Microsoft adds Cisco UCS to short list of servers that will run Azure Stack

Microsoft is adding a fourth vendor, Cisco, to the short list of server vendors who will ship Azure Stack appliances in 2017.

Last year, Microsoft did a reset of its Azure Stack hybrid-cloud strategy. Instead of allowing customers and partners to run Azure Stack on the hardware of their choice, as originally planned, Microsoft officials said they'd deliver Azure Stack as an appliance using HPE, Dell, and Lenovo servers only.

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But Microsoft just added a fourth server option to those approved to run Azure Stack. Microsoft and Cisco have collaborated to get Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) on the Azure Stack short list, officials from the two companies said on February 9.

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The two companies said the Cisco Integrated System for Azure Stack will be available some time in the Q3-Q4 2017 timeframe. Microsoft officials said last year that Azure Stack had been delayed from 2016 to mid-2017.

Cisco UCS is a data-center platform providing anywhere from one to hundreds of servers to provide compute, network, storage access, and virtualization, and can be managed as a single system.

Azure Stack is a stack of technologies Microsoft is designing for customers and partners to run in their own datacenters. Azure Stack includes "experiences" and programming interfaces that Microsoft offers via its own Azure public cloud.

Microsoft released Technical Preview 2 of Azure Stack in August 2016.

Microsoft officials have said that customers ultimately may be able to run Azure Stack on the hardware they already own, which some users say they'd prefer as a cost-saving measure. But Microsoft execs haven't said this is a definite or provided a timetable as to when that may happen.

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