Virtualization Technology News and Information
Microsoft Azure Stack Technical Preview Available for Download - Enter Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft Azure Stack 

Microsoft has finally released the first technical preview of its new Azure Stack offering, the company's customized cloud bundle, after being delayed for a number of months.

So what is Azure Stack all about? 

It is Microsoft's new hybrid cloud platform product designed to provide organizations with the ability to deliver Azure services from their own on-premises data center in a way that remains consistent with the current public cloud version of Azure.

According to the company, Azure Stack is a collection of software technologies that Microsoft uses for its Azure cloud computing infrastructure.  It consists of operating systems, frameworks, languages, tools and applications they use in Azure that are being extended to individual data centers.

Organizations that want to enjoy the flexibility that the Microsoft Azure cloud provides can now do so without having to store their private company data in the "Cloud."  This has been a negating factor for some because of stringent industry guidelines that prohibit critical IT infrastructure from residing in the public cloud.  Now, those companies have the ability to leverage the same features of the popular Azure platform within the walls of their own data center, giving administrators complete control over the way IT teams deploy critical services.

If, or when, those businesses are ready (and have the permission to do so), they will be able to extend their Azure private cloud deployments by easily connecting the on-premises system to the Azure Public Cloud, ultimately creating a hybrid cloud deployment.

"We believe that Microsoft can uniquely deliver this hybrid cloud platform in a way no other technology vendor can," writes Mike Neil, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.  "We have a rich set of assets and investments across on-premises and public cloud.  We have a deep understanding of enterprise requirements for both developers and IT professionals acquired through many years of delivering transformational datacenter technologies." 

Neil continued, "We have rich experiences and learnings building and operating hyper-scale datacenters.  And with Azure Stack, we’re now doing the hard work of translating these learnings for on-premises environments so customers can benefit from speed and innovation of the cloud model without location constraints.  Microsoft is the only company that can bring the full power of a true hybrid cloud platform to our customers."

The Azure Stack Technical Preview includes these fundamental capabilities to help you deliver Azure services in your datacenter:
  • Developer and IT professional experiences: Azure portal experiences for application developers and service administrators
  • Unified application model: Azure Resource Manager
  • Foundational services: Compute (Virtual Machines and Virtual Machine Extensions), Networking (Virtual Network, Software Load Balancer, Distributed Firewall) and Storage (Blobs and Tables)
  • Core services: Subscription management (identity and quotas), role-based access control, metering and audit
  • Application components: Curated Azure Resource Manager templates and Azure-consistent VM extensions (such as Desired State Configuration and Docker/Linux integration) to help you jumpstart your Azure Stack efforts

It looks like you'll need a pretty beefy environment for the preview (this could change for future releases).  You're going to need a Dual-Socket server with a minimum of 12 Physical Cores, at least 96GB of memory, Windows Server 2016 Datacenter Edition Technical Preview 4, as well as storage considerations.  Check here for more requirements.

You can also check out this documentation to learn more on how to get started and test-drive the scenarios this Technical Preview enables. 

And when you're ready, click here to download and get started.

Published Wednesday, February 03, 2016 6:32 AM by David Marshall
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