The Azure cloud platform provides over 200 services and products to help enterprises create or run applications in the cloud. Azure Stack is an extension of the Azure roadmap used by companies looking for a hybrid data solution versus relying entirely on a public cloud.
Enterprises run Azure Services from a proprietary on-premises data center for better security and reliability. Let’s take a deeper look at Azure Stack covers and how you can start building an Azure Stack roadmap.
What is Azure Stack?
Azure Stack allows organizations to use Azure solutions within places like customer data centers, edge locations, and remote offices. From there, businesses can run hybrid applications the same way they do in Azure Cloud. App developers can build and deploy solutions simultaneously to onsite data centers and cloud environments, ensuring a consistent user experience.
Making Azure Stack part of your arsenal puts your organization in a position to provide services in a world where everything operates remotely. An Azure Stack template allows customers consistent remote access to computing services and applications from anywhere.
What’s Included in the Azure Stack Portfolio?
Azure Stack services include Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Edge. Most enterprises start looking to the Azure Stack marketplace when their operations don’t benefit from a complete move to the Azure cloud. Below is a breakdown of each service.
Azure Stack Hub
Developers using Azure to build modern cloud apps may run into problems like latency and connection issues. Azure Stack Hubs deals with that by processing information locally before moving the data to Azure to perform deeper analytics. It’s possible to deploy Azure Stack Hub without an internet connection to Azure.
Azure Stack Hub allows developers to deploy apps on-premises and adhere to regulatory or policy requirements without making code changes. For example, you can create financial reports or perform global audits with the assurance that your code meets the standards of your industry. You can extend the capabilities of existing apps or create new ones using architecture like:
- Azure Microservices
- Azure Serverless
- Azure Containers
- Azure Services
Customers retain complete control over all Azure Stack Hub architecture. You can set up connected or disconnected services at the edge for use in remote locations or places with unreliable network connectivity, like a cruise ship or airplane. You can use the Azure Stack development kit (ASDK) to review the Azure Stack Hub.
Azure Stack HCI
Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI) helps Azure Stack customers save money when they need to host applications and services locally. Azure Stack HCI supports local infrastructure while still making space for cloud integration. It combines validated Microsoft hardware with the following data center management tools and components:
- Support for running virtual machines (VMs) on physical hosts using Microsoft Hyper-V
- Software-defined storage
- PowerShell scripting and automation
- Integration with Azure Arc and Azure Integration
Organizations can use Azure Stack HCI to replace aging network appliances or storage arrays without majorly restructuring the current architecture.
Azure Stack Edge
Azure Stack Edge supports the needs of companies needing to deploy devices that support Business Intelligence (BI), Big Data, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Azure Stack Edge allows companies to leverage cloud services without worrying about bandwidth, latency or connectivity issues that could impact the customer experience.
You can work with any solution, including those powered by AI, to work without requiring an internet connection. That way, your business can process information on-premises in a shorter period. Azure Stack Edge Technology consists of:
Microsoft supplies a rack-mounted server and an Azure portal, called Azure Stack Edge Resource, to assist in managing Azure Stack Edge devices. There’s also a local web UI you can use to perform Azure Stack Edge device functions like:
- Shutting down and restarting devices
- Managing logs
- Running diagnostics
- Contacting support
You can support VMs and Kubernetes clusters using Azure Stack Edge. You can use SMB or NSF file sharing protocols to connect network clients. Azure Stack lets you combine local processing and storage using an optimized connection to your cloud resource.
Setting Up Your Azure Stack Roadmap
Azure Stack customers can purchase products from the Azure marketplace through an approved vendor to ensure constancy and reliability. Before you can start working on your Azure Stack roadmap, you need to think about the following:
- Do you have everything needed to support Azure Stack hardware?
- What specific products do you need from the Azure Stack marketplace?
- Do your developers currently need further Azure Stack roadmap certification?
- Do you need to support AI, machine learning (ML), or Big Data analytics?
1. Go Over Requirements
For those with disconnected or edge systems, consider any regulatory or policy requirements you need to accommodate. Do you want to deploy your Azure Stack while connected to or disconnected from the internet?
If you’re looking to use Azure Stack Hub, remember that your identity providers would be limited to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) or Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS).
Management is done through PowerShell, the administrator portal, or a user portal. Azure Stack Hub works well for organizations looking to deliver solutions like Azure virtual machines (Azure VMs), web apps, or SQL Server databases.
2. Consider Your Use Cases
If you want to keep your server footprint low, you can set up Azure Stack HCI using only two servers and switchless back-to-back networking. Azure Stack HCI supports the computing requirements of retail stores, branch offices, and other edge sites. You can affordably provide high availability to users, ensuring support for business-critical edge workloads.
Azure Stack Hub offers more consistency with Azure by restricting Hyper-V configuration. Companies working with traditional apps like SQL Server, Exchange, and SharePoint might want to consider going with Azure Stack HCI. It supports the virtualization of Windows Server roles and does not restrict your access to Hyper-V features.
3. Think About Computing Needs
Your Microsoft Azure Stack roadmap should include Azure Stack Hub if you’re looking to modernize the way you deploy apps. It also supports DevOps practices like continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) and infrastructure as code.
Consider Azure Stack Edge if you want to tap into cloud computing AI services without an internet connection. Adding the technology to your Azure Stack roadmap lets you use the same capabilities powering Azure, including computing and containerized services.
4. Find the Right Partner
Figuring out what Azure Stack components are best for your company can be challenging. It’s a good idea to bring in someone that understands Azure Stack. They can help you create an Azure Stack roadmap that works best for your business environment.
Get Help With Your Azure Stack Roadmap
Need help getting your Azure stack roadmap started? We can help. Learn more here.