First, what is Azure Stack? It is pretty simple really, Azure Stack is essentially Microsoft Azure, but provided to you for you to install and run. This is a key point, Azure Stack is not an environment that emulates the public Azure for you, it functions as an extension of public Azure, bringing agility and innovative services to on-prem environments. This is a cool concept and to my knowledge unique. But why should you care?
While I imagine there are many great aspects to Azure Stack, what jumps out at me is the ability seamlessly manage your private resources the same way you do your public resources — at least your public Azure resources. This is true as you are simply running multiple locations of the same infrastructure services. What is less obvious, for running workloads on a PaaS, this is great. Furthermore – the ability to burst out to public Azure and/or allow only certain applications to go public enhances security capabilities for enterprise app dev.
In my discussions with many IT shops today, I am a PM with SUSE working with our upcoming Cloud Foundry and Kubernetes solutions, I am increasingly encountering the desire to run application across private / public boundaries. Let’s consider this from the Cloud Foundry perspective. I may want to deploy and manage an application across a multitude of containers which spans dozens of VMs. With Cloud Foundry, I can easily manage this need. I can scale up or out, or back in as needed. And actually, I can do this in a private cloud or in a public cloud environment. All I have to do is ensure that the needed infrastructure support is available and configurable.
At this point you might think, well if Cloud Foundry handles everything, do I care about the underlying Azure or Azure Stack? In my experience, you will.
Ensuring the infrastructure resources are available and configured for use so things operate as you expect can still be work. And this work and how it is done varies by the infrastructure service — if you have different infrastructures to manage internally vs. publicly, it is up to you to make sure they are in the proper state for your goals. This is where having the same, not even similar, but the same systems running in your private enterprise as you have running on your public services removes a whole set of variables you will have to worry about. Basically, this simplifies the work needed to ensure your production systems operate as they need to.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the market, but here at SUSE, we will ensure that our application, devops tooling, and platform services fully support this really interesting approach. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do with SUSE and Azure Stack today – check out another blog here: https://www.suse.com/communities/blog/suse-enterprise-linux-microsofts-hybrid-cloud/