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Microsoft's hybrid platform, Azure Stack Hub, gets management, machine learning updates

Microsoft is adding some new incremental features to its hybrid Azure Stack Hub platform, and it's continuing its Azure Arc unified management push at Build 2020.
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Written by Mary Jo Foley, Contributor on

There hasn't been a whole lot of news lately about Microsoft's private/hybrid-computing platform, the product formerly known as Azure Stack and, more recently, as Azure Stack Hub. But, at Build 2020 this week, Microsoft officials are talking up some of the new features coming soon to Azure Stack Hub in preview form.

Microsoft is making available in private preview Azure Stack Hub Fleet Management. Fleet Management is meant to give customers a single view and management method from Azure for all their Azure Stack Hub deployments. In addition, ManagedIQ, formerly known as CloudForms, will allow cloud operators a way to manage their resources on Azure Stack Hub using RedHat technical tooling for managing the hub. This is available in public preview.

At Build, Microsoft also is announcing a private preview of its Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Resource Provider on Azure Stack Hub. This is a managed service for managing containerized applications for creating and managing Kubernetes clusters on Azure Stack Hub. In addition, GPU partitioning using AMD GPUs for visualization also is available in private preview for Azure Stack Hub. This enables virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and other graphics-heavy scenarios on Azure Stack Hub, officials said.

Microsoft still hasn't delivered on its commitment dating back a couple of years to make its Cosmos DB NoSQL database available on Azure Stack. Microsoft did announce last year Azure Stack HCI (hyper-converged infrastructure), which allows customers to run VMs on-premises and connect them to Azure via an HCI solution. Microsoft is not planning to replace Azure Stack with Azure HCI; the two are different products with different use cases.

In other Azure-management-related news, Microsoft is making available this week a public preview of Azure-Arc-enabled Kubernetes. This capability will allow customer to manage and govern their Kubernetes clusters from Azure across their data centers, multi-cloud configurations, and Azure Stack Hub. Microsoft also is supporting SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as an Azure-Arc-enabled server.

Azure Arc, which Microsoft introduced last fall at Ignite, it is about projecting edge and on-premises resources back to the Azure portal so they can be managed in Azure. The idea is to give customers a single control plane in Azure to manage their edge, on-premises, and other cloud resources centrally.

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