Microsoft has announced the first technical preview of Azure Stack, the company’s new on-premise, private cloud environment. The timing seems to validate my note in January that Azure Stack is the likely catalyst for the General Availability of the Azure Portal. Azure Stack is designed to look and operate exactly like the public version of Azure, based on the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) deployment model with a portal identical to the new Azure Portal.
With Azure Stack, Microsoft hopes to simplify hybrid scenarios by providing consistency across cloud environments – and Azure Stack built from the same code base as the Azure public cloud. Microsoft is again executing on its cloud first strategy, and giving enterprises enhanced abilities to bring Azure services to their own datacenters with the possibility of deploying applications to either Azure or Azure Stack and enabling their desired hybrid cloud scenarios.
Currently, Azure Stack is set for a full release in the fourth quarter of this year. Until then, the platform will only have a subset of Azure’s public cloud services – but eventually, Microsoft plans to bring IaaS and higher-level PaaS services from their public cloud solution to Azure Stack.
Microsoft’s Azure Stack announcement fits with their hybrid vision for cloud which should continue to resonate with enterprises that are looking to take advantage of the efficiency and agility of the public cloud, but still have concerns about security or on-premise integration requirements. Azure Stack builds on the private cloud story that Microsoft began with Windows Azure Pack. There are many differences in this second iteration and the full picture between these two platforms will continue to unfold over the coming year.
According to Microsoft, Azure Stack will empower developers to maximize their productivity and efficiency for hybrid cloud scenarios as they can take advantage of a “write once, deploy to Azure or Azure Stack’ approach. In addition, the Azure ecosystem can be leveraged to develop applications in Azure Stack. IT professionals can deliver robust Azure services to businesses quickly, while still complying with select requirements they may have around security and compliance. Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Cloud, Mike Niel, says that Azure Stack enables businesses to take advantage of the hybrid cloud on their own terms by “giving businesses the freedom to decide where applications and workloads reside without being constrained by technology.”
For more information on Azure Stack, check out Microsoft’s guide here.