Microsoft (MSFT) is launching its Cloud OS Network today to provide its customers with a community of cloud services providers (CSPs) that offer "Windows Azure-like services."

"With the Cloud OS Network, customers now have even more choice in deploying hybrid solutions on the Microsoft Cloud Platform—either in their data center, in Windows Azure or, now, through a network of service providers," according to Microsoft in the release announcing the Cloud OS Network. "Customers also benefit from uniquely tailored, fully managed services within their local market, as well as a high degree of technical consistency across environments, which prevents vendor lock-in and enables flexibility. As a result, customers can focus on increasing efficiencies, improving employee productivity and lowering operational costs."

Participating CSPs, Microsoft said, "can quickly and cost-effectively develop new services, attract new customers and increase revenues."

The Cloud OS Network covers more than 90 active markets worldwide, serves more than 3 million customers every day and operates more than 2.4 million servers in more than 425 data centers, Microsoft noted.

Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Marketing Corporate Vice President Takeshi Numoto said in a statement that the network "will help our customers create data centers without boundaries for apps, data and device management."

"That translates into greater diversity of solutions, more flexibility and lower operational costs for customers, allowing them to focus on their core business rather than managing data centers," he said.

The list of CSPs includes familiar names including Capgemini, CGI, CSC, Dimension Data, Fujitsu, Lenovo, SingTel, Tieto, Triple C Cloud Computing, T-Systems and Wortmann AG.