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April 27, 2016

What to Consider When Upgrading to the New Microsoft Azure Stack Service

The public cloud is being adopted in full force as businesses increasingly migrate applications from their on-premises data centers in hopes of cutting costs and improving agility. In the process, Microsoft Azure is emerging as one of the infrastructures at the forefront of service clouds, and it is starting to make a dent in the stronghold public cloud providers Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google have on the marketplace.

While AWS and Google are two of Azure’s biggest competitors and still two of the largest players in the market, many businesses don’t consider AWS or Google to be able to cater to the needs of an enterprise. This is where Microsoft has excelled with its expansive product portfolio and is making a name for itself with Azure.

Microsoft has built a large global cloud network and is achieving its own foothold in the marketplace. Even RackSpace has added Azure to its portfolio to better serve its own customers. Similarly, IBM SoftLayer and Microsoft have recently announced that they plan to support the other’s enterprise software on some of their own cloud services. This support will make it easier for customers to utilize each of the company’s products while on the other company’s cloud services.

The IBM/Microsoft partnership strengthens both companies’ enterprise cloud support chops. But before upgrading to the new Azure Stack service, there are several things you might want to know.

What to Consider:

Why would I want to run a cloud service in my own data center? You might be asking, “Isn’t transferring workloads to a third party to minimize my IT’s management impression the entire purpose of the cloud?” Well, yes, that is definitely one of the reasons organizations move their information to the public cloud; however it’s not the sole reason. What Azure Stack allows us to do is hold the implementation of our applications on-premises. If we’d like, the applications that can be shifted into the Azure cloud can transfer from the hybrid Azure Stack cloud and over to the public Azure cloud whenever we see fit.

Can a hybrid cloud environment really benefit my company? With the new Microsoft Azure Stack service, organizations can achieve more than ever before. The company has grown its Azure cloud offering from an "also ran" to a compelling alternative to AWS and Google. Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that enables your business to supply Azure services from your data center to help you accomplish (and save) more than you ever thought possible.

The recent 2016 release is a platform that you can deploy on-premises and has the abilities of a hyper-scale public cloud. This model provides consistency across private, hosted and public clouds. You can even run and use the services that are available in a public cloud in your business’s own data center. The hybrid cloud model allows customers to manage in both public environments and on-premises.

Do you need an extremely secure environment? One scenario could be if a company wants or requires the scalability that Azure provides, but needs it in an especially private, secure environment. Some companies might have applications that they would like to scale and run in a public manner, but they likely want to do this within the limits of their on-premises data centers. For these companies, Azure Stack gives them that ability and provides them with effective and efficient operations. This brings companies into a system that offers them a passageway to a public model if and when they choose to move that way.

What are the cost benefits? The public cloud market is competitive, and Microsoft’s Azure pricing remains competitive, as well. The main focus for them has been on reducing the cost of Amazon’s Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2) instances running Linux by 5 percent through most areas. Also, unlike the legacy model of buying your server and app licenses individually or on your own licensing program, when using Microsoft Azure, you only have to pay for what you actually use. When approached thoughtfully, this model can result in significant cost savings.

The Azure website even has several tools available to help you estimate the total cost of implementation. It provides anyone the opportunity to utilize Azure management capabilities in their on-premises data center. Azure Stack users will gain the benefits of manageability and speed of deployment, as well as the simple economic benefit of having one organizational structure throughout both public and private clouds.

Taking the Next Step

The recent release of Azure Stack has created a lot of buzz and excitement around the possibilities that this new technology could potentially bring. Azure is much more beneficial for cloud and on-premises hybrid applications than its competitors. It will transform on-premises data center resources for premium agility and provide substantial cost-saving benefits. It offers solid management tools and is surprisingly open-source friendly. Customers are given an option to host the new services that power the application experience in Microsoft’s data center, or they can decide to do this in their own data center where their IT staff operate them. In its broadest sense, Azure is the platform for customers to modernize and grow their application portfolio.

Our Accelerance Certified Expert (ACE) partners are more than comfortable developing in the public and hybrid clouds. For companies looking to make a successful move to the Azure Stack service, it is necessary to find a partner that is committed to excellence and innovative problem solving. Accelerance handles the search process for you by finding the most qualified and certified development team to fit your needs. Contact Accelerance today to get started!

Andy Hilliard

As CEO, Andy leads and advocates for the globalization and collaboration of great software teams with companies in search of talent, innovation and a globally-distributed extension of their engineering function and culture. Andy founded the ground-breaking nearshore software development services company, Isthmus Costa...

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