Tag: Azure Stack HCI

MJFChat Whats New in the Azure Hybrid Space

MJFChat What’s New in the Azure Hybrid Space?

This week I had the honor to be on Mary Jo Foley podcast called MJFChat on Petri.com and talk about what’s new in the Azure Hybrid space. This was the perfect time since we had some great Hybrid Cloud announcements this week during Microsoft Inspire, especially when it comes to Azure Stack HCI.

MJFChat: What’s New in the Azure Hybrid Space?

This episode of MJFChat is all about what’s happening in the Azure hybrid space. Microsoft was the first of the major cloud vendors to offer not just a public cloud, but also a hybrid platform. Azure Stack was the core of Microsoft’s hybrid 1.0 strategy. More recently, Microsoft outlined its hybrid 2.0 plan, which centers around Azure Arc.

If you want to listen to the podcast, you can go to Petri.com or your favorite podcast platform, MJF Chat on Spotify; here for Apple Podcasts on iTunes; and here for Google Play.



Microsoft Azure Stack HCI version 20H2

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 – everything you need to know!

Microsoft just announced the new Azure Stack HCI, delivered as an Azure hybrid service, at Microsoft Inspire 2020. Azure Stack HCI, as a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution, is expanding the Azure Stack portfolio to offer a comprehensive and flexible lineup of edge infrastructure and hybrid cloud environments. In this blog post, I want you to provide you with an overview of the new Azure Stack HCI, version 20H2.

You can also find the full announcement blog on Azure.com.

What’s Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged cluster solution that runs virtualized Windows and Linux workloads in a hybrid on-premises environment. Some of the most popular use cases are datacenter modernization, Remote/Branch office scenarios, SQL Server based virtual applications, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, and running Kubernetes clusters.

  • Hyperconverged infrastructure stack – The Azure Stack HCI operating system is based on core components from Windows Server, and it is designed and optimized on being the best virtualization host and hyper-converged platform. It is enhanced with software from Azure that includes our latest hypervisor with built-in software-defined storage and networking, that you install on servers you control, on your premises. This provides additional functionally, features and performance.
  • Delivered as an Azure hybrid service – Azure Stack HCI is now delivered as an Azure service with a subscription-based licensing model and hybrid capabilities built-in. You can enhance the cluster with Azure hybrid capabilities such as cloud-based monitoring, site recovery, and backup, as well as a central view of all of your Azure Stack HCI deployments in the Azure portal.
  • Familiar for IT to manage and operate – Runs on your choice of hardware, from your preferred vendor, and continue using the tools and processes your team already knows to manage virtual machines, including Windows Admin Center, System Center, and PowerShell.

This new Azure Stack HCI product takes its name from a program that Microsoft has run for several years with recent versions of Windows Server. That program was very popular, and it’s what inspired this new product.

Azure Stack HCI - Inspired by its popular predecessor

Azure Stack HCI – Inspired by its popular predecessor

Part of the Azure Stack Portfolio

Azure Stack HCI joins the growing family of Azure Stack solutions, which offers a comprehensive and flexible lineup of edge infrastructure. The Azure Stack portfolio ranges from Azure Stack Hub, which is an extension of Azure, bringing the agility and innovation of cloud computing to your on-premises environment, to Azure Stack Edge, which brings Azure compute for AI and machine learning at the edge.

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 - Part of the Azure Stack portfolio

Azure Stack HCI version 20H2 – Part of the Azure Stack portfolio

You can learn more about the Azure Stack portfolio on Azure.com.



Cloud with Chris Podcast

Cloud with Chris – Podcast on Hybrid Cloud

I was on the Cloud with Chris podcast to talk about Hybrid Cloud and especially what Microsoft Azure has to offer with the Azure Hybrid services. Cloud with Chris is a great podcast if you want to learn more about different cloud computing technologies and concepts. You can listen to the podcast right here.

Cloud with Chris

Exploring Cloud concepts with Chris Reddington (Welsh Tech Geek, Cloud Advocate, Musical Theatre Enthusiast and Improving Improviser!). We will regularly invite guests to talk about their experiences with the cloud and hear about some of the lessons learned around their cloud journey.

In episode 6, we focused on Hybrid Cloud and how Microsoft Azure can really provide value. Microsoft Azure is designed to be hybrid and helps our customers to run their services where ever they need them, connect existing services to the cloud, and make their on-premises environment even better. In the podcast, we are talking about how you can connect existing systems to Azure Hybrid services, the new Azure Stack portfolio, Azure Arc, and much more.

