Well Microsoft Inspire has kicked off in fine form, both with the announcement of the GA of the Azure Stack Development Kit (formerly One Node PoC), and with the announcement that Azure Stack multi-node systems from Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo are available for pre-order now, shipping in September.
This marks the start of a ~2 month countdown to launch – the final furlong in a multi-year journey to true hybrid cloud, and for those of us who have been working deep in about the product for that whole time, the excitement in the community is palpable.
This isn’t the end of the journey however, this is day one of the start of a whole new wave of datacentre innovation, as the reality and the power of the hybrid cloud plus the intelligent edge really start to be understood. There is still so much both to learn and to teach, how we in the service provider industry most effectively deliver value against the inevitability of data gravity, and how we most effectively build into the future without disregarding our heritage.
Cloud doesn’t replace virtualisation, certainly not in the next few years. I’ve run many, many Azure Stack customer workshops, and the single most common assumption about Azure Stack is that it is a VMware and Hyper-V replacement. The good news for those who have built careers in virtualisation over the last ten years or more, is that in most cases, applications which are designed for virtualisation still run best there today. Over time, the inevitable new waves of cloud-native and cloud-first applications will of course displace those traditional 1, 2, 3 tier type applications, but the important takeaway right now is that Digital Transformation is not all or nothing, it can occur over time.
It’s that breathing room in many cases that Azure Stack provides – the ability to iteratively modernise parts of applications over time, while maintaining intra-DC bandwidth and latencies, and without having to disregard or immediately abandon existing hardware and hypervisors.
So this has been a hugely exciting journey to date, and if one thing has been made clear at Inspire today, it’s that partners are the lynchpin that will drive forward products like Azure Stack in the future. I’m incredibly excited to keep sharing as we go forward, but even more importantly, I’m excited to keep on learning!
Right, time to get a VPN set up on this laptop so I can deploy the Azure Stack Development Kit… let’s get building the future!