Avanade, Huawei to sell Microsoft Azure Stack appliances

Microsoft's short list of vendors that will sell Azure Stack running on server hardware in customers' datacenters is gradually growing longer.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Two more vendors have joined the handful of companies planning to sell Microsoft's Azure Stack hybrid-computing systems.


Avanade -- the joint venture between Microsoft and Accenture -- and Huawei are both backing Azure Stack, those companies said recently.

Azure Stack is an appliance built to run on specific server hardware. It provides customers with many of the pieces of Microsoft's Azure public-cloud platform in a form they can run inside their own or partners' on-premises datacenters.

Azure Stack systems from Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo will be available for order by mid-year. Azure Stack systems on Cisco UCS hardware will be out slightly later; Cisco recently said the target was Q3 or Q4 this year.

Avanade announced earlier this month that it would offer users the choice of running Azure Stack on-premises at client sites, at remote locations or hosted in Avanade's datacenters. Avanade also said it would offer Azure Stack through Accenture's Cloud Platform (ACP) some time in the second half of calendar 2017.

Avanade officials have not specified which "leading datacenter hardware solution provider" and "leading network equipment company" will be providing the server and networking hardware that is part of the coming bundle, as The Register reported. However, according to The Register, the hardware will include "a space-constrained turnkey Azure Stack with four nodes in 6U (including switching and management host), the second is a density/capacity optimized Azure stack with four nodes in in 8U (including switching and management host). Both are expandable to the full 12 node maximum."

Huawei also announced earlier this month plans to sell Azure Stack running on its FusionServer and CloudEngine switches, and to integrate Huawei's eSight management software with Azure Stack. Huawei plans to start selling the Huawei Hybrid Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack by the first quarter of calendar 2018.

Microsoft is touting Azure Stack as a truly consistent hybrid-cloud platform. It will allow users to use Azure public cloud services against data stored in Azure Stack on premises, and deploy the same Azure-services-based applications on both the public Azure cloud and Azure Stack.

Microsoft's original plan was to deliver Azure Stack before the end of 2016 and allow customers to run it on the hardware of their choice. Last year, Microsoft shifted gears, requiring users to purchase Azure Stack as an appliance on a small set of pre-selected servers, and pushed back the product's release until mid-2017.

After the initial purchase of Azure Stack turnkey systems, customers will only pay for Azure services that they use from general availability, forward ("pay-as-you-use" pricing). The current one-node offering meant for dev/test will continue to be free after general availability.

(Thanks to Augusto Alvarez for catching me up on the latest Azure Stack partner news.)

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