In order to satisfy enterprises that have business concerns around moving fully to the public cloud, Microsoft had come up with the Azure Stack. The model is based on a hybrid approach through which consumers can host cloud computing services over private data centers. The Redmond giant on Tuesday announced that the first Technical Preview of the Azure Stack will go live on Friday, January 29.
The Azure Stack is a cloud hosting service which goes on to compete market leaders like OpenStack, the open source enterprise cloud computing platform which has shown a lot of promise and has been backed by many major companies like Rackspace, HP Enterprise and IBM. Azure Stack, according to Microsoft, provides consistency across private, hosted, and public clouds, which is a huge improvement from the previous generation of cloud services.
The service is based on the Azure cloud platform, the only difference being that it can be hosted by the consumers own datacenter.
While the first preview of the service is fairly limited, it surely stands to show what Azure Stack is capable of. An example for the limitations of the technical preview is the fact that it can only support a single machine which is nothing compared to what an enterprise may require.
The blog post announcing the Technical Preview of Azure Stack lists the following advantages of the service:
- Application developers can maximize their productivity using a ‘write once, deploy to Azure or Azure Stack’ approach. Using APIs that are identical to Microsoft Azure, they can create applications based on open source or .NET technology that can easily run on-premises or in the public cloud. They can also leverage the rich Azure ecosystem to jumpstart their Azure Stack development efforts.
- IT professionals can transform on-premises datacenter resources into Azure IaaS/PaaS services while maintaining oversight using the same management and automation tools that Microsoft uses to operate Azure. This approach to cloud enables IT professionals to have a valuable seat at the table – they are empowered to deliver services to the business quickly, while continuing to steward corporate governance needs.
- Organizations can embrace hybrid cloud computing on their terms by helping them address business and technical considerations like regulation, data sovereignty, customization and latency. Azure Stack enables that by giving businesses the freedom to decide where applications and workloads reside without being constrained by technology.
Microsoft also promises that through a series of Technical Previews, Microsoft will add services and content such as OS images and Azure Resource Manager templates to help customers start taking advantage of Azure Stack.
In fact, the company states that all of the services available via Azure will eventually be ported on to Azure Stack. Here’s the list of services, applications and templates available on Azure currently.
Microsoft also wants developers and IT admins to be able to use one set of tools to target the platform (including Visual Studio and PowerShell). This will be universal for both run on premises center and the public Azure cloud. Even the interface of Azure Stack has been designed to mirror that of Azure.