Most organisations today are embracing the cloud as a flexible, scalable and cost-effective way to buy and manage their IT. In fact, in 2017 the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) estimated that almost nine out of 10 firms have adopted cloud in some form.
However, while these businesses recognise the benefits of moving their workloads to the cloud, many will want to maintain a hybrid approach – combining a private cloud with the use of public cloud services.
For example, CIF notes that it is easier for smaller businesses to forgo their depreciated hardware assets and move entirely to the cloud than it is for larger organisations with significant infrastructure investments.
Elsewhere, there are organisations that, due to geographic or connectivity reasons, need to retain at least some of their IT infrastructure on premises – if there is a latency problem moving data between locations, for instance. Microsoft uses the example of a ship out at sea where the network might not be reliable, or a factory floor where you might need incredibly low latency to your embedded automation systems for production.
Azure Stack is a great option if a company’s policy requirements have established rules around the management of the data, as it allows them to remain in control of that data, often for regulatory and/or data sovereignty reasons.
The benefits of a hybrid cloud deployment
- Ability to leverage existing infrastructure
- Standardised on the same technology on-premises and in the public cloud Getting real value with the right technology
- More flexibility and greater choice
- Greater control and minimisation of ‘Shadow IT’
- Enhanced predictability and reliability
- Billing and cost management
- Move to an IT as a Service model
What is Azure Stack?
Azure Stack bridges the gap between the workloads which you want to run in the public cloud, and those that need to stay on-premises. An extension of Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack provides a way to run the same applications in-house or in your datacentre on a 4, 8 or 12 node HCI cluster of servers.
Essentially, Azure Stack allows users to bring the Azure cloud into your own datacentre.
- Azure Stack provides users with a seamless, single development and delivery platform. Users can build PaaS applications, using microservices and containers, then move those applications over to the public cloud seamlessly for production and vice versa, saving time, money and making operations more consistent.
So instead of managing multiple clouds through multiple platforms, you can now manage all of your clouds through one consistent Azure platform from on-premises, hosted infrastructure in a third party datacentre, all the way out to the public cloud.
With a common management platform between them, Azure Stack has the same look and feel of Azure – but you choose what data you keep in your own datacentre.
With Azure Stack you can:
- Speed up development with consistent processes, DevOps tools and open-source components
- Adopt the cloud on your terms, choosing the hybrid deployment that works best for you
- Get up and running quickly with purpose-built integrated systems
- Eliminate huge layers of complexity such as the purchase and management costs of hypervisor, compute, storage and networks
How does it work?
Azure Stack integrated systems are offered through a partnership of Microsoft and the hardware partners that supply the systems it sits on.
Because Azure Stack is offered as an integrated system of hardware and software, you get the right amount of flexibility and control, while still benefiting from the innovation associated with the cloud.
Azure Stack: Use cases
Edge and disconnected solutions
If you have specific latency and connectivity requirements – from factory floors to cruise fleets and remote sites – you can process data locally in Azure Stack, then aggregating it in Azure for further analytics. This brings together the best of edge computing and cloud computing to unlock business value that wasn’t possible until now.
Cloud applications that meet varied regulatory requirements
Sometimes you need to host different instances of the same application on Azure or Azure Stack, depending on your business and technical needs. Develop and deploy applications in Azure, with the flexibility to deploy on-premises using Azure Stack to meet your specific regulatory or policy requirements, without changing any code.
Cloud application model on-premises
Apply Azure web and mobile services, containers, serverless computing and microservice architectures to update and extend your legacy applications with Azure Stack, while using a consistent DevOps process in both cloud and on-premises deployments. Across mainframe and core business process applications, you can use Azure and Azure Stack for a hybrid cloud environment that meets your changing needs.
Azure Stack is not an alternative to Azure. Rather, it’s an extension — a way to leverage your existing assets, and integrate them with the capabilities and ecosystem of a major public cloud provider like Microsoft.
Enjoy the best of both worlds; contact Union Solutions to find out how you can benefit from Azure Stack.