At the Ignite conference last week in Orlando, Microsoft’s hardware partners were showing off their latest Azure Stack boxes.
In conversation, one mentioned to me that Azure Stack was selling better in Europe than in the USA. Why? Because stricter compliance regulations (perhaps alongside the fact that the major cloud platforms are all based in North America) makes Azure Stack more attractive in Europe.
Azure Stack is not just “Azure for your datacentre”. It is a distinctive way to purchase IT infrastructure, where you buy the hardware but pay for the software with a usage-based model.
Azure / Azure Stack VMs are resilient so you cannot compare the value directly with simply running up a VM on your own server. Azure Stack is a premium option. The benefits are real. Microsoft mostly looks after the software, you can use the excellent Azure management tools, and you get deep integration with Azure in the cloud. Further, you can diminish the cost by scaling back at times of low demand; especially easy if you use abstracted services such as App Service, rather than raw VMs.
How big is the premium? I would be interested to hear from anyone who has done a detailed comparison, but my guess is that running your own servers with Windows Server Datacenter licenses (allowing unlimited VMs once all the cores are licensed) is substantially less expensive.
You can see therefore that there is a good fit for organizations that want to be all-in on the cloud, but need to run some servers on-premises for compliance reasons.