Microsoft introduces Azure Stack, its answer to OpenStack

Both software-only and turnkey hardware systems are available for order

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Microsoft has taken the wraps off Azure Stack, its take on hybrid cloud infrastructure and response to the popular OpenStack open-source cloud computing package. Azure Stack will begin shipping in September.

Azure Stack was originally designed as a software-only product, much like OpenStack. But Microsoft has decided to add integrated hardware turnkey solutions from its certified partners such as Dell EMC, HPE, Lenovo, Cisco and Huawei.

Microsoft first announced Azure Stack at the Ignite Conference in 2015 and formally introduced it at the Inspire conference in Washington, D.C.

Azure Stack is basically the same APIs, tools and processes that power Azure, but it’s intended to be hosted on-premises in private cloud scenarios. By offering the same platform and tools both on-premises and in Azure, the company promises consistency and ease of deployment, whether it’s hosted locally or in the cloud.

It also makes it possible to deploy different instances of the same app for meeting regulatory compliance, such as a financial app with different business or technical requirements, or perhaps regulatory limits on what can go into the cloud. But both apps can be based on the same codebase and one slightly altered for the cloud.

“The ability to run consistent Azure services on-premises gets you full flexibility to decide where applications and workloads should reside,” said Mike Neil, corporate vice president for Azure Infrastructure and Management, in the blog post accompanying the announcement.

Azure Stack will use two pricing models: pay-as-you-use, similar to what you would get with the Azure service, and capacity-based, where customers will pay a fixed annual fee based on the number of physical cores in a system.

There will also be an option of having Azure Stack delivered and operated as a fully managed service. The services will be managed by data center operators such as Avanade, Daisy, Evry, Rackspace and Tieto. These companies are already delivering services around Azure.

Microsoft has said that its goal is to ensure that most ISV applications and services that are certified for Azure will work on Azure Stack. ISVs such as Bitnami, Docker, Kemp Technologies, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux are working to make their solutions available on Azure Stack.  

Microsoft also announced the Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK), a free single-server deployment SDK for building and validating applications on the Azure Stack.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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