Microsoft (MSFT +0.7%) kicks off its TechEd conference by showing off updates to Windows Server 2012 and its Systems Center 2012 management software, as well as the next version of its SQL Server database. The first two products will launch this year; the third might not arrive until 2014. As with its Azure cloud platform, Microsoft is touting the ability of its new offerings to support hybrid cloud deployments. SQL Server is also adding support for in-memory databases (previous) to take on SAP's Hana. Meanwhile, Azure has been updated to support per-minute billing (Amazon charges by the hour), and Microsoft boasts in a memo it's adding 1K+ Azure customers per day.
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