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13/06/2017
Steve Pinner

I’m part of OCSL’s technical team. We recently returned from Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, USA where we took part in a “hackathon” workshop. This proved to be invaluable. We worked directly with the design team at Microsoft. This gave us a much deeper insight into Azure Stack’s features.  Here’s just some of our findings.

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Removing the Obstacles for your Hybrid Cloud Journey

We’re all familiar with the ‘Public Cloud’ and what it can offer. But concerns around security, data sovereignty and availability still remain major business obstacles. However, these obstacles could soon be removed with the arrival of ‘Azure Stack’

Microsoft released their first incarnation of a hybrid cloud model back in 2014, called Azure Pack. It was a collection of Microsoft technologies built on Hyper-V and System Centre. It was designed to replicate a cloud experience by allowing customers to self-provision and manage resources within a multi-tenant platform.

In a similar way, Azure Stack has the look and feel of Microsoft Azure and offers many services available in Public Cloud today.

Azure Stack Features

Azure Stack has been designed to replicate Microsoft Azure. It’s the only platform truly consistent with Public Cloud. It still runs on Microsoft Hyper-V, with the associated networking and storage under the hood. But crucially none of this is visible to the end user. So, in effect this feels like you are running Azure from your own datacentre!

Whether you choose to run Stack within your own datacentre or with a Managed Service Provider, you’ll able to reap the benefits that Microsoft Azure offers with none of the drawbacks, including:

  • Data sovereignty and regulation
  • Portability and consistency across platforms
  • RBAC (Role Based Access Control), usage and audit capabilities
  • Scalability and high availability
  • Secure data transfer across private networks
  • Predictable, reliable and high-throughput connections

This is aligned with an on-going program of investment from Microsoft to ensure their offering matures over time.

Armed with ARM -The Azure Resource Manager

One of the key Azure Stack features is the Azure Resource Manager (ARM). This offers the ability to build application templates and use them to easily deploy and manage compute, network, and storage resources.

Before ARM, you had to provision resources independently to support your application. And it was up to you to figure dependencies between resources and accommodate for these in your deployment scripts.  But now ARM allows businesses to automate workloads at the touch of a button. A much easier way to scale as business grows.

Understanding Azure Stack Features

Using our insights gained at the hackathon, OCSL’s technical team have been busy. We’ve been figuring out how Azure Stack will integrate with Cloud Control. This is OCSL’s own portal that helps massively streamline the management of multi clouds and an existing IT estate.  Following Azure Stack’s release, this will incorporate Stack, in addition to the multiple cloud providers available today.

Here’s just a few of the services that will be included:

  • Hybrid workloads
  • Cost management and approvals
  • Monitoring
  • Management
  • Centralised Logging
  • PaaS Offerings

We’ll also successfully integrate Azure Stack into our own private multi-cloud network (Cloud Route), allowing customer to benefit up to 10Gpbs secure connections across cloud providers with breakouts to the following services:

OCSL are working with HPE and Microsoft as one of the first UK confirmed partners to adopt Stack in our datacentres. Working directly with Microsoft’s technical team at their headquarters in Redmond, we'll be ready to support you and your organisations on your hybrid cloud journey.

Looking to get started in Azure? Our Azure Fast Start package will help you get started in just a few hours.

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