Hybrid cloud grows up — Introducing Azure Stack

Hybrid cloud and the IT landscape are changing rapidly. Not all that long ago, most analysts and larger public cloud infrastructure companies would have had us believe that cloud was not only the future, but would also be the ‘only’ future. Even Microsoft who was, until relatively recently, seen to be playing catch up to the likes of AWS and Google, were espousing the mantra ‘cloud cloud cloud’.

However, today in the middle of 2016, it is fair to say that it is hybrid cloud that is now the way forward for many companies — for the foreseeable future, at least. Businesses, large and small, are turning to blended infrastructure because it combines the best of all worlds: public cloud, private cloud and dedicated servers working together.

In fact, according to the RightScale 20141State of the Cloud report, 74% of organisations have a hybrid cloud strategy in place — while the Vodafone Cloud Barometer 20152, that looks at global adoption, states hybrid cloud is the fastest growing model. The report further says hybrid cloud
will take precedence in new deployments.

Naturally, the public cloud, private cloud and existing on-premises or datacentre infrastructure can co-exist individually as valid solutions. But increasingly businesses are discovering that when it comes to the cloud, “one size does not fit all”. Instead, CIOs and CTOs are adopting the idea that their strategies can gain real synergistic value from combining different infrastructures into a single solution and services portfolio. The ability to create a common ‘hybrid’ computing architecture can deliver better reliability, optimised performance and greater ROI.

The purpose of this whitepaper is to consider Azure Stack — Microsoft’s new hybrid cloud platform that will allow organisations to deliver Azure services from their own datacentres. This whitepaper will also look at the applications and benefits of Azure Stack, while framing it within the larger hybrid cloud and hybrid IT environment.

Let’s begin by looking at what we really mean by the terms hybrid cloud and hybrid IT.