OODA so that they can make decisions faster and compete more effectively against you.   You cannot afford to find out.  The good news is that EMC is building solutions to help you deal with this challenge and outmaneuver your competitors.

This all starts by consolidating your data into one data lake, a massive and easily accessible repository of information, and then building a business intelligence system to analyze this data to provide a suggested course of action.  In my next blog, I will discuss EMC’s solutions to analyze the vast amount of information hidden within your organization’s messaging and collaboration systems.  You will learn how to gain a strategic advantage by observing, orienting, deciding and acting faster than your competition.

Public and private clouds provide great, but different benefits.  The skies are still quite dark and well downright cloudy when trying to choose between the two.  Now you no longer need to choose between either one.  With a hybrid cloud, you can combine the two ensuring you use the best environment for your messaging and collaboration data management needs.  EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud creates a seamless data fabric allowing you to combine your private cloud with multiple public cloud solutions creating one integrated cloud for messaging and collaboration data management.


Let’s face it, there really is no standard cloud implementation.  Most organizations have some form of a private cloud along with multiple instances of public cloud providers.  The challenge with this reality, is that it is nearly impossible to efficiently manage all of these cloud instances.  Well, EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud for Microsoft Applications fixes this.


The EMC Enterprise Hybrid Cloud gives you a full private cloud environment that connects you to your public clouds allowing you to manage all of the environments as one integrated system. It is a converged infrastructure of virtualized server and storage infrastructure for Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server. The combined virtual servers and storage are managed by the VMware vCloud or Microsoft Azure Pack platforms integrated with EMC ViPR.  The applications and the storage they require are provisioned automatically based on pre-defined business rules to meet the demand of the organization.  When not needed the resources are de-provisioned or made available for some other organizational need.  The monitoring and reporting of system performance is integrated and centrally managed.  Lastly, all of your cloud systems are managed as one integrated system.


With this hybrid cloud, you can take advantage of Office 365, Azure or other service providers’ near limitless performance capacity for certain instances of Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server, all while keeping other instances of these systems completely within your control.  The control of your systems is critical as it allows you to provide the right level of service and maintain control of your data to meet all of your data compliance requirements. The integration of your private and public clouds allows you to easily move data between all environments.  Lastly, the agility of your IT organization will leap forward as you can quickly make any Exchange, SharePoint or SQL Server system available in the most appropriate environment to ensure you are not needlessly expending critical IT resources.


With EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, the skies will finally clear and you will be able to reap the full rewards promised by Microsoft applications in the cloud.  You will be able to provide the most appropriate IT resources when your organization needs them.  The clouds are no longer dark as you gain complete visibility into the usage of all your IT resources and can maximize their efficiency.  Lastly, you gain full control of your data ensuring it is available exactly when you need it while meeting all of your compliance requirements.  Clear skies are ahead when implementing any cloud environment with EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.


In case you missed them, here are the links to Part 1 of the Series and Part 2 of the Series

Creating a private cloud to manage your Microsoft application workloads can be quite compelling. Yes, it may even be more compelling than a comparable public cloud solution provided by Microsoft Office 365 or Azure.  Organizations are using Exchange, SharePoint, and SQL Server to help them generate revenue and/or reduce costs faster.  At the same time, IT is being asked to provide those systems faster, more efficiently, and at lower costs.  Moving to either cloud option can help IT achieve those goals.  The choice between public versus private cloud usually comes down to IT’s capabilities to deliver and whether public cloud providers can offer the service cheaper.  If an organization has the IT prowess to do it, creating one’s own private cloud can be equally beneficial for an organization. In fact, by implementing one’s own private cloud, a recent Wikibon study indicates that a 10,000 person $2.5B organization with a $40M IT budget can save $27M over 5 years. Pretty impressive, let’s discuss the benefits in more detail and clear the skies a bit. (If you missed part 1, click here.)

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First, let’s start by defining a private cloud.  A private cloud is similar to a public cloud in that it virtualizes the computing environment and automates the provisioning of the computing resources based on organizational demand.  The major difference is that it is a single tenant environment owned, deployed and managed by an organization’s own IT department not the public cloud provider. Implementing a private cloud can allow IT to meet the organization’s system requirement when needed…not before and not after.  More importantly, IT will be able to align the system costs to the actual usage of the system.


