Saturday, 29 July 2017

Microsoft Azure Stack - Introduction - Part 1

Hello Everyone,

Today, I am starting a new Blog Series on new Microsoft upcoming Product - AZURE STACK (Hybrid Cloud Platform). 

This post is an introduction about Azure Stack which describes below key points:

  • What is Azure Stack?
  • Comparison with Azure?
  • What are Key Features?
  • What services You can build on Azure Stack for Your customers?

NOTE: 

Many people get confused between below Microsoft Clouds Terms so use correct name:
  • Windows Azure Pack (WAP) - Private Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure - Public Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure Stack - Hybrid Cloud


Let's start with Introduction about Azure Stack...

AZURE STACK - INTRODUCTION


Microsoft Azure Stack is an Hybrid Cloud Platform where You can offer Microsoft Azure Services from Your own Datacenters to Your customers. In very simple term, It is like deploying Microsoft Azure (Public Cloud) in Your own datacenter - With some Core Azure Services, not all Azure Services.

Azure stack is a fully integrated system with IAAS & PAAS functionalities. You won't have any control over it's hardware, only You will create & manage all services using Azure Stack Admin Portal. Azure stack use hyper-converged hardware with in-built hyper-converged storage. 

You can deploy Microsoft Azure Stack in Your own premises environment using Azure Stack Development Kit for POC purpose on single node which is available to download. For evaluating purpose, Microsoft has provided Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 (CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD!). This can be deployed only on single node & can not be used for production purpose.

How it is Hybrid Cloud Platform?

Microsoft provide both options to You to deploy Azure Stack in Your environment - either using Azure Active Directory or using on-premises Active Directory Federation Service. While deploying Azure Stack Development Kit, It ask the Identity Provider (Azure Cloud or ADFS). If You deploy using Azure Cloud Identity Provider, You can have all Hybrid functionalities available.

NOTE: 

With evaluation development kit, You can deploy using either Azure Cloud or ADFS but not both, means if You deploy using ADFS then Later You cannot add Azure Cloud account to use hybrid functionalities & if You deploy using Azure Cloud, You cannot remove account later to use only ADFS within Your on-premises identity. Only option will be to deploy from beginning...😒😟 

Also, Evaluation period is for life time with only single node deployment but cannot be used for production environment.

With single node POC deployment kit, You can evaluate all possible services which will be used for production environment.

COMPARISON WITH MICROSOFT AZURE


There is no such big difference between Azure Stack (Hybrid Cloud) & Microsoft Azure (Public Cloud). Both provides similar functionalities with difference in service offerings & managed services control.

Below are the key comparison between both:


  

Many viewers may have query: What is the difference between Windows Azure Pack (Private Cloud) & Microsoft Azure Stack (Hybrid Cloud)?

There is a very big difference between both clouds. 

Windows Azure Pack use System Center Virtual Machine Manager to manage complete infrastructure whereas Azure Stack has built-in Azure Resource Manager (Same as of Azure - Public Cloud) to manage complete infrastructure, there is no role of System center components in Azure Stack.

Windows Azure Pack is limited to only IAAS services & don't have such capabilities to provide cloud based PAAS Services which are highly integrated with each other whereas Azure Stack is fully integrated system with hyper-converged hardware & storage environment which is capable of providing both IAAS & PAAS Services with latest cloud based applications & web based services.

Managing hardware, WAP Components & other resources in Windows Azure Pack environment is difficult as compared with Azure Stack because Azure Stack used predefined certified & well integrated hardware which cannot be controlled or changed by any Administrator. You don't have control over hardware in Azure Stack thereby reduces manual configuration issues in environment. 

Microsoft announces certified OEMs for Azure Stack Hardware partners which You can SEE HERE!

AZURE STACK - KEY FEATURES


Below are the key features which Azure Stack provides:

USERS



  • ADMINISTRATOR (Cloud Operator) - This user have full control of Administrator Portal which create all services, roles, plans, quotas, pricing, monitor & manage capacity & responds to alerts.
  • TENANT - These users are the customers which have an self-service control experiences & uses all subscribed services.

PORTAL




  • ADMINISTRATOR PORTAL: This portal is for Cloud Administrators to create & manage services.
  • TENANT PORTAL: This portal is for Tenants to have self-service control experiences to use their subscribed services.

IDENTITY PROVIDER


  • AZURE ACTIVE DIRECTORY: This is cloud based multi-tenant identity provider which enables hybrid functionalities for tenants.
  • ADFS: This can be used where You don't want hybrid functionalities & want to use Azure Stack as Your private cloud environment with both IAAS & PAAS Services for Your customers.

AZURE RESOURCE MANAGER


Also known as Heart of Microsoft Azure & Microsoft Azure Stack. This manages completed infrastructure including Resource Groups, Resource templates & Resources Providers (Compute, Storage, Network, Security, etc).



ROLE BASED ACCESS CONTROL (RBAC)


You can control on access for services based on User's Roles using RBAC feature. Based on defined roles, users can have access to services. 


OTHER FEATURES


You can create Regions, Services, Plans & Offers as per Your environment which Tenants can use by subscribing them. Tenant can subscribe for multiple offers & plans as per their need.

AZURE STACK - AVAILABLE SERVICES


Azure Stack provides some services of Azure, not all. Below are the key services which are available by default:




This is all about Azure Stack introduction. In next post,  I will explain about how Azure Stack Architecture will looks like & what all VM Roles are deployed through Azure Stack Development Kit.

Later, I will explain prerequisites & deployment steps for Azure Stack TP3.


Share Your feedback or any query!!!


Happy Reading!!!

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