The Microsoft Hosting site describes a new multi-tenanted IaaS offering for hosting service providers that the Windows Server team announced at the Worldwide Partners Conference (WPC) 2012, held in Houston, TX on 7/8 through 7/12/2012:
The new elements of Windows Azure Services for Windows Server 2008 R2 or 2012 (WAS4WS) are the Service Management Portal and API (SMPA); Web Sites and Virtual Machines are features of Windows Azure Virtual Machines (WAVM), the IaaS service that the Windows Azure team announced at the MEET Windows Azure event in San Francisco, CA held on 6/7/2012.
Although Hosting Service Providers are the target demographic for WAS4WS, large enterprises should consider the service for on-site, self-service deployment of development and production computing resources to business units in a private or hybrid cloud. SMPA emulates the new Windows Azure Management Portal Preview, which also emerged on 6/7/2012.
When this post was written, WAS4WS required a Service Provider Licensing Agreement:
Note: WAS4WS isn’t related to the elusive Windows Azure Platform Appliance (WAPA), which Microsoft introduced in July, 2010 and later renamed the Windows Azure Appliance (see Windows Azure Platform Appliance (WAPA) Announced at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 of 6/7/2010 for more details.) To date, only Fujitsu has deployed WAPA to a data center (see Windows Azure Platform Appliance (WAPA) Finally Emerges from the Skunk Works of 6/7/2011.) WAS4WS doesn’t implement Windows Azure Storage (high-availability tables and blobs) or other features provided by the former Windows Azure App Fabric, but is likely to be compatible with the recently announced Service Bus for Windows Server (Service Bus 1.0 Beta.)
I dig the idea of having the power of Azure 100% inside our firewall. Due to the business we're in, I doubt we'll ever be able to use a the real Azure. There's just to much perceived risk (right or wrong, that's the feeling... Our data just cannot leave our control in any way [yeah, yeah, I know the arguments, I've made them myself, but reality is reality and some battles just cannot be won or even fought]). But that doesn't mean we don't want to have our cloud cake and eat it too, if we can. Bringing Azure inside, with something like WAS4WS sounds like, could be that cake.