It took three years from when it was first announced, but Microsoft may have found a way to deliver a private cloud in a box.
The company's vision and strategy for doing this has gone through many twists and turns.
Microsoft's original plan was to provide its largest partners and even a few, select enterprise users a so-called Azure Appliance. Announced in 2010, the Azure Appliances were to be carried by Dell, Fujitsu and HP. These OEMs were to provide the servers which could be installed in partner and select enterprise customers' datacenters. Microsoft was supposed to provide and maintain Windows Azure as a service to these servers.