Ignite Your Hybrid Cloud With Microsoft Azure Stack


How Microsoft is addressing the challenges faced when adopting public cloud.

Much has been written over the last six years about the adoption of Cloud technologies being a journey. In February 2010, Gartner published “Cloud-Computing Service Trends: Business Value Opportunities and Management Challenges” with a section on how to begin this journey. So seven and a half years on, where do mid-sized and enterprise-class organisations find themselves?

Initially, there were some seemingly easy target workloads to put into the cloud: those not running mission-critical processes; Disaster recovery, email, and test and development were early targets for enjoying cost savings. Why buy and run a redundant data centre when you can fail over to Microsoft Azure using Azure Site Recovery? And why not rationalise desktop software costs by adopting Cloud services like Microsoft 365?

However, having lit a few cloud sparks, some organisations find themselves with three main challenges in trying to kindle the flame; these relate to management of technology, user needs and risk:


The first is the issue of creating a sprawling environment that might be difficult to monitor and maintain, compounded by the problem of what’s become known as Shadow IT, as many departmental functions set up and consume cloud services. One of the main benefits of cloud computing should be cost efficiency, but if organisations don’t have over all control of their clouds, with data and applications sitting in any number of places, then monitoring and management can become expensive and time-consuming.

User needs

The second relates to issues of latency and responsiveness for the users. The increase in remote and flexible working, the rise in M&A activity and international expansion growth plans, all result in a need to support users in multiple locations – often across the globe. From a UK perspective, we still face challenges around high-speed connectivity in many rural areas. Similarly, from a global perspective, most of the African continent doesn’t have the dark fibre technology that we have in Europe, so still have a huge dependency on local data centre capability.

At Daisy, we often find that a lot of businesses that have embraced public cloud are putting their web front end in the cloud, but are keeping the back-end databases to these applications on-premise due to security concerns or data sovereignty and regulatory pressures, which, in its own right, is creating latency issues.


Until now, the biggest blocker to larger scale public cloud adoption has been security risk. Whether the blockers are real or perceived, there are real legislative constraints that govern what organisations do which are coupled with the increased prevalence of cyber crime.

Enter Microsoft Azure Stack; a real hybrid cloud solution…

With consumer computing driving demands and expectations, IT organisations find themselves having to meet growing business requirements to serve up data and applications quickly, cost-effectively and securely.

Microsoft is leading the way in responding to this demand, whilst acknowledging the very real constraints that organisations face with Microsoft Azure Stack, a hybrid cloud platform product that allows organizations to deliver Microsoft Azure services from their own data centre. The industry buzz around Azure Stack has been unprecedented. At Microsoft’s 2016 Ignite Conference in Atlanta, GA, all the Azure Stack sessions were bursting at the seams, such was the early level of interest from customers and partners alike. The key draw to this solution is that it provides the same consistent cloud service delivery model as Microsoft Azure do in the public cloud, but without applications having to leave the data centre.

In this way, Microsoft Azure Stack addresses the three main challenges to adopting public cloud that organisations face:

  1. From a technology standpoint, Microsoft Azure Stack allows organisations to run some data and applications locally and some in the public cloud, but because the platform is the same, they achieve seamless integration and lower management costs;
  2. From a user perspective, data that absolutely must remain on-premise doesn’t need to be separated from its front end, it can all be run on Microsoft Azure Stack. This will immediately address any latency issues that have been created;
  3. From a risk angle, by keeping data and applications locally, those organisations who must be compliant with frameworks where they need to demonstrate exactly where data is, can benefit from the speed and agility of Microsoft Azure by bringing all the benefits of Microsoft’s cloud investment into their own data centres.

What are the benefits?

By addressing many, if not all, of the challenges, to realising the benefits of adopting public cloud services like Microsoft Azure, organisations can start to see for themselves what is possible with Microsoft Azure Stack. Microsoft has been rolling out features and functions fast, with four more Microsoft Azure instances announced at its Ignite conference just this week. In one session, Microsoft demonstrated how they have been updating their hardware with FPGA technology which underpins artificial intelligence and supercomputing. The fastest Microsoft Azure server that they have to date, that isn’t FPGA enabled did a translation of a Chinese encyclopedia into English in 11 seconds, one that is FPGA enabled achieved this in 0.9 seconds.

This massive computational capability enables a speed and agility for organisations who can now enjoy this functionality in the public cloud today, whilst ensuring data sovereignty with their on-premise as part of a consistent Azure ecosystem. This enables more businesses to achieve competitive advantage and faster time to market.

Microsoft continues to frequently release updates to public Azure, so these will be available as automated updates to the on-premise turnkey technology, developed, tested and proved at hyperscale ensuring business applications, services and workloads remain highly available.

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