Introduction to Azure Stack

Image result for Azure stack picture

There are four cloud models in general, but not limited to:

  1. Public Cloud
  2. Private Cloud
  3. Community Cloud
  4. Hybrid Cloud

Microsoft Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud platform that lets you provide Azure services from your data-center. Microsoft is describing Azure Stack as “an extension of Azure.” After the initial purchase of Azure Stack, customers will only pay for Azure services that they use from general availability, forward (“pay-as-you-use” pricing). The current one-node offering meant for dev/test will continue to be free after general availability. Azure Stack comes in the form an appliance built to run on specific server hardware like HPE, Dell EMC, Lenovo, Cisco & recently Avanade and Huawei. It provides customers with many of the pieces of Microsoft’s Azure public-cloud platform in a form they can run inside their own or partners’ on-premises datacenters.

  • It can be thought of Azure in your data center.
  • It provides same look & feel as Azure Portal.
  • Scale-able to fulfil the needs of any sized organization.
  • Shipped with ARM (Azure Resource Manager) to quickly deploy & configure Virtual Machines or Applications.
  • Offers PaaS & IaaS to build SaaS applications.

Azure Stacks features set includes:

  • Provisioning virtual machines
  • Creating storage accounts
  • Azure Resource Manager templates
  • Azure Stack marketplace
  • Custom virtual machine Images
  • Azure Stack resource providers
  • App Service

Before you plan to use Azure Stack, let’s discuss some key concepts of Azure Stack. If you are already using Azure then below concepts are not new to you except Personas. Additionally you will be allowed to prepare your own plans & offers according to available resources in our data center and type of technology stacks your organization is operating.

Azure Stack Concept Description
Personas You use personas to describe the four types of role within Azure Stack. The roles related to Azure Stack are:
• Cloud Architect: Responsible for the design of the cloud from a strategical perspective to ensure it meets the needs of the business.
• Cloud Operator: Responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of Azure Stack such as responding to alerts and managing the underlying infrastructure.
• Cloud Administrator: Responsible for the tenant subscriptions in the cloud including who can access them and the actions that can be performed on the subscriptions.
• DevOps: Responsible for managing the deployment and configuration of resources consumed in Azure Stack from a tenant perspective.
Portals Azure Stack includes two portals: one for cloud operators to manage and  maintain the Azure Stack environment and another for cloud administrators and DevOps to manage and maintain the Azure Stack resources that they have consumed through subscriptions.
Regions Regions provide Azure Stack the ability to scale beyond a single location. You can create multiple regions and offer different services in each region. In other words, these could be your data center locations.
Services Services are Azure Stack’s key features. Services such as web services, virtual machines, and Microsoft SQL Server databases are provided to tenants in the form of plans.
Plans You use plans to group one or more services. Tenants subscribe to Offers made from one or more plans, which then allow tenants to use the services provided each plan.
Offers You use offers to group one or more plans. cloud operators present plans to tenants who can then subscribe to them. Cloud operators can create add-on plans to increase a tenant’s quota of resources.
Subscriptions Subscriptions contain the offers that tenants subscribe to or purchase.
Azure Resource Manager Azure Resource Manager is the interface that you use to deploy, monitor, and manage solutions created in Azure Stack.
Resource Group A resource group is a logical collection of resources such as virtual machines, IP addresses, storage virtual networks, or websites.
Templates You use Azure Resource Manager templates to define the deployment and configuration of an application offered to tenants in Azure Stack.
Resource Providers Azure Resource Manager uses resource providers to surface Azure Stack services to Azure Stack consumers. There are several resource providers
available in Azure Stack including Compute, Network, and Storage.
Blob Storage Blob storage provides the ability to access and retrieve large amounts of data such as documents, media files, or virtual hard disk (VHD) files for virtual machines.
Table Storage You use table storage to store data that you need to filter or select based on criteria such as user data or address book information.
Queue Storage You use queue storage to provide cloud-based messaging between
application components. This provides applications the ability to decouple,
which allows them to scale independently when running in different
environments (or devices).
Role Based Access Control (RBAC) You use RBAC to control access to Azure Stack resources and services. RBAC controls access by using role definitions associated with the users who log in to Azure Stack.
Usage Data Azure Stack collects usage data to provide charge back and billing reports or to help integrate Azure Stack with external tools.

For more information about the key concepts and features in Azure Stack, visit the following website: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-stack/

If you want to learn more about Azure Stack, here is a presentation that Microsoft CTO Mark Russinovich and Jeffery Snover (#AzureStack Architect) gave at Ignite 2017: https://youtu.be/taecz1LSEWg

References:
http://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-azure-stack-is-ready-to-order-from-dell-emc-hpe-and-lenovo/

https://blog.augustoalvarez.com.ar/2017/06/19/azure-stack-welcomes-two-new-hardware-oem-vendors/

Azure Stack Packaging and Pricing Datasheet can be downloaded from here.

Next Read, AzureStack Personas & Deployment Tools

 

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