29-01-2016, 20:03 #1
[EN] Inside Microsoft’s Azure Stack Private Cloud
January 29, 2016
Timothy Prickett Morgan
Bringing the Azure platform from Microsoft’s own public cloud down into the datacenters of enterprises and service providers means more than just giving these shops the same tools to manage raw virtualized compute, storage, and networking.
The Azure Stack platform, which will ship later this year and which Microsoft announced earlier this week, means literally bringing down as many of the suite of Azure services as is technically feasible and desirable to the corporate datacenter.
The end result of Azure Stack for customers will be something that looks and feels like the real Azure, although it will be running on their own hardware and under their own management. In a sense, this is the natural progression of Windows Server as the center of gravity of operating systems has shifted from a particular runtime to creating a cluster-wide management system with many runtimes and allowing for many different styles of compute and storage.
The Azure Stack is comprised of layers of software, just like the real Azure that Microsoft has running distributed around 22 regions on earth, making it one of the largest sets of infrastructure on the planet and rivalling (if not exceeding) the infrastructure that Google and Amazon have built for their internal operations and their clouds. The interesting bit for us here at The Next Platform is to contemplate how many tens of millions of organizations have Windows Server running a big chunk of their workloads and how many of these will want to move to the Azure model of creating, consuming, and managing infrastructure and applications. The amount of compute and storage capacity in enterprise datacenters is vast, at least an order of magnitude larger than the infrastructure that Microsoft has assembled to underpin Azure. Microsoft has well over 1 million servers in its cloud platform, but much of this runs Office 365, Xbox Live, Bing, and other services that are not, strictly speaking, running on Azure. They no doubt will in the future, and like other enterprises, Microsoft is carefully orchestrating those moves.
It is still early days in infrastructure and platform services, and while it may not feel like it, there is plenty of time for enterprises to learn the new way of building and consuming services on clouds. As we discussed in our previous article concerning Azure Stack, neither Amazon Web Services nor Google Cloud Platform seem inclined to offer a private cloud implementation of their platforms, and we do not expect that to change. This gives Microsoft an advantage over its public cloud rivals among the many, many enterprises that say they plan to run in hybrid fashion on their cloudy infrastructure – at least when it comes to hooking private datacenters with public clouds. If companies mean cross-cloud portability when they say hybrid, then none of the cloud builders are promising this, which would be exceedingly difficult to deliver for any company. The services on the big public clouds are changing all the time, they use radically different APIs to control their infrastructure and services, and they have different metaphors and organizational elements to describe their clouds. You end up with a least common denominator hybrid public cloud, which may not be particularly useful.
To our thinking, the competition between public cloud operators should be sufficient to keep pricing, performance, and features in rough parity over the long haul, much as the intense competition among Linux, Windows Server, and Unix has kept them more or less in line across different server classes and different workloads. You can pick a platform and then benefit from the fact that these platform providers are trying to win new customers and keep existing ones. So while cross-cloud hybrid compute and storage would be wonderful, they may not be economically practical or technically feasible except for the most rudimentary of services like a raw VM or a gigabyte of storage. In the same way, we don’t actually expect Windows Server to be a clone of Linux, or vice versa.
So what services are actually going to come in Azure Stack? What hardware will it run on and how far will it scale? Microsoft is not yet providing full roadmaps and reference architectures yet, given that Azure Stack Technical Preview 1 is just shipping today, but executives speaking to The Next Platform did provide some guidance on what to initially expect in these areas.
29-01-2016, 20:07 #2
The Two Azure Stacks
Back in the day, one rudimentary way of measuring the sophistication of an operating system was to track the numbers of lines of code that comprised its stack over time. The more features and functions the operating system had, the more its code swelled. We asked how much code was in the Azure Stack code base was, which caused a certain amount of amusement, and Mark Russinovich, chief technology officer at Azure, quipped, “Tons.” When pressed, he said that he didn’t know the precise number, but that it was much larger than an operating system.
There is obviously a lot of code sharing not only between the Windows Server and Azure public cloud teams these days, but also between the Azure and the Azure Stack teams. In some cases, Azure is driving the addition of features in Windows Server – nested virtualization was one of them that was requested and is coming out with Windows Server 2016 later this year, for instance – and in others, customers are requesting features in Windows Server that may benefit the two Azures.
