The Azure Stack promise — the advent of true hybrid cloud
The world of cloud is changing, and quickly. As more businesses make more use of cloud services, hybrid cloud is a hot topic. And it’s getting even hotter with the launch of Microsoft’s Azure Stack — a new hybrid cloud platform that allows you to deliver Azure services from your own datacentre, in a way that is consistent with public Azure.
One of the most obvious benefits of this model is that it will allow hosting companies, managed services providers and customers to focus on business innovation rather than spend time building and managing their own cloud computing platforms. Organisations can create these Azure services within a private cloud, enabling developers and IT professionals to quickly provision and scale services using the same self-service experience found in Azure. The product also allows IT organisations to leverage the same management and automation tools used with Azure to customize the service delivery experience to the businesses they serve.
This all adds up to an environment in which infrastructure providers, application developers and others, can maximise their productivity using a ‘write once’, deploy to Azure or Azure Stack approach, because the Azure APIs are consistent regardless of where the resources are provisioned— Azure Stack is simply an extension of Azure. Part of the value of this approach is bringing the large ecosystem of operating systems, frameworks, languages, tools, and applications in Azure to individual datacentres. Developers can create applications based on a variety of technologies such as Windows, Linux, .NET, PHP, Ruby or Java that can be deployed and operated the same way on-premises or in Microsoft Azure datacentres. They will also be able to leverage the rich Azure ecosystem of templates, tools, and applications to jumpstart Azure Stack development and operational efforts.
Perhaps more importantly is that individuals, companies, providers, developers, and IT professionals, will have the same experience with Azure Stack as they have with Azure. This will be made possible because the Azure Stack portal environment is the same code as Azure. However, the real innovation of Azure Stack is the implementation of a consistent cloud API identical to Azure, so there is a consistent experience for everyone across clouds.
To achieve this, a consistent API surface area between Azure and Azure Stack is the path to a set of experiences, tools, application patterns, automation capabilities, deployment and configuration, and operations that work across private and public cloud.
Experiences: The first engagement with Azure and Azure Stack will usually come through the portal which provides a web-accessible conduit into the system. The portal is a graphical expression of the cloud API.
Tools: Cloud consumers can use the tools they use in Azure and know they will work in Azure Stack. Cloud consumers can focus on solving business problems, rather than constant tooling and deployment transitions.
Application patterns: Programmatic and abundant access to cloud services is changing the way that applications are being designed, developed and operated. You can work with the resources in your application as a group – mixing resources across IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) services.
Automation Capabilities: Having a consistent API means that cloud consumers can invest in automating development, deployment and operational activities knowing that they will not have to be rewritten to be used with a cloud supplier that offers Azure services.
Deployment and configuration: Deploy, update or delete all of the resources for your application in a single, coordinated operation. This can be done from the portal or programmatically through an SDK as code.
Operations: Template deployments work for different environments such as testing, staging and production. Role-based access control, usage and audit capabilities are standardised across all cloud resources in the deployment. Updates made to application resources can be performed in an incremental and non-destructive manner.
The key thing for Azure Stack to be successful is for investments in people, processes and technologies to be fully transferable between Azure and Azure Stack.
We have been working closely with Microsoft on Azure Stack and we are keen for our customers to start reaping the benefits of hybrid cloud.
To find out more on getting exclusive early access to Azure Stack, visit our website: Azure Stack webpage
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