whttp://www.schneider-electric.com has announced the selection of Microsoft Windows Azure, a cloud computing and infrastructure platform, as a preferred cloud provider for the company’s StruxureWare™ software applications and suites, beginning with StruxureWare Resource Advisor and StruxureWare Energy Operations. Windows Azure increases Schneider Electric’s ability to offer flexible, agile, and cost-effective solutions that improve the performance of customer processes and operations.

“We selected Microsoft Windows Azure to accelerate the development of our software solutions, reduce costs and increase the reliability and security of our global offers," said Pascal Brosset, chief technology officer, Schneider Electric. "We’re excited to further our relationship with Microsoft to jointly innovate in the domain of energy efficiency solutions and provide better value to our customers."

Windows Azure expands Schneider Electric’s ability to rapidly deploy public, private and -hybrid cloud solutions. StruxureWare software customers can achieve gains in speed of processing, providing instant access to the online, web accessible software. Additionally, virtualization and automation software tools can be scaled, replicated and rolled out globally, with local language support and reduced cost of entry. Schneider Electric customers benefit directly with lower installation and maintenance costs due to the elimination of on-premises IT infrastructure.

The cloud functionality allows customers to leverage installed investments through secure cloud connectivity to existing energy metering and monitoring systems. It also increases mobility for customers by providing access to information within the StruxureWare software applications on the go. Schneider Electric software developers benefit from Windows Azure’s pay-as-you-go structure, allowing resources to be switched on and off, as needed, to further reduce costs. This functionality promotes systems integration by providing a flexible systems architecture based on open standards and protocols, while also enhancing portability.

Windows Azure is already in use in Schneider Electric’s Orbit, a mobile field data collection solution for ArcFM. Orbit uses Windows Azure technology to provide scalability in adding users without affecting load on enterprise systems. It also provides task management data storage to deliver backup, availability and security, while minimizing the burden of establishing and maintaining capital infrastructure.

Schneider Electric’s direct access to Microsoft cloud computing technology resources and programs accelerates customer software development programs, lowers research and development and operational costs and minimizes large capital expenditure. Through this partnership, Schneider Electric is leveraging the cyber-security expertise and industry security compliance provided by Windows Azure to further protect customer data and privacy. Schneider Electric will also team with the Microsoft sales and marketing resources for global support and to leverage their extensive customer relationships.

“Windows Azure’s scalable global infrastructure, flexibility and cost effectiveness offer customers and partners compelling value as they move to the cloud,” said Vibhor Kapoor, director, product marketing, Windows Azure. “By naming Windows Azure the preferred cloud platform for StruxureWare, Schneider Electric is helping its customers save money and gain efficiency.”

The Windows Azure platform is being rolled out globally to support Schneider Electric StruxureWare cloud-based software offerings. This partnership builds upon Schneider Electric and Microsoft’s Global Alliance partnership agreement which develops integrated solutions for data centers and smart infrastructure with the shared support oftechnical, sales and marketing resources. Microsoft and Schneider Electric are also working together on the CityNext initiative that aims to help leaders create smarter cities by combining the power of technology with innovative ideas to connect governments, businesses and citizens with city services that increase efficiencies, reduce costs, foster a more sustainable environment and cultivate communities where people thrive.

StruxureWare is Schneider Electric’s platform of integrated software applications and suites that help companies manage and monitor their sustainability initiatives, optimize their current operations and better manage their sites and processes. For more information on StruxureWare software applications and suites, please visit: www.schneider-electric.com/StruxureWare.