“The higher up in the stack you go, the more code sharing there is,” explained Russinovich, referring to the differences between the code used for the Azure public cloud and Azure Stack. “At the bottom, the fabric underneath is very different, but when we get into services like Virtual Machines, Virtual Machine Extension, or networking services, a lot of that code is shared between public Azure and on-prem. The Azure Resource Manager is exactly the same and the Azure Portal is exactly the same.”
Microsoft had long since figured out how to scale out compute, storage, and networking to build a hyperscale public cloud, but three years ago, it figured out that it needed to rearchitect the application model at the heart of its public cloud so it could be brought down into the enterprise and be used on private clouds. Azure Resource Manager is the result of those efforts. That this layer is common across the two Azures makes perfect sense.
But Microsoft’s Azure software for the public cloud is very tightly tied to the Clos network that links servers and storage together and its proprietary networking stack, which we have discussed recently, and is similarly designed to run on the fairly homogeneous infrastructure, too.
“Taking a copy of Azure and putting it into the enterprise doesn’t make sense,” Ryan O’Hara, director of program management for the enterprise cloud division at Microsoft, tells The Next Platform. “While Azure Stack should be just another region as far as enterprise customers are concerned and we should maximize the number of services that can be deployed locally, these services have to be things that can scale down to the enterprise level. There are some services, such as the Azure Data Lake, data ingestion, or data encoding, where customers will benefit from the scale of the Azure public cloud.”
To give a sense of what services to expect with Azure Stack, Microsoft provided this handy overview of the services currently on the Azure cloud and listed the ones that will be available in Azure Stack, which are boxed in yellow in the chart below.
Those Azure services with stars after them will be in preview as Azure Stack becomes generally available in the fourth quarter and will presumably come to market in 2017. Other services, as appropriate, will make the jump from Azure to Azure Stack. Site Recovery, for instance, will be an interesting one in that it will provide failover capability between Azure Stack on-premises clouds and the actual Azure, and will also allow for Azure Stacks that are distributed geographically to provide backup for each other. Azure Stack will eventually support multiple zones, obviously, and Microsoft is working to provide VM-to-VM failover in a future Azure Stack release.
Importantly, the Azure Resource Manager templates that customers are building and sharing to help automatically deploy applications on the Azure framework, which you can see here, will also work seamlessly on Azure Stack private clouds.
It is also likely that services that are not part of Azure and are provided by third parties, such as ticketing systems for managing hardware and software, could be added to Azure Stack even though they are not part of Azure itself. And while Microsoft has no plans to offer supported versions of Azure Stack where its own techies and its own Autopilot cloud controller for Azure reaches out manages a private Azure Stack cloud, Mike Neil, corporate vice president in charge of Enterprise Cloud at Microsoft, says that it will consider this if enough customers ask for it and expects for third party service providers to do it in any event.
29-01-2016, 20:15 #3
The Hardware Foundation For Azure Stack
A pod of compute capacity on the Azure cloud is 960 nodes of Microsoft’s own Open Cloud Server design housed in 20 racks. By definition this pod has enough spare capacity to put some in reserve for failovers when they will inevitably occur. In the enterprise, says O’Hara, companies might have some reserve servers, but not on the same order of magnitude as Microsoft, and they will use overcommit and quality of service protocols to deal with failures and keep critical workloads humming on the infrastructure.
The underlying storage on the two Azures is different, too, which made it a challenge to scale it down, explained Russinovich. On the real Azure, the storage service runs initially on dozens of servers in the pod, and on an initial deployment of 960 nodes, this is no big deal. But when Microsoft is trying to get the initial deployment size of Azure Stack down to a few nodes, this can’t work, and moreover, the erasure coding techniques that Microsoft uses in the real Azure also assumes a very large set of storage servers over which to has the data protection algorithms and to spread the data making up objects.
So to bring Azure Stack into the enterprise, Microsoft has to tweak the network topology and storage a bit and also make it available on commercial-grade servers and switching from the likes of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell, its two key systems partners. It seems likely that Cisco Systems, Lenovo, Fujitsu, and NEC will also sell Azure Stack hardware-software bundles, too.
