Microsoft Cloud on the Local Network!!?!

Author: Chris Nicholas

This has been a long time coming! When I first learned that Azure Resource Manager [ARM] would be available in an on-premise flavor called Azure Stack, I was perplexed and excited. We’ve been through two technical previews, a lot of waiting and anticipating but the time has come. Azure Stack is here!

So what is it? If you are a client of Akins IT, my bet is we have discussed Azure infrastructure services at some point. We’ve probably proclaimed that connecting your data center to Azure opens doors to limitless scale and fantastic Disaster Recovery [DR] options. Until now, setting up a hybrid data center meant building our own infrastructure, connecting to public cloud and then utilizing orchestration technologies to replicate, convert and migrate data back and forth.

Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, running on pre-configured, local hardware. We get the same management platform running on low-latency, high performance infrastructure. We get to spin up Virtual Machines [VM’s], setup flows, use automation and use Azure networking techniques all on-premise with a completely consistent interface. Having said consistency enables us to decide where to house server workloads and data, as it best suits each network.

This is key! This is hybrid computing evolved.

In its initial release, Azure Stack includes a core set of Azure services and Azure Marketplace content.  At this time, we have Azure Stack offerings from Lenovo, HPE and Dell EMC. Cisco and Huawei will follow in due course. The pre-configured systems are certified and offer consistent, end-to-end support.

Let’s talk about some use case benefits before I lose your interest!

  • Deploy resources across public and private clouds from the same templates and PowerShell cmdlets.
  • Reduce reliance on traditional 3-tiered architecture and non-certified infrastructure.
  • Use the same resource management model in public and private environments.
  • It is the ONLY hybrid cloud platform that is truly consistent with a leading public cloud.
  • Supports OPEX with its pay-as-you-go offering.
  • Instant security compliance for international and industry specific compliance standards.
  • Out the box auditing trail for the complete stack conforming to HIPAA, PCI and many more.
  • Save on server licensing costs by using Microsoft Azure cloud on-boarding benefits.
  • Use Azure Active Directory [AD] as the shared identity provider for Azure Stack and Azure – another consistency benefit!
  • It IS a hyper-converged solution using software defined networking and storage along with compute.
  • Curated, orchestrated updates across the full stack (BIOS, firmware, drives, operating system, infrastructure management software, Azure services)

In summary, as an extension of Azure, Microsoft promises that Azure Stack will deliver continuous innovation with frequent updates following the initial GA release. Updates to ARM will propagate down to Azure Stack to guarantee a consistent platform and new features will bring a multitude of new use cases.

Check out the whitepaper for more information about what capabilities are available in the initial release and what is planned for future versions.

Tell me this excites you!