he US-based firm, which has over 15,000 Azure customers in India, seeks to establish a market for hybrid cloud in the country and feels its solutions will help customers build IT infrastructure delivering continuous services and applications across clouds.

"Microsoft believes as enterprises move to cloud they are going to bet on vendors that have best-in-class software as a service (SaaS), operate a global public cloud that supports a broad ecosystem of third party services," Microsoft Director (Server and Cloud Business) Srikanth Karnakota said.

Microsoft is the only player in the industry that offers the real value of cloud and has strong offerings in all three: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and SaaS, he added.
Windows Azure, its cloud platform, enables firms to build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres and is adding over 2,000 new Indian customers every month.

Over 50 percent of Fortune 500 firms globally are using Windows Azure for offerings like IaaS, big data, mobile and web applications, storage identity and access management, data integration and management services, Karnakota said.

He added that Microsoft is offering its state-of-the-art solutions to clients at discounted prices.

"Microsoft has offered the enterprise agreement (EA) customers access to discounted Windows Azure prices, regardless of upfront commitment, without overuse penalties and with the flexibility of annual payments," he added.

Cloud services can raise cost efficiency and shorten time-to-market, without compromising on availability and provide enterprise-grade security or IT support responsiveness.

Analysts feel cloud services will be a major driver of growth in IT spending in India. According to global research firm Gartner, from 2013 to 2017, USD 4.2 billion will be spent on cloud services in India, of which USD 1.8 billion will be spent on SaaS.
The Indian market has shown particularly strong growth for the past few years and is predicted to continue to be one of the fastest growing countries in Gartner’s cloud forecast. IT spending on public cloud services in India is expected to reach USD 1.4 billion in 2017, the research firm had said.

Another research firm IDC predicts that cloud computing will generate over 2 million jobs in India by 2015.