Today, most of the organizations are moving their applications to public cloud in order to focus on developing modern applications rather than managing infrastructure. Though some application developers face difficulties such as latency, intermittent connectivity, and regulations, a move to the public Cloud is more cost-effective.
Understanding Azure Stack
Microsoft offers Azure stack which is a hybrid cloud platform that helps deliver Azure services from organization’s datacenter. It enables Azure management for customers, allowing them to build and deploy applications the same way they do on the Azure public Cloud. Customers can work towards a consistent application development and implement a common DevOps approach across cloud platforms. In addition, Azure Stack supports Azure management through open source application platforms and languages, including Python, Java, PHP, and Node.js. Azure Stack can be deployed as Azure Stack Integrated Systems or Azure Stack Development Kit.
How Does Azure Stack Software Work?
Azure Stack delivers IaaS and PaaS services into your datacenter so you can easily blend your enterprise applications such as SQL Server, SharePoint, and Exchange with modern distributed applications and services while maintaining centralized oversight.
Using Azure Resource Manager for Azure management, you get consistent application deployments every time, whether provisioned to Azure in the public Cloud or Azure Stack in a datacenter environment. This approach is unique in the industry when it comes to Azure Cloud service and gives your developers the flexibility to create applications once and then decide where to deploy them later – all with role-based access control to meet your compliance needs.
Benefits of Azure Stack
- Only hybrid cloud platform that is truly consistent with a leading public Cloud.
- Offers foundational (IaaS) services and PaaS/SaaS services where customers and IT gradually transition to.
- Transfer from capital infrastructure cost (capex) to operational costs (opex) by using a pay-per-use consumption Cloud model.
- Your own a piece of public Azure in a box with dedicated performance and dedicated security under your control.
- The new Azure Cloud service model inherits DevOps practices and delivers continuous integration and deployment of applications.
- By using agile DevOps practices, IT transitions toward a stable profit center instead of the traditional fluctuating cost center.
- Companies are able to cut costs by having a single pane of glass detailing all usage and costs. They are now able to develop financial incentives instead of the usual technology incentives.
- Azure services offer mature provider centric self-service functionality with RBAC through portal and APIs.
- Ability to purchase Azure Stack-as-a-Service (capex vs. opex) with predictable monthly costs based on usage. There will be pay-per-use offers based on software usage but also based on the hardware usage — all in one pay-per-use package.
- Azure Stack is offered as a closed appliance (sealed hosts), its software and hardware infrastructure is totally automated and secure, it allows you to cut down on infrastructure management and integration costs.
- Azure Stack is a new future-ready private Cloud solution with a public Cloud model concentrated around the application. It directly competes with established infrastructure-focused private Cloud solutions such as Nutanix, VMware, and OpenStack.
- IT pros can now focus more on the application and the business value behind that application, gradually transitioning to CloudOps or DevOps practices.
- It offers portability and consistency across platforms. Deploy, export, or redeploy complete PaaS applications and IaaS environments as code in the same region, another Azure Stack region, or in Azure Cloud service.
- Benefit from the agility of a flexible, speedy, and elastic Cloud, and robust Azure services.
- Using the public Cloud model in your own datacenter is a safer choice and gives more control compared to a public Cloud. Nobody ever got fired by placing workloads in their own datacenter, so it’s a safe bet.
- Instant compliance for international and industry-specific compliance standards by placing your workloads on Azure or Azure Stack services.
- Out-of-the-box auditing trail for the complete stack conforming to Hipaa, PCI, Fedramp and more.
- Very powerful reseller model. Delegated (downstream) providers enable resellers to offer your Azure Stack services to their customers.
- Ability to choose a shared or closed dedicated environment. Azure Stack in the Hosted Shared Cloud (Provider subscription) versus Azure Stack infrastructure deployment in your own Private dedicated Cloud.
The abovementioned points are the benefits of Azure Stack but still there are some limitations which shouldn’t be ignored-
Limitations with Azure Stack
Azure Stack is associated with a single Azure Active Directory or Active Directory Federation Services identity provider. One can only create multiple users in this directory and assign subscriptions to each user. Furthermore, limited physical resources are available for tenant resources if all components are deployed on the single machine which is not intended for scale or performance evaluation. Likewise, networking scenarios are limited due to the single host/NIC requirement.
- Edge and disconnected solutions
- Meeting specific security compliance and policy requirements such as auditing and financial reporting
- An on-premises hybrid cloud environment
To summarize, Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud solution which is cost effective and provides the benefits of cloud computing on-premises environment which is the need of the hour today.