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Pulling back the curtain: the magic behind the new Microsoft Azure Stack


bigstock-Businessman-Pulling-Open-Blue--77407664.jpgLast week, we discussed the difference between Microsoft Azure Pack and a new offering Microsoft is developing, Azure Stack. If you remember, one of the biggest differences is that Microsoft Azure Stack is 100% compatible with Azure public cloud services. So, with Microsoft Azure Stack running in your datacenter, you can realize the speed, agility and simplicity of a public cloud combined with the cost-effective and secure environment of a powerful, on-premises private cloud.

At first glance, it may seem that this new technology is just the next evolution of cloud services in the datacenter. But the complexities that go into taking something as gigantic as the public cloud infrastructure, and scaling it down to run in your own datacenter--AND ensuring that installation and updates are done seamlessly--is really the cutting edge innovation behind the solution.

With Azure Stack, the smallest Azure Stack product system could start with as little as just 4 physical servers. Customers could then build up and scale to a point that makes sense in their datacenters, and incrementally add capacity as the demands and needs of the business grow.

And if that weren’t challenge enough, in addition to being scaled down to fit into your own datacenter, Azure Stack has to be compatible with other hardware and solutions. For customers, this means that when firmware and Azure updates come through, there is a seamless integration between all of the parts of the puzzle. The last thing you need is for your private cloud (which was meant to be simple and efficient) to require constant maintenance and monitoring to make sure it is running properly. 

To provide real value, Azure Stack has to be pre-tested and validated to ensure that all of the software runs correctly, end-to-end, with other hardware and system components already running in the datacenter. When Azure updates are initiated from Microsoft, IT won’t have to worry about workloads going down while updates are taking place.  The promise of Azure Stack will essentially allow IT to hand off the firmware and services update responsibility to Microsoft and rest easy knowing that the updates will happen quickly and in a pre-tested, orchestrated manner.

There is a lot of buzz in the market at the moment about Azure Stack operating in a private cloud and the value it will bring to the datacenter. I for one am really interested to see how this technology will manifest into a functional cloud. I have my calendar marked for the Microsoft Ignite event in Atlanta coming later this month, September 26-30—my first opportunity to see this new development. I hope to see you there.

 More details on the event can be found here.


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Nikolay Nikolov

How did you estimate that an Azure Pack cluster consists of 880 servers. Or maybe you mean an Azure cluster?