• 5 min read

Growing the Azure Ecosystem with Microsoft Azure Stack

Partners and a rich ecosystem are critical to delivering on the promise of Azure Stack. Here at WPC, it is exciting to see how the industry is responding to customer interest and contributing to the promise of Azure Stack.

Today, I am in Toronto at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference discussing the opportunities enabled by Microsoft Azure Stack with our partners. When we talk to customers about bringing the innovation of the public cloud to their datacenters, it’s amazing to watch the ideas form as they envision how it can solve business problems, enable new applications and business value, and ultimately provide opportunity for their companies.

Partners and a rich ecosystem are critical to delivering on the promise of Azure Stack. Here at WPC, it is exciting to see how the industry is responding to customer interest and contributing to the promise of Azure Stack. Systems vendors lower the complexity of deploying and operating Azure-consistent clouds by providing integrated systems. Service providers host and manage ready-to-use Azure-consistent cloud services. Systems integrators and technology consultancies help deploy Azure-consistent clouds and build innovative hybrid solutions on top. Software vendors provide a wealth of off-the-shelf applications to run on Azure-consistent clouds, as well as building blocks and services to compose applications more quickly. All of these contributions accrue to what we call “One Azure Ecosystem,” one that works across a hybrid cloud spanning Microsoft, service provider, and customer datacenters.

As we shared today, we will prioritize delivering Azure Stack via turnkey integrated systems in the initial general availability release, combining software, hardware, support and services in one solution. We’ve been working with systems vendors on integrated systems for a while now and see this as the best approach to bring Azure innovation to customer datacenters reliably and predictably. We are co-engineering these integrated systems with Dell, HPE, and Lenovo to start.

Dell and Microsoft’s long standing partnership includes our co-engineering on integrated systems, enabling us to help customers to greatly simplify and accelerate their cloud journeys,” says Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Engineered Systems, HPC and Cloud at Dell. “Following on Dell being first to deliver private and hybrid cloud systems with Microsoft Cloud Platform Systems Premium and Standard, we are continuing to collaborate closely with Microsoft on Azure Stack to help organizations gain the business benefits and outcomes of Azure in their private or hybrid cloud environment when Azure Stack becomes available.”

Chris Eidler, HPE’s vice president of Solutions R&D, states: “Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise enjoy one of the industry’s strongest partnerships. Together we have provided leading enterprise solutions for over 30 years and are uniquely positioned to develop new competitive offerings. Our partnership brings comprehensive and integrated offerings for our joint clients built on HPE infrastructure, services, and Microsoft Azure Stack that simplify the customer’s experience deploying solutions and optimizing time to value.

Today, Lenovo offers a broad portfolio of solutions to meet customers’ needs across cloud and hyper-converged solutions. Lenovo and Microsoft share a common vision related to the customer value of hybrid cloud. This experience and vision, coupled with the converged co-engineering work we are doing with Microsoft is well suited to bring an Azure Stack integrated system solution to market where we can simplify deployments for our customers.” – Brian Connors, vice president, Next Generation IT and Business Development

Microsoft Azure already offers a robust ecosystem that customers know and use, and many want the flexibility to build hybrid solutions that span clouds as needed. One such great example, Mark Russinovich’s recent appearance in the DockerCon keynote where he demonstrates “Microsoft SQL Server running on Linux in a Docker container on Azure Stack in a Swarm cluster that's hybrid being managed by Docker Datacenter running up in Public Azure.” Our ultimate goal is to facilitate the creation of an expanding inventory of applications and solutions that customers and partners can use invest in and build with the confidence their investments will work in any Azure or Azure Stack cloud. Accordingly, we are already engaged on Azure Stack with such notable software companies as Bitnami, Chef, Docker, Mesosphere, Red Hat, SaltStack, and SUSE on bringing their applications from Azure to other datacenters through Azure Stack.

As the provider of over 100 open source server applications for Microsoft Azure, Bitnami has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure that software development and deployment in the cloud is easy, secure, and kept up-to-date,” said Erica Brescia, COO of Bitnami. “We look forward to extending the Bitnami application catalog to datacenters running Microsoft Azure Stack, which will allow DevOps teams to use the exact same application packages in both public and private clouds, giving a consistent experience and maximum flexibility.”

Flexibility and automation are core tenants of modern IT practices. Microsoft Azure Stack brings the ease of cloud deployments directly into the enterprise and, when combined with Chef, delivers powerful automation capabilities for maximum speed and scale. We're excited to continue working with Microsoft to provide enterprise customers with a consistent, scalable hybrid cloud model combining the best of Microsoft Azure and Chef's DevOps workflow.” – James Casey, vice president Partner Engineering, Chef

Through the partnership, Docker and Microsoft are making it even easier organizations to take advantage of the scalability and portability benefits of Docker Datacenter on Azure to manage production applications in a hybrid cloud environment,” said Scott Johnston, COO at Docker. “Because Docker Datacenter operates across public and private Azure clouds in true hybrid mode, customers will be able to manage hybrid applications with components in Azure and on-premises with Azure Stack.”

Enterprises are moving toward a hybrid world where they expect to run applications in-house the same way they do in the public cloud,” said Florian Leibert, co-founder and CEO of Mesosphere. “It's hard to imagine a more powerful combination for delivering on this experience than Microsoft Azure Stack and Mesosphere's DC/OS technology. Innovative businesses are already leveraging container orchestration, real-time data-processing and more to build innovative applications using DC/OS on Azure, and bringing it to Azure Stack opens up a whole new world of possibilities.”  – Florian Leibert, co-founder and CEO, Mesosphere

As a continuation of the Red Hat and Microsoft strategic partnership on the enterprise hybrid cloud announced in November 2015, Red Hat is working with Microsoft in order to support customers and partners of the Azure Stack platform. By enabling our developers, customers, and partners with aligned development frameworks, management tools, application and infrastructure platforms, Red Hat and Microsoft can deliver on the promises of hybrid cloud,” said Mike Ferris, vice president, Technical Business Development, Red Hat

SaltStack software was built to automate enterprise DevOps workflows across any data center or hybrid cloud environment utilizing intelligent, event-driven orchestration. SaltStack support for Microsoft Azure Stack provides our customers with powerful automation for the easy acquisition, deployment and operation of Azure as an integral component of an enterprise data center infrastructure. SaltStack abstracts application code from infrastructure creating one consistent hybrid cloud architecture utilizing on-premises resources or Azure with extraordinary agility and speed across dev, test, staging and production environments.” – Marc Chenn, SaltStack, CEO and co-founder

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Microsoft Azure is a proven platform that provides superior reliability and security for cloud computing. By making SUSE Linux Enterprise available to Microsoft Azure Stack customers, SUSE and Microsoft are extending the ease and simplicity of current Azure offerings to customers running Microsoft Azure Stack in their data centers. Furthermore, customers have choice and flexibility on where to build and deliver software solutions.” – Naji Almahmoud, VP Cloud and Software Alliances, SUSE

It’s exciting to share some of the work that has been going on behind the scenes to illustrate what we’re doing to grow the Azure ecosystem with Azure Stack. As always, let us know what you think and what you're doing with Azure Stack in our UserVoice community.