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Azure Stack: Microsoft’s Answer to Hybrid Cloud

The long-awaited Technical Preview of Microsoft Azure Stack will be available for download on Friday, January 29, 2016. Sign up here to be notified when the download is available. 

Azure Stack

What is Azure Stack?

Microsoft Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that allows you to request services and applications defined by your business in an end-user portal, nearly identical to Microsoft Azure. To clear up any confusion, Azure Stack builds upon services and concepts currently available from Microsoft Azure’s public cloud offering, but in the on-premises, hybrid cloud space.

In 2013, Azure Pack (not to be confused with Azure Stack) was Microsoft’s first attempt at bringing Azure services to the private datacenter, which looked nearly identical to the old version of Azure. This initiative was met with mild success, but never took off because shortly after it was launched, Microsoft released a new Azure offering, closely followed by the most recent announcement of Azure Stack. And because we live in a world of instant gratification, this announcement has been anxiously anticipated by users worldwide.

                                

What makes Azure Stack different?

Today, there are only a couple of key players leading the market in the hybrid cloud space and Microsoft wants to get in on the action while the concept is still relatively new. That’s where Azure Stack comes in to play and it is truly a game-changer that stands to completely blow the roof off of Enterprise IT organizations everywhere.

Over the last three to four years, Microsoft has been building a machine leading up to the release of WAS; with the release of both SCVMM and Hyper-V on Windows 2012 R2, Microsoft realized it needed to close the gap in the virtualization space. Now with the release of Windows Server 2016 on the horizon, Microsoft is reinventing the status quo with Windows Server Nano, SDN built into Hyper-V (SCVMM), and a software-defined storage solution on commodity hardware. Azure Stack is the cumulation of all said products available for public consumption in the private data center that will mirror the Azure clients’ experience and automation, facilitating business agility and faster innovation–this is what hybrid cloud platforms are all about.

In short, Microsoft has a true hybrid cloud offering coming to market. When we look at existing public cloud solutions that might already be ahead of Microsoft in terms of timing and launching their products to the market, they are posed with the challenge of bridging the gap between on-premises and public cloud offerings. To combat this challenge, Microsoft Azure is the newest solution to creating a more seamless integration between the two services. At AHEAD, we look to accomplish this seamlessness leveraging the AHEAD Cloud Delivery Platform (CDP) with cloud management platforms from VMware, Cisco, Cliqr, Service Now, and many others.

How will AHEAD work with Azure Stack?

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be testing the waters and rationalizing Microsoft’s toolset to see just how ready this new technology is and how it can best be integrated into our current suite of offerings. AHEAD’s team of experts already has extensive experience with Azure Pack and they’ve been preparing in anticipation of this release to ensure that they possess the skills needed for Azure Stack. In addition, Azure Stack fits nicely into the AHEAD Cloud Delivery Platform–our comprehensive platform that accelerates the delivery of applications and services to the business. 

All in all, it is important to remember that when assessing different tools, every business and every cloud is unique, but building a meaningful cloud that is relevant and can integrate with your technologies should always be kept top of mind. 

If your IT organization is in need of a strategy and roadmap to get you on a path toward a true hybrid cloud solution, or you want to know more about how to adopt any of the Microsoft products I’ve discussed in this post, please feel free to reach out to me or Nick Colyer, Senior Technical Architect. Additionally, you can click the image below to meet with us in the AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center where we can help you evaluate your current IT strategy, including how a hybrid cloud solution might be right for your business. 

AHEAD Lab and Briefing Center