5 Things to Look for Before Jumping on Board with an Azure Stack Vendor

When someone tells me I can have it all, it’s usually too good to be true

Yet, that’s exactly what Microsoft® is delivering to cloud customers with its popular Microsoft Azure Stack cloud platform.

Microsoft Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that enables you to deliver Azure-consistent services within your own data center. That means you can have the power and flexibility of Azure public cloud services — completely under your own control.

Sound too good to be true? Not according to the myriad of customers who have already deployed Azure, making it one of the fastest-growing cloud platforms today. And its growth shows no signs of slowing down.

Azure Stack lets you leverage the same tools and processes to build apps for both private and public cloud, and then deploy them to the cloud that best meets your business, regulatory, and technical needs. It also allows you to speed development by using pre-built solutions from the Azure Marketplace, including many open-source tools and technologies.

The 5 key capabilities to keep in mind when choosing an Azure Stack solution provider

Before you get started with Azure Stack, take some time to determine the best solution that will fit your needs. Azure Stack is only available as an integrated system from a select group of vendors. Each of these vendors offer different capabilities, features, and services, so make sure the solution you select delivers in these five key areas:

1. Configuration flexibility

Flexibility is important because you want your solution to fit seamlessly into your existing IT environment. Look for a solution that gives you the greatest number of configuration options possible. After all, the more customizable a solution is, the more compatible it will be with your current environment and future needs.  

As a fully customizable solution, you want:

  • The exact size to meet your application requirements
  • The processor type that’s right for your workloads
  • Your choice of memory
  • Scalable storage capacity
  • Support for third-party networking switches, power supplies, and rack options

2. High capacity and performance

Capacity and performance are important because you want to run workloads as fast as possible. Many applications – such as analytics – demand extremely high levels of performance, which can be a challenge when using the public cloud. Running your workloads in an on-premises Azure Stack environment can give you the performance you need. But make sure you check out all of your hardware options to ensure you are getting the highest capacity and performance possible for your money.

3. Pay-as-you-consume pricing

If you deploy your Azure Stack solution using a consumption-based model, you’ll be able to reduce costs by leveraging cloud-style economics for the hardware and the cloud services. This approach gives you:

  • Rapid scalability
  • Variable costs aligned to metered usage
  • No upfront expense
  • Enterprise-grade support

4. High level of expertise

When choosing a solution, look for the vendors that can provide the expertise you will need to help you develop a comprehensive hybrid cloud strategy. Also look for a team that can deliver professional services that will meet your use case, design, and implementation needs.

5. Try before you buy

What could be better than a try before you buy approach to Azure Stack? Select a vendor that can provide you with an innovation center. These centers can get you can get up to speed on the Azure Stack solution prior to purchase, giving you the information you need to make the right decisions. At an innovation center, you can:

  • Access the latest Azure Stack software and hardware
  • Implement a proof-of-concept
  • Test your use cases to your hybrid cloud

And finally, an innovation center lets you see all of the key capabilities in action. You can experiment using highly flexible configurations while testing performance and capacity. And you can see how everything works together to reduce risk and accelerate time to value.

How the Azure Stack offering from HPE stacks up

HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack is a fully integrated hybrid cloud solution that delivers Azure-compatible, software-defined infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) on hardware manufactured by industry-leader, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE).

HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack is the only solution available that meets the five key capabilities listed above.

  • It is the most customizable solution available, providing the greatest number of configuration options.
  • It is uniquely architected to achieve both high memory capacity at 768 GB RAM and high performance at full 2400 MHz memory speed, increasing memory bandwidth by up to 28% compared to other, same capacity solutions.
  • HPE is the only infrastructure provider that gives you true, consumption-based IT for Azure Stack, making pay-as-you-consume pricing with HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity an attractive option for many.
  • Over 4,000 HPE experts are trained on Azure and hybrid cloud, ensuring you will deploy with confidence.
  • The HPE-Microsoft Innovation Centers, run jointly by HPE and Microsoft, let you try before you buy, while working with hybrid cloud and Azure experts.

Co-engineered by HPE and Microsoft and based on a 30-year partnership, this joint solution provides the five key capabilities you want in your Azure Stack solution.

To learn more, visit HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack or watch this short 2 minute video. You can also view the webinar, Hewlett Packard Enterprise: the clear choice for your Azure Stack solution.

About Paul Miller

Paul Miller is Vice President of Marketing for the Software-Defined and Cloud Group at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). Learn about HPE’s approach to developing and managing hybrid cloud infrastructure by checking out the HPE OneSphere website. Read more about composable infrastructure through the e-book, Composable Infrastructure for Dummies. And to find out how HPE can help you determine a workload placement strategy that meets your service level agreements, visit HPE Pointnext.

To read more articles from Paul Miller, check out the HPE Converged Data Center Infrastructure blog.