Azure Stack HCI: Where do HPE Solutions fit in?

In March 2019, Microsoft announced the renaming of their WSSD (Windows Server Software-Defined) solution validation program for Storage Spaces Direct. The new name is Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. With this name change, we’ve heard a bit of confusion and have gotten many questions around Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack and where HPE Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI fit in.

Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI is an on-premises hyper-converged infrastructure solution that is based on Storage Spaces Direct and Hyper-V as roles in Windows Server 2019. It is a great solution for organizations who want to:

- Refresh aging servers and storage infrastructure
- Consolidated virtualized workloads
- Gain cloud efficiencies on premises

These Azure-inspired, hyper-converged solutions bring together software defined compute, storage, and networking on industry-standard servers and components.

Azure Stack HCI also benefits organizations looking to extend to Azure quickly and easily with simplified access to cloud management and security servers. Examples may include off-site backup, site recovery, file synchronization, update management, and monitoring.

Last, but not least, Azure Stack HCI enables customers to deploy a fully validated Azure Stack HCI solution, which has been carefully sized and tested by a Microsoft partner of choice (of course, we're hoping your partner of choice is always HPE).

Azure Stack HCI vs. Azure Stack

Simply put, Microsoft Azure Stack HCI is an infrastructure solution for customers who want to run Windows virtual machines on premise and at the edge with existing IT skills and tools, and easily extend to Azure for hybrid capabilities such as backup, site recovery, storage, and more…

Microsoft Azure Stack, on the other hand, is a cloud solution for customers who want to take advantage of Azure Cloud services, but run those Azure environments on-prem.  Azure Stack is a completely integrated solution that’s based on HPE ProLiant servers.

Azure Stack HCI HPE

So…. Where do HPE Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI fit in?

To give organizations a choice of ready-to-go validated solution configurations, HPE offers HPE Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI that span from small entry level, ROBO, or edge, 2 node deployments, up to 16 node clusters for intense workloads. These solutions are based on specific HPE ProLiant, Synergy, and Apollo servers and components that are tested, optimized, and validated with Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Storage Spaces Direct to deliver reliable solid performance, and high availability for HCI. HPE also offers detailed, step-by-step, setup guidance in a Storage Spaces Direct whitepaper for easier deployment and correct configuration to help keep your project on track.

As I mentioned before, Azure Stack HCI is enabled by technologies included in Windows Server 2019 Datacenter. Did you know that HPE OEM Windows Server 2019 licenses are the most cost effective licensing type for most small and mid-sized companies? And, the icing on the cake… HPE OEM Windows Server 2019 licenses come with 90 days of free installation support from HPE!


HPE offers Windows Server licenses in a few ways:

- With a new server purchase direct from factory (pre-installed or not pre-installed)
- As Reseller Option Kit (ROK) which are available for resellers to purchase and then provide to their customers with new HPE ProLiant servers.


HPE offers many HPE Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI (and more are being added frequently). To see the portfolio of HPE Azure Stack HCI validated Solution configurations currently available and documentation resources visit


Willa Anderson
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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Willa manages the HPE | Microsoft Coffee Coaching program. Follow along to learn more about the latest HPE OEM Microsoft product releases and how the HPE Microsoft partnership can benefit partners and customers.