February 1, 2022

Flexible Datacentre infrastructure delivered as an Azure hybrid service

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Flexible Datacentre infrastructure delivered as an Azure hybrid service

If you’re an IT Director, CIO or Infrastructure Manager in either local government, university or a hospital, looking to invest in your datacentre or storage solutions, it can often feel a bit baffling. It is not surprising really, looking back to 2020, Microsoft’s messaging was clear: ‘migrate everything to the Azure Cloud’, and how often did you hear someone say that the “on-premise datacentre is dead?”

But fast forward 18 months and Microsoft has been developing and enhancing a new infrastructure operating system to be delivered as an Azure hybrid service. A quick internet search and you’ll reach the Azure website, complete with loud and clear messaging, On-premises, hybrid, multi-cloud, or at the edge—create secure, future-ready cloud solutions on Azure’.

What’s changed?

Azure now is about unifying on-premise, hybrid, and multi-cloud infrastructures. The future is hybrid. Microsoft is actively encouraging customers to extend Azure services to their environment of choice, whether that is their datacentre, edge locations, remote offices or public cloud. They want you to take Azure to the data and applications, not just the other way around.

Azure Hybrid

Facilitating Azure innovation

Many of the solutions we offer at Trustmarque from our traditional datacentre partners, can now be offered using Microsoft technologies, delivered from Azure, and this innovation is increasing.  Did you know for example that with Azure ARC, you can manage on-premise server and virtualisation infrastructure from Azure?

Over recent years, our customers across the public sector and enterprise organisations have chosen to host many of their applications in Azure, but cloud is not necessarily the best option for every workload and many of these same organisations continue to host applications and services on local infrastructure, to keep operating expenses lower for example, or because the data needs to be near the users or application for performance or simply to stick with a hosting strategy that already works.

Simplifying with hyperconverged infrastructure

To support these workloads hosted on-premises, many have increasingly been embracing hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) as the preferred way to deploy servers in the datacentre and lower costs, improve performance and availability and simplify operations.

Analyst and vendor predictions suggest that the HCI market will continue to experience significant growth over the next 5 years so it’s not going away. Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI, is a hyperconverged infrastructure operating system, delivered as an Azure service through an Azure subscription. You just run it on hardware from your preferred server vendor, such as Dell, Lenovo, HPE, and many more.

Modular Azure Stack HCI

Once you’ve built a hybrid environment using Azure Stack HCI, customers can add additional Azure services, such as Azure Security Centre, Azure Site Recovery, Azure Monitor (and more that are added regularly).

If organisations are interested in Virtual Desktop but they don’t want to use cloud, whilst it’s in preview currently, Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI will soon allow you to deploy Azure Virtual Desktop Service on an on-premises Azure Stack HCI infrastructure.

Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI is an on-premises implementation of the popular Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), which automates running containerised applications at scale, making it quicker to get started hosting Linux and Windows containers in your own datacentre.

The integration of Azure Stack HCI with Azure services enables you to modernise your aging server and storage infrastructure in an optimal way, gaining many of the benefits of hybrid cloud. The world of IT is undergoing constant change. To remain competitive, organisations must keep up with the ever-growing complexity and massive speed of innovation. Azure Stack HCI from Microsoft is the next level of innovation in HCI.

Interested in hearing more?

If you want to learn more, please contact me or your Trustmarque Account Manager for more information. This Microsoft video has more information on discovering Azure Stack HCI. In next month’s issue we will delve further into the inner workings of Azure Stack and why it should be on your digital transformation wish list.

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