When an organization implements its own private cloud, it can reap all of the cloud benefits while still maintaining control of Microsoft application workload data and providing high quality of service in supporting the business’ data demand.  This data control and high quality of service is extremely powerful.  When an organization’s Microsoft data is in the hands of a public cloud provider it creates several potential issues:  1) The security of the data is no longer within their control; 2) Having someone else manage the data may actually violate local governmental regulations; 3) Finally, relinquishing control of the data may eliminate any proprietary benefits derived from the data by granting the cloud provider access to it (the provider will know all of the organization’s secrets!)  Quality of service is often overlooked when considering cloud options, let’s face it…a public cloud provider has standard service levels (SLAs) that all of its customers receive and those SLAs may not meet the needs of the organization.  How long are you willing to wait while your SQL Server data is unavailable to support your organization’s order processing system?  The longer you wait, the longer your customers wait…you may lose millions as your public provider’s cloud gets darker and darker.


Just remember what is most important to you for your Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server application workloads.  If it is critical to maintain control of your data and provide the right quality of service to meet your organization's requirements, then implementing your own private cloud will best meet your needs.  In part three of this blog series, we will clear the skies at last as I discuss how you can utilize the best features of both public and private clouds by creating one seamless cloud fabric for Microsoft application workloads!

Cloud computing options for managing your Microsoft application workloads are becoming ubiquitous. IDC estimates that total public cloud investment is roughly $46 billion USD per year.  Furthermore, Technology Business Research (TBR) estimates that Microsoft alone is already providing nearly $5 billion USD per year in cloud related services. Even with the prevalence of cloud computing options today, choosing the right one (public, private, or hybrid) and ensuring it meets your data management needs is so cloudy, it has most in a fog!


This three part blog series should help clear the skies by defining each option and describing their benefits.  Part 1 focuses on public cloud. A public cloud is a multi-tenant IT environment provided by a third party. The management and provisioning of system resources within the public cloud are virtualized and automated to dynamically meet the needs of your organization and enable self-service capability.


Public cloud is best used when an organization is seeking the following benefits:


  1. Greater predictability in costs associated with implementing and managing a system. Public cloud providers typically charge a monthly subscription fee for the service based on usage. This model eliminates massive capital expenditures when purchasing a new system. Instead, one only pays for the system when it is used. Transitioning these costs to operating expenses is preferred by most financial managers as it provides greater predictability for expenses and their impact on net income.
  2. Focusing IT resources on more strategic work core to the organization. Outsourcing the less strategic work to a public cloud provider shifts resource focus to activities more aligned with the organization’s goals and core competencies.
  3. Improved performance, management, or security.  Often a public cloud provider can help an organization improve all three leading to the delivery of more IT services faster which can dramatically help an organization achieve its overall goals.

When contemplating a public cloud option, consider the following:


  1. Are you comfortable relinquishing control of your data?  Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server have become mission critical applications generating data vital to an organization.  Allowing a third party to manage the data may expose it to new security risks, violate governmental regulations, or eliminate any proprietary advantage derived from the data by granting the cloud provider access to it.
  2. Thoroughly examine the new operational costs of the public cloud.  While you may not expend significant capital to start the service, the subscription fees over time may actually exceed the initial capital outlay and your own operational costs to deploy it and manage it on your own.
  3. Finally, the quality of service you receive with public cloud offerings for Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server may be different than what you are accustomed to receiving when you manage those systems yourself.  Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Azure and other service provider offerings provide standard service level agreements that offer little flexibility to customize them to meet your organization’s needs.  Ask yourself how long you are willing to wait in a queue with the provider’s other customers when you are trying to retrieve critical data.


There certainly are benefits to moving your Microsoft applications to a public cloud.  However, the public cloud may not be the panacea for all of your challenges.  The key is to choose the right cloud option to meet your needs. Don’t worry, it may seem cloudy now but the long term forecast is a bit clearer as you learn all about your cloud options for Microsoft application workloads by reading this 3 part blog.


Part 2 of this blog series is Now Available

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