Tag Archives: azure stack

Microsoft Azure Stack: a matter of compliance

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.

Lenovo’s Azure Stack

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.

Azure Stack on show at Microsoft Ignite

At the Expo here at Microsoft’s Ignite you can see Azure Stack – though behind glass.


Azure Stack is Microsoft’s on-premises edition of Azure, a private cloud in a box. Technical Preview 2 has just been released, with two new services: Azure Queue Storage and Azure Key Vault. You can try it out on a single server just to get a feel for it; the company calls this a “one node proof of concept”.

Azure Stack will be delivered as an appliance, hence the exhibition here. There are boxes from Dell, HP Enterprise and Lenovo on display. General availability is planned for mid-2017 according to the folk on the stand.

There is plenty of power in one of these small racks, but what if there is a fire or some other disaster? Microsoft recommends purchasing at least two, and locating them some miles from one another, so you can set up resilience just as you can between Azure regions.

Incidentally, the Expo at Ignite seems rather quiet; it is not on the way to anything other than itself, and I have to allow 10-15 minutes to walk there from the press room. I imagine the third party exhibitors may be disappointed by the attendance, though I may just have picked a quiet time. There is a huge section with Microsoft stands and this is a great way to meet some of the people on the various teams and get answers to your questions.