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Azure Stack: what’s possible “beyond the box”?

  • Posted on September 22, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
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As I’m preparing to head off to Orlando next week for Microsoft Ignite 2017, beyond having “Maria” on my mind or whether the next storm will be named “Norbert,” I have been thinking a lot about Microsoft Azure Stack and working on our content for a breakout session entitled, “Azure Stack: Thinking AND Realizing Value Beyond the Box.” The basic premise of this session is that while Azure Stack alone enables the delivery of “true” hybrid to the enterprise, there is even greater value to be gained by thinking beyond the core Azure Stack capabilities. Those thinking about Azure Stack should consider how it can be integrated with existing traditional data center resources and public cloud to bridge the gap between those very different environments. Ultimately, that’s where most of our clients live and getting to cloud isn’t easy.

As a Global System Integrator, Avanade’s expertise is in taking the larger view - modernizing IT, applications, and making things work together better – not really focusing on a specific product or platform. With that being the case, we have been involved in many interesting (and dare I say “deep?”) discussions about these types of transformations and how Azure Stack makes hybrid cloud possible in what is typically a somewhat “messy” IT world. 

We see challenges getting to cloud in pretty much any industry, but the following are a couple typical examples that have come up in recent client project discussions. 

In the Healthcare Industry, client concerns usually crop up about production workloads and sensitive proprietary data residing in public cloud. This might conflict with a client’s desire to rebuild/modernize their primary revenue generating application to run as a cloud application for better performance and reliability. If they also want to optimize connectivity and performance for their customers who use their applications to sign-up for their Healthcare plans, and there are no Azure datacenters in their primary customers’ regions, then performance and connectivity might not be ideal. An appropriate solution to this problem might be to run their new application on Azure Stack instances hosted in key customer regions. This could ease their concerns about security, plus optimize connectivity and performance for users of their new cloud app.

Mining and Natural Resources operations tend to be distributed in remote locations around the globe where internet and network connectivity are challenging at best. However, these mining operations could benefit from modern applications that can leverage real-time data analytics to help improve safety and efficiency. Furthermore, there is likely a need for a mobile application component to support heavy equipment operators and those transporting resources. In this situation, Azure Stack could be deployed locally to run localized analysis of data for connected mine applications. Key data could still be periodically synchronized with Azure, as needed. Applications like SharePoint and Exchange could also be run locally for better mine collaboration and communication.

Beyond finding good fits for Azure Stack to “fill the gap” in hybrid between traditional and cloud, we’ve been going even deeper in connecting to existing traditional datacenter resources.
Building hybrid applications with support for large workloads running (think Hadoop and TensorFlow)
Integrating “off-stamp” storage solutions with Azure Stack
Using cloning and containers to migrate and run existing SQL Server workloads on Azure Stack
 
If you are at Microsoft Ignite this week, we are in the expo hall within the Orange County Convention Center Hall North/South. Stop by and see us at the Accenture and Avanade booth (#473) to talk to our experts. If you want to dive deeper and get the more detailed version of my ponderings in this blog, come to our breakout session titled, “Azure Stack – Thinking AND Realizing Value Beyond the Box” (BRK3363) on Wednesday September 27th at 12:30pm. 

If you aren’t going to make it to Microsoft Ignite, or you miss our session, check out the Avanade Solution for Microsoft Azure Stack website and see how we can help you achieve true hybrid cloud.

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