Cloud computing is increasingly popular for companies looking to simplify management and achieve greater scalability of their IT environment. However, many organizations continue to use infrastructure at their datacenters for a variety of reasons, ranging from the need to ensure support for legacy workloads, the need to comply with specific technical and regulatory requirements. This article discusses the top reasons why you should consider adopting Azure Stack HCI over other on-premises virtualization solutions.
Azure Stack HCI is the Microsoft solution that allows you to create a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) for running workloads in an on-premises environment and that provides a strategic connection to various Azure services. Azure Stack HCI was specifically designed by Microsoft to help customers modernize their hybrid datacenter, offering a complete and familiar Azure experience in an on-premises environment. If there is an insight into the Microsoft Azure Stack HCI solution, I invite you to read this article or to view this video.
Interacting with customers on a daily basis, I am often asked why they should choose Azure Stack HCI over other known solutions that have been on the market for a long time. In the following paragraphs I report those that, in my view, are the main reasons that lead to the adoption of Azure Stack HCI.
1. Modernize your on-premises infrastructure by bringing innovation
Azure Stack HCI is not synonymous with a virtualization environment, but it allows you to achieve much more. In fact,, it is ideal if you want to modernize your infrastructure, adopting a hyper-converged architecture that allows you to:
- Activate virtual machines relying on consolidated technologies that make the environment stable and highly available, also particularly suitable for workloads that require high performance and high scalability.
- Deploy and manage modern applications based on micro-services, parallel to virtual machines, on the same cluster environment, adopting Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). As well as being able to run containerized Windows and Linux apps, AKS provides the infrastructure to run services PaaS selected of the Azure platform in an on-premises environment, thanks to Azure Arc.
- Activate virtual machines with Windows Server 2022 Azure Datacenter edition, which offers specific features not available in the classic Standard and Datacenter editions. To learn more about the features available in this edition, you can consult this article.
- Create session host pools of Azure Virtual Desktop using virtual machines running on-premises. This hybrid scenario becomes interesting in situations where applications are sensitive to latency, such as video editing, or scenarios where users need to take advantage of a legacy system present on-premises that cannot be easily reached.
- Extend the functionality of the on-premises solution by connecting to various Azure services such as Azure Site Recovery, Azure Backup, Azure Monitor and Defender for Cloud. This aspect guarantees a constant innovation, given the continuous evolution of cloud services.
2. Optimize costs
The cost model for Azure Stack HCI, described in detail in this article, is very simple.
In particular, for customers with a Software Assurance contract, the adoption of Azure Stack HCI translates into a drastic reduction in the costs of modernizing the virtualization environment, making this solution even more competitive from a cost point of view compared to competitors on the market. Recently, doing a cost comparison between Azure Stack HCI and VMware vSphere + vSAN on a projection of 3 years, it emerged as Azure Stack HCI allows you to save up to 40%.
3. Increase the level of security
Azure Stack HCI offers cross-security across hardware and firmware, integrated into the functionalities of the operating system, that can help protect servers from advanced threats. In fact,, Azure Stack HCI systems, can adopt the security features of Secured-core, all through an easy setup experience from the Windows Admin Center.
Furthermore, Azure Stack HCI lets you get it for free, just like in Azure, important security patches for Microsoft's legacy products that are past their end of support, through the Extended Security Update program (ESU). Currently applies to Windows Server 2008/R2 and will soon also apply to Windows Server 2012/R2 when end of support is reached, in addition to the corresponding versions of SQL Server. This allows you to have more time to undertake an application modernization process, without neglecting the safety aspects.
4. Maximize the investments already made
Azure Stack HCI can integrate with your existing environment as well as popular third-party solutions. Therefore, the adoption of this solution does not require new investments to introduce or adapt the management solutions, identity, security and protection.
In particular, the administrative management of Azure Stack HCI does not require specific software, but you can use existing management tools such as Admin Center, PowerShell, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and even third-party tools. Furthermore, by adopting Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc it is possible to apply the cloud management models also to the on-premises environment, greatly simplifying the user experience.
Azure Stack HCI allows you to take full advantage of not only the investments already made in terms of tools, but also with regard to the skills of the IT staff.
Microsoft brings cloud innovation and experience managing one of the world's largest data centers to Azure Stack HCI. Customers, in turn, by adopting Azure Stack HCI they can modernize their on-premises datacenter, safeguarding the investments made and future ones, without neglecting the aspects related to security and integration. The reasons described in this article are particularly important, to the point of having already led several customers to choose Azure Stack HCI over other solutions in this area.