• 3 min read

First Microsoft Azure Stack systems are headed to your datacenters

We’re seeing a fantastic response to our previous announcements around Azure Stack orderability. Today represents another big milestone for us. We’ve now completed work on the initial release of Azure Stack along with our hardware partners.

We’re seeing a fantastic response to our previous announcements around Azure Stack orderability. Today represents another big milestone for us. We’ve now completed work on the initial release of Azure Stack along with our hardware partners. I’m at Microsoft Ignite today, speaking with tens of thousands of our best enterprise IT customers, and they are all excited about this release. As such, I’m thrilled to announce:

  • First Azure Stack integrated systems have shipped. Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Lenovo are now shipping systems. Please contact our partners who will deploy and install Azure Stack, ready to run your applications. You can contact our hardware partners for more details.
  • Expanded purchasing options. Azure Stack integrated systems from Cisco are ready to order now. Additionally, Wortmann plans to introduce terra integrated systems for Azure Stack by the end of this year. We are also excited to announce a fully managed solution from Avanade, which enables a single point of purchase, is now available to order.
  • New Azure Stack training and certification courses for IT Professionals. We’re investing in a new “Azure Stack Operator”-focused learning path and certification exam to help you build in-depth skills in managing and operating Azure hybrid clouds. While the certification exam will be available in Q1 CY18, you can begin your preparation today by taking an Azure Stack course from one of our Microsoft Learning Partners or online.

True hybrid application innovation

Every customer I talk to has (or is working on) a cloud strategy to deliver differentiated customer experiences and transform the way they do business. Most of them also have significant on-premises investments – they’re looking to build modern applications across cloud and on-premises environments, along with the flexibility to deploy them to meet business policies and regulatory requirements. This was the primary motivator for us to build Azure Stack as an on-premises extension of Azure.

Azure and Azure Stack deliver the industry’s only truly consistent hybrid cloud platform, which enables a unified approach to application development and unlocks completely new use case scenarios, as well as pay-as-you-use pricing. Customers are investing in the hybrid cloud model using Azure and Azure Stack – including AVID, ABSA Bank, ANZ Bank, Mitsui Knowledge Industry, Saxo Bank, and Schlumberger.

Simply stated, we’re committed to bring Azure services virtually everywhere to help drive our customers’ businesses forward. Check out this whitepaper for more information about what capabilities are available in Azure Stack at the initial release and what is planned for future versions.

New Azure Stack training and certification for IT Professionals

While Azure Stack and Azure share the same application development model, you still need to manage and operate Azure Stack integrated systems that run at your premises. You don’t need to do this with Azure, as Microsoft does that work. To make sure you are successful, we are sharing our learnings and best practices running Azure so you can successfully do the same across your hybrid cloud environments. Accordingly, we’re investing deeply in “Azure Stack Operator” training and certification programs that will equip you with the people, process, and technology expertise to thrive during this time of change. These new valuable skills will enable our Microsoft IT professionals to develop valuable skills as their organizations transition to cloud with Azure and Azure Stack.

One Azure Ecosystem offerings

Our partner ecosystem has made available several offerings to help speed up your Azure Stack initiatives:

  • ISVs are extending their Azure applications and services to Azure Stack, and we have a rapidly growing list of validated offerings including Bitnami, Chef, Docker, Kemp Technologies, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and SUSE Linux. We’ve also validated popular Microsoft workloads such as Windows Server and SQL Server to run on Azure Stack.
  • Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are expanding their offerings to include managed services based on Azure Stack. MSPs like NTT, Pulsant, Revera, Tieto, and Resello will have offers in market in the coming weeks.
  • As an example of a complete, fully managed hybrid cloud solution, Avanade is delivering an all-in-one offer that includes cloud transformation services, software, infrastructure, set up & configuration, and ongoing managed services so you can consume Azure Stack just like you do with Azure today.
  • Multiple Systems Integrators (SIs) have expanded their application modernization practice to include Azure Stack – this includes Avanade, DXC, Dell EMC Services, InFront Consulting Group, HPE Pointnext, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Closing thoughts

Today’s milestone is the culmination of a lot of deep engagement and feedback from many of you. I look forward to learning more as you plan and design your hybrid solutions using Azure and Azure Stack. We’re really interested in understanding the business challenges you want Azure Stack to solve, as well as what you’d like to see in subsequent Azure Stack releases.

Also, be sure to follow us at Microsoft Ignite – we have a ton of sessions and numerous interactive forums. A large contingent from our product group is in attendance, and we’d love to speak with you!