In terms of the scale of Azure Stack infrastructure, Microsoft is not being specific at the moment, but clearly Microsoft knows how to scale Azure up and has demonstrated that to customers through its own public cloud. The question is not how far Microsoft can push it, but how far it will certify configurations to give large enterprises building private Azures enough headroom so they are comfortable that they will not hit any scale ceilings.
The Cloud Platform System that Microsoft stacked up with Dell last year to build a cloud based on Windows Server 2012 R2, its Hyper-V hypervisor, plus Windows Server SMB 3.0 and Storage Spaces storage is probably a good indicator of what the initial scale might be for an Azure Stack cluster.
With this Cloud Platform System setup, which used the portal from the Azure Pack (inspired by the real Azure but distinct from it) and Systems Center 2012 R2 to manage it, a rack of machines had 32 nodes with a total of 512 cores, 8 TB of memory, and 282 TB of usable tiered storage comprised of disk and flash. (About 8 percent of that capacity was configured as flash to goose the performance of the underlying file systems.) The whole shebang is linked together with 10 Gb/sec Ethernet switching.
Assuming that an average virtual machine needs 1.75 GB of virtual memory, and 50 GB of storage, then such a rack could host around 2,000 VMs, according to Microsoft and Dell. The Cloud Platform System was designed to scale up to four racks, and importantly, was designed to scale down as small as three nodes to start. So the scale starts at 144 VMs (taking out the cloud management overhead on the three nodes) and rises to around 8,000 VMs across three racks. For Microsoft Azure, this 8,000 VMs represents one fifth of the capacity of only one of its pods. For a single enterprise, those four racks provide a lot of VMs.
Vijay Tewari, principal group program manager in charge of Microsoft’s virtualization management tools and who is in charge of the Cloud Platform System and will no doubt be helping build the reference architectures for Azure Stack with Microsoft’s hardware partners, hints to us that the scale will be a bit larger for Azure Stack than for Cloud Platform System.
Our guess is somewhere around 32,000 or 64,000 virtual machines, which is plenty of headroom and which, using future “Broadwell” Xeon E5 v4 processors from Intel and pushing the compute density up quite a bit – the Cloud Platform System was using eight-core Xeons, which is not all that dense – could fit in maybe eight, twelve, or sixteen racks, depending on the processor chosen. As we know from reading The Next Platform, the Broadwell Xeon E5 chips will top out at 22 cores, so let’s pick a processor with 16 cores as a mid-level option in terms of cores, performance, and cost to base a hypothetical Azure Stack upon. Assuming the same 32 nodes per rack, that will give 1,024 cores and 4,000 VMs per rack. So eight racks gets you to 32,000 VMs and sixteen racks gets you to 64,000 VMs.
Interestingly, Tewari says that the infrastructure services that comprise Azure Stack will run on the stripped-down Nano Server implementation of Windows Server, which comes out with Windows Server 2016 and which is a key element of Microsoft’s container strategy for the platform. And instead of patching these underlying VMs that run the Azure Stack code itself (as distinct from the VMs that run customer code), Microsoft will also be doing complete fresh installs of the hypervisor and Nano Server installations instead of trying to patch them. (Customers could decide they want the same approach for their application VMs.)
One of the other issues that Microsoft has to work out is how frequently Azure Stack itself will be updated. “Right now, we are working out with customers what the cadence should be,” explains Neil. “Azure deploys hourly and daily, which is probably too frequently, and an annual cadence is too slow.” We suggested that Azure Stack could be updated on the April-October cadence of some commercial Linux operating systems and the OpenStack controller that is tied to it, and Neil said that Microsoft wanted to keep Azure and Azure Stack in synch as much as possible and that this cadence “is probably about right.”
Azure Stack will be a priced software product, but Microsoft has not divulged how it will be packaged or what it will cost and it will likely not do so until it is just about to ship or is shipping.
Última edição por 5ms; 29-01-2016 às 20:17.
29-01-2016, 20:54 #4
Introducing Microsoft Azure Stack
Webcast with Mark Russinovich and Jeffrey Snover
Learn how Azure Stack will help you drive app innovation by delivering the power of Azure in your datacenter. Experience the new potential of hybrid cloud computing and get your questions answered by the Azure Stack team.
