Microsoft has focused on hybrid cloud for some time now and it is to attract various enterprises who work on public clouds like Microsoft’s very own Azure and private clouds like individual data centres. Azure stack is trying to bring the core services of Azure to corporate data centres and that seems a natural progression from the previous position. There is no doubt that if private and public clouds, when working under the same platform, can make hybrid deployments a daily affair. Microsoft has waited for a year to develop Azure Stack, and now that it has passed through all the technical preview tests, certification process is about to begin.
Already, some of its most trusted partners like Dell, HP, and Lenovo have integrated the stack in their systems and it is highly likely that Cisco and Huawei will follow suit in the near future. 46 countries are participating in this project and they will deploy the systems across multiple servers. However, to help developers with the launch, a free kit for single-server scenarios, known as the Azure Stack development Kit, has been released which is supposed to include core tools like Azure Portal, its services, access to the content of Marketplace etc.
Making themselves stand out
Microsoft believes that the hybrid model may well be helpful for them to stand out from the crowd of cloud services. They believe that not every customer would like to venture into public cloud and each company has its priorities. Some companies still believe in controlling their data and complete internal privacy and sovereignty. They still believe in data centres and other structural traditions.
However, what is interesting is that the technical review session threw up some anomalous observations. Some companies preferred to use stack at the network edges or even at disconnected situations to drive their applications. Banks did it for obvious security reasons, some oil refineries had to do it because their data centres were dispersed and remote. Whatever may be the case, decentralization was a major theme observed in Stack’s usage.
Flexible payment schemes
Another brilliant thing about Azure Stack is that pricing plans are extremely flexible and even for enterprises, there are varying schemes. You can buy a standard license outright as well the service contract, but there is another more useful option. You can actually pay for the amount of Stack you use at data centre, just like you do for cloud services. So, for every module, storage space or anything, you pay according to your usage. Surely, there is hardly a better plan than this one out there.
Hence, stack is a more cost-effective option than cloud and surprisingly, it serves everyone’s interests. So, there is a chance that if Stack doesn’t fit well within the developers’ concern, Microsoft may suffer a loss. But, they surely have taken up a challenge but providing the enterprises the extra bit of liberty. Microsoft believes it is the enterprises that drive their businesses and they should be given top priority ahead of anyone else.
Making the rivalry clear
Microsoft are in no mood to hold their opinions back regarding rival projects. OpenStack, a platform that boasts of AWS-compatibility for private clouds, has grown to become Microsoft’s bitter rival recently. Its open source methods have made it helpful, but it is very difficult to deploy as well as update. Microsoft was not shy to criticise this factor and they believe that OpenStack is not feasible and most people couldn’t utilize it. It is here they believe Azure Stack intervenes very importantly since systems belonging to Dell, Lenovo or HP will already have them integrated and certified. So, companies won’t have to struggle with deployment or further issues.
Microsoft says that they believe in no-nonsense businesses and hence, they have taken the pain to ensure that industry-standard servers are at work instead of some peripheral, dated Windows server. However, it is even more important to note that Azure Stack is only a dress rehearsal for the bigger release, the Azure itself. So, the users who are trying to defer update and work around, they cannot do it beyond six months. So, Azure will herald a new era in Microsoft.