What’s in Microsoft Azure Stack

Some BOM’ing of 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.IDC Data Center Networking Research Analyst Brad Casemore says he believes customers will need to run at least a 10 Gigabit Ethernet cabling with dual-port mixing. Converged network interface cards, support for BGP and data center bridging are important too. Microsoft estimates that a full-sized, 12-rack server unit of Azure Stack can supply about 400 virtual machines with 2 CPUs and 7 GB of RAM, with resiliency.

And Lydia explains the “people want private cloud ¯_(ツ)_/¯” angle:

“This is definitely a plus in the Microsoft portfolio,” says Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst Lydia Leong, but she says it’s not right for every customer. “I don’t think this is a fundamental game-changer in the dynamics of the IaaS market,” she notes, but “this is going to be another thing to compel Microsoft-centric organizations to use Azure.”

Leong expects this could be beneficial for customers who want to use Azure but some reason such as regulations, data sensitivity, or location of data prevents them from using the public cloud. If a customer has sensitive data they’re not willing to put in the public cloud, they could deploy Azure Stack behind their firewall to process data, then relatively easily interact with applications and data in the public cloud.

Source: “Azure Stack: Microsoft’s private-cloud platform and what IT pros need to know about it,” Brandon Butler

ABB & Microsoft – more software eating 3D objects, i.e., IoT

Microsoft helping out ABB with some cloud ‘n’ IoT fun:

The most significant of these is a new alliance with Microsoft, whose Azure public cloud has been chosen to underpin ABB’s cloud, IoT and digital services across the ABB group. The companies will also work together on projects and services, although the extent of this will emerge over time. ABB also announced an internal reorganization and the appointment of a chief digital officer. All of these moves are part of ABB’s Next Level strategy, now in its third iteration, which sets out targets and priorities aimed at maintaining or increasing growth, profitability and value.

The agreement with Microsoft will help ABB offer cloud-based digital services across all its divisions. Functions such as monitoring, analytics, control, billing, forecasting, machine learning and many others will be delivered via applications and services hosted in Azure by Microsoft.

On ABB:

It has annual revenue of $35.4bn (2015) from operations in 100 countries, supplying switchgear, breakers, substations, generators, uninterruptible power supplies and power electronics, as well as management software.

Source: “ABB says the Next Level is digital, and Microsoft will help it get there”.

Link: Googles challenge in enterprise cloud

Post Alphabet, where any previous inhibitions about pursuing new hobbies have evaporated, it is even harder to imagine the “capital allocators” choosing to invest in thousands of enterprise sales and support people given alternatives involving life extension and/or space elevators. After all, won’t the robotics division eventually solve any problem that today requires humans?

The rest of the state of cloud is pretty good. It’s a regular “pulls no punches and punches everyone” type situation.

If you threw in some charts and numbers, you’d have an even fancier missive, but qualitatively: just Jim-dandy.

Microsoft targeting $20bn cloud business by 2018, currently at $6.3bn run rate

Microsoft Corp. wants to reach annualized revenue of $20 billion in its corporate cloud business in the fiscal year that ends in June 2018.

At the moment, it’s:

The company last week said it has a current run rate of $6.3 billion for the cloud business, which includes its Azure data-center services and cloud versions of Office software and customer management programs.

Microsoft targeting $20bn cloud business by 2018, currently at $6.3bn run rate

I was on The New Stack Analyst podcast today along with Nancy Gohring, one of the tech reports who’s work I’ve always enjoyed, and, of course, Alex Williams.

We discuss Nancy’s recent piece on Azure cloud seeming to grow faster than Amazon’s cloud, the problem with figuring comparisons like this out, some different scenarios for big cloud vendor success and failure based on where the packaged software market goes, and then DaaS and WaaS. The last is a topic I know less about than I’d like, but that never stops a analyst from talking about a topic…at length.

Pretty wide-ranging topics, but all trying to sort through what “IT” is becoming with all this cloud nonsense running around.

My connection was slow so I shut down my video. Enjoy milkman meets pie man.

The two cloud buyers

This anecdote sums up an annoying problem on cloud marketing (and product management):

At the break I chatted with a somewhat bemused attendee who had come in the hope of learning about whether he should migrate some or all of his small company’s server requirements to Azure. I explained about Office 365 and Azure Active Directory which he said was more relevant to him than the intricacies of software development. It turns out that the Azure User Group is really about software development using Azure services, which is only one perspective on Microsoft’s cloud platform.

There are (at least!) two differer buyers for “cloud” now-a-days: the operations and admin staff who keep raw infrastructure an (packaged) applications up an running, the developer who wants to write new code and run deploy it to cloud services to run (or use those cloud services as middleware). Make sure you know which one you are – or which one you’re pitching to!

Of course, there’s “DevOps,” which seeks to conflate the two of them together, which makes it, I guess, a more efficient marketing construct.

And then there’s another group: actual end-users who just want services without all the Morlockian “infrastructure” crap. SaaS!

Once “cloud” and “IT” become synonymous, nailing all these and other fiddly segments is even more important.

The two cloud buyers

Microsoft goes bonkers for cross-platform

With these changes Microsoft has shifted its emphasis from Windows developers building Windows apps via Windows Azure to all developers building all apps via Microsoft Azure – an important distinction and one likely to grow more apparent over the coming months.

It sounds like Build is a nice conference with some dramatic changes from previous Microsoft policy (strong ties to Windows and NIH). To be fair, many bits and pieces on Microsoft have long been “heterogenous,” it just wasn’t emphasized too much as a big deal. All of this should help.

Microsoft goes bonkers for cross-platform