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Enabling customers’ hybrid strategy with new Microsoft innovation

Customers who are taking a hybrid cloud approach are seeing real business value – I see this in organizations across the globe. The ability for customers to embrace both public cloud and local datacenter, plus edge capability, is enabling customers to improve their IT agility and maximize efficiency.

Customers who are taking a hybrid cloud approach are seeing real business value – I see this in organizations across the globe. The ability for customers to embrace both public cloud and local datacenter, plus edge capability, is enabling customers to improve their IT agility and maximize efficiency. The benefit of a hybrid approach is also what continues to bring customers to Azure, the one cloud that has been uniquely built for hybrid. We haven’t slowed our investment in enabling a hybrid strategy, particularly as this evolves into the new application pattern of using intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

Before I dive into what’s new, I want to take a moment to share why Microsoft is so passionate about enabling a hybrid approach. It stems from a deep understanding of our customers and their businesses over the past several decades. We want every organization on the planet to benefit from cloud innovation. Fundamentally, hybrid enables every organization to participate in this technology transformation. Beyond this, we see the leading experiences enabled by tapping into both the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, creating optimized experiences for literally every use case. 

Today, I’m pleased to share some new products and updates to our Azure hybrid portfolio that ultimately help address a wider range of customer needs.

Expanding the Azure Stack family

Since Azure Stack become globally available in 2017, it has captivated customers as a unique offering to build and run cloud-native applications with consistent Azure services on premises including disconnected locations. Today, Azure Stack is available in 92 countries with 8 announced hardware partners and customers like Airbus Defense & SpaceKPMG Norway, and iMOKO are using it to enable hybrid and edge scenarios. We continue to expand Azure Stack offerings to meet a broader set of customer needs, so they can run virtualized applications in their own datacenter. 

Introducing Azure Stack HCI Solutions. When considering their full application portfolio, customers want to upgrade a set of existing applications to run on modern hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) for efficiency and performance gains. And, while this is often an approach for “legacy” applications, in moving to HCI, customers can now also benefit from a hybrid cloud HCI solution. We are bringing our existing HCI technology into the Azure Stack family for customers to run virtualized applications on-premises with direct access to Azure management services such as backup and disaster recovery. Azure Stack HCI solutions feature the same software-defined compute, storage, and networking technology as the existing Azure Stack, and include simplified cloud access via the Azure hybrid services in Windows Admin Center. Azure Stack HCI is the newest solution to join the broad set of hybrid capabilities from Azure. You can learn more about Azure Stack HCI in Arpan Shah’s blog.

More customer options for Azure Stack. The Azure Stack ecosystem is growing in more ways than one today. Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack is now generally available, bringing Azure-consistent cloud to operating environments where network connectivity is limited and/or mobility and high portability are required – in remote and rugged circumstances. This new offering enables Azure Stack to support an even wider range of use-cases, while still delivering a consistent hybrid cloud approach.

Delivering more innovation at the edge

Hybrid cloud is evolving from being only the integration of a datacenter with the public cloud, to becoming units of computing available at the edge, including even the world’s most remote destinations, working in concert with public cloud. You can read more about this new era we call intelligent cloud and intelligent edge in an earlier blog. What’s compelling about the intelligent edge is many of the same patterns and principles for hybrid applications apply to edge applications. That means investments our customers make today in a hybrid cloud, and the skillsets developed from running these hybrid applications, position them to take advantage of edge computing and tools that can yield even bigger benefits in the future. Toward the goal of helping customers tap into this potential, I am very excited to announce some new edge capabilities.

Azure Data Box Edge is now available. Today is the general availability of Azure Data Box Edge. We previewed the Data Box Edge appliance with edge compute and network data transfer capabilities last September. Data Box Edge provides a cloud managed compute platform for containers at the edge, enabling customers to process data at the edge and accelerate machine learning workloads, powered by Azure Machine Learning and Intel Arria 10 FPGA. Data Box Edge also enables customers to transfer data over the internet to Azure in real-time for deeper analytics or model retraining at cloud scale or for long term storage, as does the Azure Data Box Gateway virtual appliance that is also available today. You can read more about both and how customers like Cree and Esri are already using Data Box Edge via Dean Paron’s blog.

This week: Join me for a Hybrid Cloud Virtual Event

You can learn more about Azure hybrid cloud, and in the meantime, I hope you’ll join me later this week as I host a virtual event focused on hybrid cloud for enterprises. I’m looking forward to talking with customers, analysts and technical leaders about how they’re approaching hybrid cloud – including what’s working and what they’ve learned. We’ll cover topics like application innovation, security and governance, migration, edge computing – and more. The event is Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 8:00 AM Pacific Time, and you can register here.