February 3, 2016—9:00 AM PST
30-01-2016, 06:48 #5
WindowsITPro: Is The Hybrid Cloud Really Too Costly?
Cheryl J. Ajluni
Jan 19, 2016
When it comes to any new concept or technology there are a lot of unknowns, and those unknowns can lead to some pretty interesting speculation. Often that speculation turns into myths that just won’t die. That’s certainly the case for the hybrid cloud. That’s why in the coming months I’m going to do my best to help sort fact from fiction on some of the more enduring hybrid cloud myths. This week I’d like to try and tackle the issue of cost.
Discussing the cost of a hybrid cloud is not easy. There are many factors involved that go beyond the basic cost of the solution itself. An interesting article on For Dummies, for example, details a whooping thirteen of these possible factors, and that doesn’t even include the cost of training staff to be able to work with the new technology, or in some cases, having to hire new staff altogether, as well as any other hidden cost.
All of these factors are probably key to the enduring myth that the hybrid cloud is just too expensive, but therein also lies the crux of the problem. Not every factor applies to every organization’s specific circumstances and that means the overall cost can change dramatically from one case to another.
As a basic example, consider just one factor that often affects cost—the transferring of data into the public cloud portion of the hybrid cloud solution. If you happen to be an organization with lots of data, that can be a costly proposition, much more so than if you had say, just a small amount of data to transfer.
So if we can’t really compare specifics of the hybrid cloud implementation from one case to another to determine whether it’s costly or cost effective, then what can we do? One thing we can do is take a closer look at the hybrid cloud itself and how some of its features/advantages help drive down cost.
Very simply put, the hybrid cloud solution brings together the best of both public and private clouds by storing some data and applications on the public cloud and others on a private cloud. By doing so, organizations gain the economies of scale that come with the public cloud and the cost savings that follow, while still being able to store particularly critical data on private storage. The flexibility the hybrid cloud enables in terms of backup and recovery and storage allows organizations to attain greater efficiency, which also helps reduce cost.
Another way the hybrid cloud results in cost savings is by making an organization’s IT processes more automated, such that they require fewer IT professionals to maintain. And, organizations become more agile, meaning that they can react faster and more nimbly to business changes. Organizations can also quickly scale up without have to worry about implementing or maintaining costly infrastructure.
While all of these cost savings are certainly generalized—the actual cost could be higher or lower depending on your organization and its particular needs—the reality is that the hybrid cloud does offer many cost-efficiencies. But, is it too costly? Again, that’s relative. Is it more costly than a private or public cloud solution? Compared to a private cloud, the answer is no. Compared to a public cloud; however, which is typically viewed as the cheapest of the solutions, the answer is probably yes. But then again, the hybrid cloud solution offers operational efficiencies that the public cloud solution doesn’t and that also drives cost savings.
If you want to get a sense of what a hybrid cloud solution would actually cost you, check out one of the many cloud price calculators available on the web. A prime example is found here. You may just find that the solution is much most cost effective than you ever imagined.
30-01-2016, 06:52 #6
WindowsITPro: s The Hybrid Cloud Too Complex?
Cheryl J. Ajluni
Jan 22, 2016
It’s time once again to examine a myth about the hybrid cloud. Last time we talked about cost. This week I’d like to turn your attention to the issue of complexity and attempt to answer the question: Is the hybrid cloud too complex?
It’s a fair question; after all, we are essentially talking about a solution that involves two distinct components—a public cloud and a private one—and those components have to be effectively managed to get the most out of the approach. That management might not be so difficult if you purchase your hybrid cloud solution from an individual cloud provider who makes sure both components will work well together. Even if you chose to use an integrated solution that say, utilizes a public cloud from one provider and a private cloud from another, presumably both providers have worked together to smooth out any issues between their solutions. And that means management of the hybrid cloud solution should be; well, more manageable.
