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Building Software Defined Infrastructure with Microsoft Azure Stack

Category: Articles On 29-09-2017

In the process of achieving the digital transformation of their organizations, IT leaders are migrating their applications and resources to the cloud. This is because the cloud offers a degree of agility and scalability that is unattainable with traditional IT. It also lifts the burden of maintaining and supporting on premise hardware infrastructures from internal IT, allowing them to focus on more valued added projects that directly contribute to the success of their organizations. According to Gartner, cloud strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world.

At the same time however, not everything can and should be in the cloud. Many companies are not comfortable with the idea of hosting proprietary information beyond the secure encasement of their firewall perimeter. Other organizations must abide by strict security policies and industry or government compliances that restrict their ability to embrace the public cloud.

“Hybrid Cloud Is the Preferred Enterprise Strategy,
but Private Cloud Adoption Fell.”

RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Report


This is why Hybrid Cloud Is the Preferred Enterprise Strategy today according to the Rightscale State of the Cloud Report in which 85% of enterprises report to have a multi cloud strategy. The hybrid cloud brings the best of both worlds. It allows companies the flexibility to host digital services in the public cloud while retaining control of data due to data sovereignty issues. By utilizing both on and off premise clouds, IT can match business needs with the optimum solution.

The challenge of implementing a hybrid cloud in the past has been the ability to manage and monitor all resources in a unified interface regardless of location. In addition, providing seamless access to applications and digital services for users has been difficult. Users today though do not care where their “stuff” is and expect the same experience of access regardless of geography.

What is Microsoft Azure Stack?
This is where Microsoft Azure Stack comes in. Microsoft Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that allows service providers and companies the ability to provide Azure services from their own datacenters. Applications and components that are designed for the Azure public cloud are fully compatible with Azure Stack. This allows you to deliver Azure consistent managed services from your data center with seamless simplicity while adhering to all security and compliance requirements.

Implementing Microsoft Azure Stack is simple as well. Microsoft has partnered with a very select group of OEM vendors such as Dell EMC to provide a turnkey implementation solution based on pre-defined, validated designs. Each partner has created their own hyper converged platform that is Azure certified and designed to run Azure services with optimum performance. Essentially, it is like having your own Azure cloud on premise.

Key benefits

  • Enjoy the flexibility and pay-per-use format of an operational costs model (OPEX) rather than the traditional fixed capital infrastructure cost model (CAPEX)
  • Utilize the same management and automation tools across both clouds
  • Implement standardized policies to all resources regardless of geography
  • Ability to redeploy virtual machines from one cloud to another
  • Leverage the power of a Microsoft’s public cloud service in a dedicated high performance hardware box that is fully under your control
  • Deliver Azure-consistent managed services from your on premise datacenter in order to meet compliance requirements
  • Obtain the same levels of agility, speed and elasticity of a public cloud for all your on premise workloads
  • Benefit from a consistent disaster-recovery and backup plan offsite with instant fail-over to another region
  • Ability to offer an Azure-consistent IaaS and PaaS platforms to your customers
  • Automated delivery of both private and public cloud resources

Start Small
Transitioning to a hybrid cloud with Microsoft Azure Stack does not require a complete makeover of your enterprise. You can start small and incrementally integrate it within your datacenter, giving you the time you and your IT team need to master this new approach of enterprise design and deployment. You can start with as little as four server nodes, making it obtainable for an SMB. A single node model is available for developers. Now even small companies can have the ability to automated IT service delivery for all Microsoft Azure based applications. As your needs and competency grows, your Azure Stack can expand as well.

Compliance
Addressing compliance guidelines and requirements for your enterprise can be a cumbersome for any enterprise today. Compound this with companies that much comply with multi-national government regulations and assuring compliancy can be severely challenging. Microsoft Azure Stack offers instant compliancy for a broad spectrum of industry-specific and international compliance standards. It provides an out-of-the box-auditing trail for the complete stack conforming to HIPAA, PCI, Fedramp and more.

Flexibility
The purpose of a hybrid cloud is to match workloads with the most optimum solution and that is what you get with Microsoft Azure Stack. Once you implement your Azure Stack, you can bring applications that currently reside in public Azure back on premise if needed. You can implement testing environments in either cloud and then transfer production ready applications to another location. You can also host frontend applications in Azure public while your data securely resides on premise. Microsoft Azure Stack gives you the unbridled agility your enterprise needs today.

Consistency
Microsoft Azure Stack is the only hybrid cloud solution that provides a consistent interface across both public and private clouds. IT is not a separate product but is an actual extension of Microsoft Azure. This allows for seamless consistency so workloads can be completely transferable. Microsoft also guarantees the consistency between clouds with regular update release cycles, so you do not need to spend resources attempting to do that on your own.

Software Defined Architecture
Dell is one of the premier OEM vendors selected by Microsoft to design and build hyperconverged solutions for Azure Stack. This all-inclusive package includes compute, storage and network resources in a 100% software defined architecture so there is no need for external proprietary storage arrays and switches. What’s more, everything is managed through a unified interface for management and monitoring.

Why Cxrus Solutions
Cloud technology requires a different skillset and approach than traditional IT. In order to assure a successful implementation, you need the right partner who has the experience and expertise to guide you through the design, purchase and implementation processes. At Cxrus, we specialize in software-defined infrastructure as well as cloud integration and design. We are also a Dell EMC Platinum Partner as well as a Certified Microsoft Azure Partner. Microsoft has the premier cloud solution, Dell has the innovative components and Cxrus has the proficiency to transform your modernize your enterprise with a hybrid cloud solution.


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