Joining me in this episode is Thomas Maurer, a Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft who engages with the community and customers around the world! Most of the focus so far in Cloud with Chris has been on Public Cloud, so Thomas and I adjust course slightly, and talk about Hybrid Cloud, and the new and upcoming features of the Microsoft Azure platform. Get ready to be introduced to a wide variety of Azure Technologies, and how they may be able to strengthen your on-premises, public cloud or multi-cloud deployments. Let’s listen in…

You can check out his podcast site and listen to it on the platform of your choice. You can learn more about Azure Hybrid here:

I hope you will enjoy the Cloud with Chris podcast on Hybrid Cloud, and if you have any questions please let me know in the comments.



Azure Unblogged - Azure Stack HCI and the Future

Azure Unblogged – Azure Stack HCI and the Future

You might have seen last week’s Azure Unblogged video with Holly Lehman where we talked about Microsoft feedback and customer engagement programs. This week, I had the honor to publish an Azure Unblogged video with Carmen Crincoli (Senior Program Manager) to talk about the Azure Stack HCI solution program, why it was created, the value it provides to customers, and some of the work we’re doing to engage with customers to improve future versions of the product.

You can watch the video on Microsoft Channel 9.

Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged Windows Server 2019 cluster that uses validated hardware to run virtualized workloads on-premises. And allows you to optionally connect to Azure Hybrid services for cloud-based backup, Site Recovery, and more. This allows you to take advantage of the Microsoft Hybrid Cloud services to make your on-premises environment even better.

If you want to learn more about Azure Stack HCI, check out the following links:

You can also watch other episodes of Azure Unblogged on Microsoft Channel 9 and check out my blog at ITOpsTalk.com.

Let me know if you enjoyed the Azure Unblogged – Azure Stack HCI and the Future video and if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel here.



Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 - Azure Stack HCI

Video Microsoft Ignite Live 2019 – Azure Stack HCI

At Microsoft Ignite 2019, I had the chance to interview different people across the Microsoft product groups on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage. In the next couple of weeks, I will share with you the links to the recordings of these videos. In this video, I was able to speak to Cosmos Darwin from the Windows Server team about how to get started with Azure Stack HCI. Azure Stack HCI is another part of the Microsoft Azure Stack portfolio, next to Azure Stack Hub and Azure Stack Edge.

Video: Azure Stack HCI

Hyperconverged infrastructure is rapidly becoming the most common way to deploy servers. Join Cosmos Darwin from the Azure Stack HCI team to how affordable and approachable HCI can be!

Azure Stack HCI is a hyper-converged Windows Server 2019 cluster that uses validated hardware to run virtualized workloads on-premises. You can also optionally connect to Azure services for cloud-based backup, site-recovery, and more. Azure Stack HCI solutions use Microsoft-validated hardware to ensure optimal performance and reliability and include support for technologies such as NVMe drives, persistent memory, and remote-direct memory access (RDMA) networking.

Azure Stack HCI is a solution that combines several products:

  • Hardware from an OEM partner
  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition
  • Windows Admin Center
  • Azure services (optional)

I hope this gives you a short overview of Azure Stack HCI. You can check out the following links to get more information:

Microsoft Ignite 2019 was a lot of fun, and you can also watch my session about Hybrid Cloud Management at Microsoft Ignite. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.



Azure Hybrid Cloud Bus

An Overview at the New Azure Stack Portfolio

Last week at the Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference, the Azure team announced a lot of new updates. One of the significant focus topics at this year’s Ignite was the investment in the Azure Hybrid Cloud offerings. Starting with the buses driving attendees to the conference venue, over the Ignite keynotes, to the expo floor and breakouts, Hybrid Cloud was everywhere. Today, organizations rely on a hybrid technology approach to take advantage of utilizing cloud innovation in combination with their on-premises investments. Azure is Hybrid by design, and Microsoft is continuing the investment in our hybrid cloud technologies with the announcements of Azure Arc (link) and the new Azure Stack portfolio (link). I already was able to get an early look at Azure Arc for Servers, in this post, I am going to focus on the new Azure Stack portfolio with Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack Edge, and Azure Stack HCI.

At and after Microsoft Ignite 2019, I got a lot of questions around the Azure Stack announcements. So in this blog, I want to give you a quick overview of that, and if you want to know more, check out the blog post from Talal Alqinawi, Senior Director Azure Marketing.