But what if you happen to be an organization that maintains a private cloud and you sign up for a public cloud service? Clearly, you would need to integrate it into your existing infrastructure and then you would have to turn your attention to managing the two solutions. Depending on the tools you use, that could be a fairly complex undertaking,
It’s a fact that the more hybridized a solution becomes, the more complex it will be. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all relative. Compared to a multi-cloud solution, a hybrid cloud can be much less complex. By the same token, a hybrid cloud solution is inherently more complex than just a public or private cloud one alone. But that increased complexity has to be weighed against the benefits you gain by using a hybrid cloud solution, rather than just a public or private cloud on its own. Those benefits are undeniable—speed, scalability and security—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Ultimately, it might just be a smarter business decision to take on the added complexity. The trick is ensuring you have the right management tools in place to mitigate it. A prime example of one such tool can be found here.
For a free webcast on mastering the complexity of the hybrid cloud go here. You might also want to check out an excellent blog from Charlie Dai of Forrester Research on what you can learn from leading Chinese firms when it comes to managing the complexity of the hybrid cloud. In the meantime, be sure to check back here each week for more information on the hybrid cloud and other important IT-related topics.
30-01-2016, 10:31 #7
Microsoft Azure Stack Technical Preview is now available for downloadFriday, January 29, 2016
Following up on our announcement earlier this week, the first Technical Preview of Azure Stack is now available for download!
Today, we’re also releasing a whitepaper providing more information on key Azure Stack concepts and capabilities that should help you gain a much richer understanding of our approach. Be sure to read it so you’re fully up to speed.
This Technical Preview includes these fundamental capabilities to help you deliver Azure services in your datacenter:
- Developer and IT professional experiences: Azure portal experiences for application developers and service administrators
- Unified application model: Azure Resource Manager
- Foundational services: Compute (Virtual Machines and Virtual Machine Extensions), Networking (Virtual Network, Software Load Balancer, Distributed Firewall) and Storage (Blobs and Tables)
- Core services: Subscription management (identity and quotas), role-based access control, metering and audit
- Application components: Curated Azure Resource Manager templates and Azure-consistent VM extensions (such as Desired State Configuration and Docker/Linux integration) to help you jumpstart your Azure Stack efforts
Once you deploy the Technical Preview, you will be able to deploy and run additional Azure services. Stay tuned for the first set of PaaS services, including App Service (Web Apps) to come your way next week.
Also stay tuned for the updated Azure SDK, (which will include PowerShell support and cross-platform CLI support for Azure Stack) and Visual Studio 2015 support for Azure Stack – these experiences will be coming your way next week too. This is the new normal from our team and how we’ll deliver continuous innovation to help you operationalize the cloud-model in your datacenter.
Check out our documentation to learn more on how to get started and test-drive the scenarios this Technical Preview enables. Remember, you will need a single server to host this proof-of-concept environment. If you run into any issues and need help, or if you’d like to provide feedback or make requests, visit the Azure Stack forum.
We’d love to know more about your experiences kicking the tires on this preview release. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts and feedback. To help you learn more, Mark Russinovich and Jeffrey Snover will be hosting a webcast on Wednesday, February 3 at 9:00 am PDT – mark your calendars!
30-01-2016, 10:48 #8
Ubuntu lands on Microsoft’s hybrid Azure Stack
70% of the most popular cloud workloads run on the OS already; Midsize and large enterprises are not about to decommission their data centers any time soon.
by Mike Wheatley | Jan 29, 2016
Microsoft has made Ubuntu available on the technical preview of Azure Stack, it’s newly release private and hybrid cloud bundle for on-premises deployment.
Released earlier this week, Azure Stack is a technology bundle that allows customers to build the Azure Cloud in their own data centers. And although you’ll need some pretty sophisticated hardware to run it, it’s a kind of compromise, if you like, for customers who cannot or will not move to the public cloud, but who still want to take advantage of the cost and compute benefits it offers.
Azure Stack has been described as “an extension of Azure” by Microsoft Partner Director of Program Management Ryan O’Hara. He explained that the experience is just like Azure, with the same APIs and artifacts portable across both platforms. As a result, Azure Stack can be used as a hybrid cloud within the Azure Cloud itself.
Al Hilwa, program director of software development research at International Data Corp. (IDC), said Microsoft developed Azure Stack because it realizes that most midsize and large enterprises are not about to decommission their data centers any time soon.
