Dell, HPE reveal systems for Microsoft’s forthcoming Azure Stack software

Dell Technologies Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) yesterday unveiled a bunch of new integrated systems and services for Microsoft’s upcoming Azure Stack software, in moves aimed at boosting each company’ hybrid cloud efforts.

Azure Stack is a piece of software that will, when it’s finally released, allow organizations to replicate Microsoft’s Azure cloud in their own on-premises data centers. It’s believed to be a central part of Microsoft’s hybrid cloud strategy going forwards, which envisions a future wherein most enterprises will choose to host some of their applications and workloads in public clouds, while keeping more sensitive ones secured in their own data centers, or “private clouds.”

The idea behind Dell’s and HPE’s new systems is that they’ll help businesses that wish to follow the hybrid cloud approach build on-premises infrastructure that has the same agility and flexibility as public cloud platforms like Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform.

“Many enterprises would like to host Azure within their data centers for performance, security or compliance reasons, and many service providers would like to offer Azure-compatible services for data sovereignty or other targeted services,” Paul Miller, HPE’s vice president of marketing for converged data center infrastructure, said in a statement. “HPE is teaming up with Microsoft to deliver the right mix of on- and off-premises Azure services with built-in security, operations management, pay-as-you-go pricing and the expertise that provides unmatched flexibility and cost savings for enterprise workloads.”

Microsoft’s General Manager of Product Marketing Mike Schutz agreed, saying that his company and HPE share the view that “hybrid cloud capabilities and consistency across public and private cloud environments help customers accelerate their cloud strategy.”

Just this week, Microsoft announced the release of Azure Stack Technical Preview 2. However, the official release of Azure Stack won’t come until summer of next year, when it will be bundled with pre-validated integrated solutions, with Dell, HPE and Lenovo Group Ltd. all named as official partners. Dell and HPE both already sell systems capable of running Microsoft’s Azure software, but today’s announcement is a significant expansion of both company’s portfolios.

HPE said its Azure Stack offering will be based on its ProLiant DL380, offering compute, storage, networking and software in a single integrated appliance. The solution will provide access to both Azure public and private cloud services, and allow data and workloads to be moved between the two more easily. Users will also be able to choose a pay-as-you-go pricing option under HPE’s Flexible Capacity program, which will also unify billing of private and public clouds. The integrated system will be made available in mid-2017, at the same time as Azure Stack is officially released, but HPE said it’s offering consulting services as of today.

As for Dell, its infrastructure arm Dell-EMC said its launching two new validated systems for Azure software along with new Azure cloud services. According to Jim Ganthier, senior vice president of the validated solutions organization within Dell-EMC’s Converged Platforms Solutions Division, the new systems and services are aimed at making it easier for companies to migrate to cloud environments. The two companies “are working to both simplify and accelerate customers’ journey to the cloud, helping them build individualized cloud solutions that are future-proofed for business and IT transformation,” Ganthier said in a statement. Dell-EMC is also offering up two new Azure Cloud Services, based around backup, development and test labs and business continuity.

Photo Credit: Sentifiag Flickr via Compfight cc

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