Azure Stack Portfolio

Azure Stack Portfolio

The Azure Stack family now consists of three members, Azure Stack Hub, formerly known as Azure Stack, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Edge (formerly known as Azure Databox Edge). This offers customers new capabilities, form factors, and solutions in the Azure Stack portfolio, to ensure that the customer has the right solutions for their edge infrastructure.

Azure Stack Hub

Azure Stack Hub (formerly known as Azure Stack) will continue to be the cloud-native offering for enterprise and public sector customers, especially those interested in operating a cloud environment that is disconnected from public internet or meeting regulatory and compliance requirements. It will continue to bring Azure services to locations where you need them. The Azure Stack Hub team also announced some new capabilities and features, which the team is working on:

  • Working on support for N-Series virtual machines (VMs) which included GPU support
  • Event Hubs Public Preview in 2020
  • Azure Stream Analytics Public Preview in 2020
  • General Availability (GA) of Kubernetes on Azure Stack with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) engine to automate the creation, update, and scaling of Kubernetes clusters.
  • Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Private Preview
  • Azure Data Services with Azure Arc Private Preview

Azure Stack HCI

A couple of months ago, I already wrote a blog post about Azure Stack HCI, which enables customers to run a highly efficient hyper-converged virtualization infrastructure. From small 2-node deployments up to high-performance and high capacity clusters, the Azure Stack HCI catalog offers solutions for every scenario. Together with Windows Admin Center, you can also easily connect Azure hybrid solutions and services. With the new automated deployment of Azure Stack HCI clusters, it becomes even easier to deploy new installations. I had the chance to talk about this new feature with Cosmos Darwin on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage, and you can watch the recording here.

I also have an article on ITOpsTalk.com about how Azure Stack HCI fits into the Azure Hybrid Cloud offering.

Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge (formerly known as Azure Databox Edge) is an Azure managed appliance that brings the compute, storage, and intelligence of Azure to the edge.

Azure Stack Edge

Azure Stack Edge

This is a first-party appliance which customer can order and run as an Azure service with no upfront costs (billed monthly with your Azure bill). In addition to the name change, the Azure Stack Edge team also announced that it soon will be supporting new compute and AI features and capabilities like:

  • Virtual machines on Azure Stack Edge
  • Kubernetes clusters
  • NVIDIA GPU support
  • Support for high-availability

The Azure Stack Edge will also be available in a rugged version as well as in a battery-powered form-factor that can be carried in a backpack.

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series with battery

Azure Stack Edge Rugged series with battery

Next to talking to Cosmos Darwin about Azure Stack HCI, I was also able to have Stephanie Krieger and Chris Dickens on the Microsoft Ignite Live stage to talk about Azure Stack Edge. You can watch the recording here.

Hybrid Cloud in combination with Azure Arc

In conjunction with Azure Arc, which brings Azure services and management to any infrastructure. With Azure Arc, you can deploy Azure Data services on any Kubernetes cluster. Azure Arc and Azure Stack portfolio are complementary.

You can combine the benefits of Azure Arc with Azure Stack portfolio where Azure Arc can manage virtual machines, containers, and run Azure Data Services on Azure Stack portfolio of validated and integrated systems while leveraging the compute and cloud capabilities of Azure Stack.

If you want to know more about Azure Arc, check out my blog post, Azure Arc – Cloud-native Management for Hybrid Cloud, or you can watch my Microsoft Ignite 2019 session about Hybrid Cloud Management.

I hope this gives you an overview of the new Azure Stack portfolio, which was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2019. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.



Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays

Speaking at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays

I am happy to let you know that I will be speaking online at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI Day. The Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI is an online event, organized and presented by Microsoft MVPs as part of the MVPDays. MVPDays was founded by Cristal and Dave Kawula back in 2013. It started as a simple idea; “There’s got to be a good way for Microsoft MVPs to reach the IT community and share their vast knowledge and experience in a fun and engaging way”.

The Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays is a full-day online event on October 23. you can find out more here. In my session, I will be speaking about Azure hybrid management services and how you can connect your Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment with Microsoft Azure.

Hybrid Management Technologies using Azure Stack HCI

Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI and Windows Admin Center not only provide you with great hyper-converged solutions but also enable you to connect to Azure Hybrid Cloud services. In this session, Thomas Maurer will show you how you can connect Azure services like Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup, Azure File Sync, Azure Monitor and many more to your on-prem Windows Server and Azure Stack HCI environment.

As soon as it is available you can watch my session here:

And you will find the full MVPDays online event here.

If you want to know more about it check you the following blog posts:

I hope you will join us at the Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI MVPDays. Let me know if you have any questions.