“Microsoft is now tackling this area where cloud operator technology is brought to bear for internal IT and partner cloud operators,” Hilwa explained. “The key distinguishing characteristic is that this is semantically Azure. From a management API and app model perspective it is a proper subset of the broad services available in Azure.”
Microsoft said it’s planning to add to Azure Stack’s features in newer technical previews in the coming months. Planned features include more OS images and Azure Resource Manager templates, with Ubuntu Linux images being one of the first of these new updates.
“Microsoft and Canonical are well placed to bring the best of a cloud experience to developers and users,” said John Zannos, vice president of cloud platform at Canonical Ltd. “Working with Microsoft we have seen tremendous growth of Ubuntu on Azure. Use of Ubuntu on Azure is growing rapidly and, more than one in four VMs running on Azure are Linux.”
Zannos said he believes that Ubuntu “will form an integral part of the Azure Stack offering”, explaining that seventy percent of the most popular cloud workloads run on the OS already.
30-01-2016, 11:38 #9
Microsoft tilts at enterprise cloud domination with Azure Stack
It was only a matter of time before Microsoft took a swipe at the enterprise cloud infrastructure market.
Microsoft’s vision is to run a complete Azure PaaS in a private data center.
Like VMware with vCloud/vCloud Air, Microsoft aims for complete compatibility between private and public Azure instances. Unlike vCloud, Azure includes a growing list of application-level PaaS services and, more importantly, enough current and potential customers from its huge Windows Server installed base to pose a realistic threat to Amazon’s dominance.
Microsoft’s growth strategy is an all-in bet on hybrid cloud, which it sees addressing business concerns like infrastructure, application and transaction latency, data sovereignty and control regulations and needs for customized infrastructure that can’t be met in a public, shared-services environment.
Its solution, dubbed Azure Stack, brings Azure inside the enterprise. Azure Stack provides full private-public cloud compatibility for developers and ISVs (common APIs and automation tools), business analysts (consistent design patterns and service elements) and IT (the same management console, admin constructs and access controls). This is possible because Azure Stack uses the same code base as public Azure: the internal differences primarily occur at the hardware level to account for the idiosyncrasies of Azure’s much larger scale and occasional use of one-off, non-commercial hardware.
Although we’ve heard hybrid cloud stories before, at a private briefing with a small group of analysts and journalists, I was struck by the comprehensive nature of Microsoft’s Azure vision which is to run a complete Azure PaaS in a private data center. An important customer segment for Azure Pack isn’t enterprises at all, but service providers that customize a base Azure cloud for specific industries and application categories or provide hosting in underserved parts of the world where Microsoft doesn't have a regional presence.
The tight public-private integration was driven home during hands-on labs using the existing Azure management portal and where Azure Stack running on a local (very powerful) workstation looked like just another cloud region when it came time to deploy services. Everything, whether JSON service templates on Github or PowerShell automation scripts, worked the same regardless of the target Azure infrastructure.
Still Work in Progress
Although eminently useable, Azure Stack is far from production worthy: this week’s announcement is just the first Proof of Concept (PoC) preview release that contains a small subset of the public Azure’s menu of services.
While Microsoft hasn’t publicly detailed features included in Azure Stack, slides presented at the private briefing indicate that few of Azure’s PaaS services made the initial cut, the notable exception being the Web Apps Service. Azure’s Mobile and IoT services will have to wait and some requiring sizable infrastructure like HDInsight and Machine Learning may never be included with Azure Stack.
Azure Stack might run on a single machine, but developers shouldn’t expect to install it on their PC because the PoC hardware requirements are significant. You’ll need at least a 12-core machine with 96 GB and four disks. Our lab machines had over twice this capacity and still got bogged down on certain operations. A minimal Azure Stack deployment will require four 16- to 32-core servers with at least 128 GB memory and multiple disks. Like VMware EVO RAIL, Microsoft expects most deployments to use purpose-built hardware pre-integrated with the Azure Stack software, although a DIY option is possible for those willing to closely hew to an as-yet-to-be published hardware compatibility list.
Azure Stack represents the logical endpoint of a hybrid cloud strategy: the same technology stack available for rent as a shared service or for sale as a private cloud.
