Microsoft releases Azure Stack, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of the cloud

Microsoft has expanded its cloud service by letting companies enjoy all the benefits of Azure within their own data centres.

Azure Stack has been rolled out across the world, and allows developers to create and run applications on their own servers but use all the Azure tools that cloud-only professionals enjoy.

The service will appeal to companies that have a so-called hybrid model – using servers on their own premises as well as Microsoft’s cloud. Using Azure Stack will cut latency and connectivity issues as data is processed on-site, rather than online. It will also allow certain industries – such as banking or healthcare – to meet regulations or policy requirements regarding uploading data to the cloud.

“Azure Stack is an extension of Azure, thereby enabling a truly consistent hybrid cloud platform,” Mike Neil, Corporate Vice-President of Azure Infrastructure and Management Consistency, wrote in a blog post. “Consistency removes hybrid cloud complexity, which helps you maximize your investments across cloud and on-premises environments. Consistency enables you to build and deploy applications using the exact same approach – same APIs, same DevOps tools, same portal – leading to increased developer productivity. Consistency enables you to develop cloud applications faster by building on Azure Marketplace application components. Consistency enables you to confidently invest in people and processes knowing that those are fully transferable.

“The ability to run consistent Azure services on-premises gets you full flexibility to decide where applications and workloads should reside. An integrated systems-based delivery model ensures that you can focus on what matters to your business (i.e., your applications), while also enabling us to deliver Azure innovation to you faster.”

Microsoft announced the release of Azure Stack at Inspire, the company’s annual partner conference. Customers can order the solution from Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo, with the first systems shipping in September.

Microsoft Azure regions
Microsoft Azure regions

Microsoft has adopted “pay-as-you-use” and capacity-based models for the new service. Azure storage starts at £0.005 a month, virtual machines are available from £0.006 an hour and the App Service costs £0.042 an hour.

Saxo Bank, the Danish firm that specializes in online trading and investment, uses Azure Stack because of its flexible model, while ICT group Mitsui Knowledge Industry adopted the service to modernize its applications. The fact Azure Stack addresses connectivity issues means it is also proving popular for operators of factories, cruise ships and mines.

Azure Stack users can choose to have the service delivered and managed for them via multiple partners, including Avanade, Daisy, Evry, Rackspace and Tieto.

Everything you need to know about Azure

You can try Azure Stack for free as a single-server deployment. Click here for further information.

Microsoft is one of the biggest cloud operators, with more than 40 Azure regions across the world. Around 90% of the 500 largest companies in the US use Microsoft’s cloud, and 120,000 new Azure subscriptions are logged every month.