Microsoft Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that lets you deliver Azure services from your organization’s datacenter. Azure Stack is designed to enable new scenarios for your modern applications in key scenarios, like edge and disconnected environments, or meeting specific security and compliance requirements. Azure Stack is offered in two deployment options to meet your needs.
Azure Stack integrated systems
Azure Stack integrated systems are offered through a partnership of Microsoft and hardware partners, creating a solution which offers cloud-paced innovation balanced with simplicity in management. Because Azure Stack is offered as an integrated system of hardware and software, you are offered the right amount of flexibility and control, while still adopting innovation from the cloud. Azure Stack integrated systems range in size from 4-12 nodes, and are jointly supported by the hardware partner and Microsoft. Use Azure Stack integrated systems to enable new scenarios for your production workloads.
What is inside Azure Stack.
Azure Stack is made of two basic components, the underlying infrastructure that customers purchase from one of Microsoft’s certified partners (initially Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo) and software that is licensed from Microsoft.
The software includes basic IaaS functions that make up a cloud, such as virtual machines, storage and virtual networking. Azure Stack includes some platform-as-a-service (PaaS) application-development features including the Azure Container Service and Microsoft’s Azure Functions serverless computing software, plus MySQL and SQL Server support. It comes with Azure Active Directory for user authentication.
Customers also have access to a wide range of third-party apps from the Azure Marketplace, including OS images from companies like Red Hat and SuSE, and templates that can be installed to run programs like Cloud Foundry, Kubernetes and Mesosphere.
On the hardware side, Azure Stack runs on a hyperconverged infrastructure stack that Microsoft and its hardware vendors have certified. The smallest production-level Azure Stack deployment is a four-server rack with three physical switches and a lifecycle management server host. Individual racks can scale up to 12 servers, and eventually, multiple racks can be scaled together. Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo are initial launch partners. Cisco plans to offer a certified Azure Stack platform based on its UCS hardware line by the end of 2017 and Huawei will roll out Azure Stack support by the end of 2018.