While not uniquely qualified to “bring the full power of a true hybrid cloud platform” to market as Mike Neil, CVP of Enterprise Cloud for Microsoft says in announcing the preview, I agree that it’s one of a handful of companies that can credibly make that claim. Indeed, given Microsoft’s presence in enterprise data centers and expertise running one of the world’s largest suite of cloud services, it’s certainly the best positioned.
Azure Stack solidifies Microsoft as the safe, familiar enterprise cloud alternative to AWS. Don’t expect Azure to unseat AWS anytime soon, however its mix of familiar services (AD, SQL Server), developer support (Visual Studio, .NET) and seamless hybrid infrastructure integration means Azure will appeal to a much broader enterprise audience.
Microsoft’s Azure strategy presents much more significant threats to the two other oft-mentioned hybrid cloud alternatives: OpenStack and vCloud. Although both will have adherents in particular niches like academia and HPC (OpenStack) or organizations already committed to VMware’s vision, neither can foreseeably deliver the gamut of platform services across public and private clouds to a customer base already comfortable with many of the management and development tools.
Key to assessing how fast Azure picks up momentum will be the pace of adoption by service providers and OEM partners, not enterprises. If Dell, HP, Lenovo and others flood the market with a variety of Azure-integrated products, perhaps in conjunction with a branded shared service, ISPs build regional Azure clouds for emerging markets and industry verticals and trusted channel partners push Azure to their mid-market customers, forget VMware or IBM, even Amazon will take notice. That’s a big ask but not impossible.
30-01-2016, 22:40 #10
aka.ms for Azure Stack | Guidance
Charles Joy [MSFT]
30 Jan 2016
Yes, Azure Stack Technical Preview 1 was released today. And that is getting a lot of attention (rightfully so!). It is easy to get caught up in all the excitement, so I wanted to offer a little guide to the available “aka.ms” links I currently have visibility/manage for Azure Stack.
This post is really intended to be used as a quick reference guide to the available “Short URLs” available for Azure Stack and related content. We have many and various public information targets, the URLs listed here should make it easy to reference and remember these sites and their intended use.
The following table outlines the current known aka.ms sites for Azure Stack and related content.
I will keep this table updated with new aka.ms links that I create over time.
aka.ms URL Final Target Intended Use / Comment aka.ms/azurestackforum Azure Forum (MSDN) Topic for Azure Stack All public questions, comments, concerns, etc. native to the “Technical Forum” aka.ms/azurestackuservoice Azure Stack User Voice site User Voice is service-wide method for customer ideas, suggestions, issues (sometimes), etc. aka.ms/azurestackcontent Documentation Landing Page for Azure Stack Documentation Landing Page for Azure Stack on Azure.com (we may use this for something else later) aka.ms/azurestack Landing Page for Azure Stack Landing Page for Azure Stack on Azure.com aka.ms/azurestackwhitepaper Taking the cloud to your datacenter Microsoft Azure Stack Whitepaper Whitepaper for Azure Stack called “Taking the cloud to your datacenter” aka.ms/azurestackdocs Documentation Landing Page for Azure Stack Documentation Landing Page for Azure Stack on Azure.com aka.ms/azurestackmarketplaceitem Download ZIP for the Azure Stack Marketplace Item Generator and Sample Marketplace Gallery Item Tool & Sample aka.ms/azurestackgithub Azure Stack GitHub Templates Azure Stack QuickStart Templates on GitHub (similar to Azure’s QuickStart Templates) aka.ms/azurestackpaasservices Tools and PaaS services for Azure Stack Documentation Page Tools and PaaS services for Azure Stack Documentation Page on Azure.com aka.ms/azurestackakaguide This Blog Post The quick reference URL for this blog post aka.ms/azurestackatmsignite2015 #AzureStack @ #MSIgnite The quick reference URL for the old collection of Azure Stack MSFT posted content/links
And one more, that I do not manage, but is a fantastic resource (thanks, Hans!):
aka.ms/azurestackwiki The Azure Stack Wiki MVP Led Effort to collect all things Azure Stack, by Hans Vredevoort, Cloud and Datacenter MVP (Hyper-V)
Have more? Let me know!