It has been inspiring to watch how customers use Azure Stack to innovate and drive digital transformation across cloud boundaries. In her blog post today, Julia White shares examples of how customers are using Azure Stack to innovate on-premises using Azure services. Azure Stack shipped in 2017, and it is the only solution in the market today for customers to run cloud applications using consistent IaaS and PaaS services across public cloud, on-premises, and in disconnected environments. While customers love the fact that they can run cloud applications on-premises with Azure Stack, we understand that most customers also run important parts of their organization on traditional virtualized applications. Now we have a new option to deliver cloud efficiency and innovation for these workloads as well.
Today, I am pleased to announce Azure Stack HCI solutions are available for customers who want to run virtualized applications on modern hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) to lower costs and improve performance. Azure Stack HCI solutions feature the same software-defined compute, storage, and networking software as Azure Stack, and can integrate with Azure for hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based backup, site recovery, monitoring, and more.
Adopting hybrid cloud is a journey and it is important to have a strategy that takes into account different workloads, skillsets, and tools. Microsoft is the only leading cloud vendor that delivers a comprehensive set of hybrid cloud solutions, so customers can use the right tool for the job without compromise.
Choose the right option for each workload
Azure Stack HCI: Use existing skills, gain hyperconverged efficiency, and connect to Azure
Azure Stack HCI solutions are designed to run virtualized applications on-premises in a familiar way, with simplified access to Azure for hybrid cloud scenarios. This is a perfect solution for IT to leverage existing skills to run virtualized applications on new hyperconverged infrastructure while taking advantage of cloud services and building cloud skills.
Customers that deploy Azure Stack HCI solutions get amazing price/performance with Hyper-V and Storage Spaces Direct running on the most current industry-standard x86 hardware. Azure Stack HCI solutions include support for the latest hardware technologies like NVMe drives, persistent memory, and remote-direct memory access (RDMA) networking.
IT admins can also use Windows Admin Center for simplified integration with Azure hybrid services to seamlessly connect to Azure for:
- Azure Site Recovery for high availability and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).
- Azure Monitor, a centralized hub to track what’s happening across your applications, network, and infrastructure – with advanced analytics powered by AI.
- Cloud Witness, to use Azure as the lightweight tie breaker for cluster quorum.
- Azure Backup for offsite data protection and to protect against ransomware.
- Azure Update Management for update assessment and update deployments for Windows VMs running in Azure and on-premises.
- Azure Network Adapter to connect resources on-premises with your VMs in Azure via a point-to-site VPN.
- Azure Security Center for threat detection and monitoring for VMs running in Azure and on-premises (coming soon).
Buy from your choice of hardware partners
Azure Stack HCI solutions are available today from 15 partners offering Microsoft-validated hardware systems to ensure optimal performance and reliability. Your preferred Microsoft partner gets you up and running without lengthy design and build time and offers a single point of contact for implementation and support services.
Visit our website to find more than 70 Azure Stack HCI solutions currently available from these Microsoft partners: ASUS, Axellio, bluechip, DataON, Dell EMC, Fujitsu, HPE, Hitachi, Huawei, Lenovo, NEC, primeLine Solutions, QCT, SecureGUARD, and Supermicro.
We know that a great hybrid cloud strategy is one that meets you where you are, delivering cloud benefits to all workloads wherever they reside. Check out these resources to learn more about Azure Stack HCI and our other Microsoft hybrid offerings:
What do Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI solutions have in common?
Azure Stack HCI solutions feature the same Hyper-V based software-defined compute, storage, and networking technologies as Azure Stack. Both offerings meet rigorous testing and validation criteria to ensure reliability and compatibility with the underlying hardware platform.
How are they different?
With Azure Stack, you can run Azure IaaS and PaaS services on-premises to consistently build and run cloud applications anywhere.
Azure Stack HCI is a better solution to run virtualized workloads in a familiar way – but with hyperconverged efficiency – and connect to Azure for hybrid scenarios such as cloud backup, cloud-based monitoring, etc.
Why is Microsoft bringing its HCI offering to the Azure Stack family?
Microsoft’s hyperconverged technology is already the foundation of Azure Stack.
Many Microsoft customers have complex IT environments and our goal is to provide solutions that meet them where they are with the right technology for the right business need. Azure Stack HCI is an evolution of Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) solutions previously available from our hardware partners. We brought it into the Azure Stack family because we have started to offer new options to connect seamlessly with Azure for infrastructure management services.
Will I be able to upgrade from Azure Stack HCI to Azure Stack?
No, but customers can migrate their workloads from Azure Stack HCI to Azure Stack or Azure.
How do I buy Azure Stack HCI solutions?
Follow these steps:
- Buy a Microsoft-validated hardware system from your preferred hardware partner.
- Install Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition and Windows Admin Center for management and the ability to connect to Azure for cloud services
- Option to use your Azure account to attach management and security services to your workloads.
How does the cost of Azure Stack HCI compare to Azure Stack?
This depends on many factors.
Azure Stack is sold as a fully integrated system including services and support. It can be purchased as a system you manage, or as a fully managed service from our partners. In addition to the base system, the Azure services that run on Azure Stack or Azure are sold on a pay-as-you-use basis.
Azure Stack HCI solutions follow the traditional model. Validated hardware can be purchased from Azure Stack HCI partners and software (Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition with software-defined datacenter capabilities and Windows Admin Center) can be purchased from various existing channels. For Azure services that you can use with Windows Admin Center, you pay with an Azure subscription.
We recommend working with your Microsoft partner or account team for pricing details.
What is the future roadmap for Azure Stack HCI solutions?
We’re excited to hear customer feedback and will take that into account as we prioritize future investments.
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