The first article in this series provides an overview of the capabilities and benefits of deploying Windows Azure Pack in enterprise datacenters.
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Cloud computing is making big inroads into companies today. Smaller businesses are taking advantage of Microsoft cloud services like Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Office 365 to migrate their line-of-business applications and services to the cloud instead of hosting them on-premises. The reasons for doing this include greater scalability, improved agility, and cost savings.
Large enterprises tend to be more conservative with regards to new technologies mainly because of the high costs involved in widespread rollout of new service models and integrating them with existing the organization's datacenter infrastructure. Windows Azure Pack is designed to help large enterprises overcome these obstacles by providing a straightforward path for implementing hybrid solutions that embraces both the modern datacenter and cloud hosting providers.
What is Windows Azure Pack?
To understand what Windows Azure Pack is, you first need to be familiar with Windows Azure, Microsoft's public cloud platform. To understand what Windows Azure is all about, here are some brief excerpts from my recent book Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals: Technical Overview from Microsoft Press:
As a cloud platform from Microsoft that provides a wide range of different services, Windows Azure lets you build, deploy, and manage solutions for almost any purpose you can imagine. In other words, Windows Azure is a world of unlimited possibilities. Whether you're a large enterprise spanning several continents that needs to run server workloads, or a small business that wants a website that has a global presence, Windows Azure can provide a platform for building applications that can leverage the cloud to meet the needs of your business...
Let's look at the definition that Microsoft uses for describing Windows Azure:
Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool, or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.
This definition tells us that Windows Azure is a cloud platform, which means you can use it for running your business applications, services, and workloads in the cloud. But it also includes some key words that tell us even more:
- Open - Windows Azure provides a set of cloud services that allow you to build and deploy cloud-based applications using almost any programming language, framework, or tool.
- Flexible - Windows Azure provides a wide range of cloud services that can let you do everything from hosting your company's website to running big SQL databases in the cloud. It also includes different features that can help deliver high performance and low latency for cloud-based applications.
- Microsoft-managed - Windows Azure services are currently hosted in several datacenters spread across the United States, Europe, and Asia. These datacenters are managed by Microsoft and provide expert global support on a 24x7x365 basis.
- Compatible - Cloud applications running on Windows Azure can easily be integrated with on-premises IT environments that utilize the Microsoft Windows Server platform.
Windows Azure Pack vs. Windows Azure
Let's review the definition that Microsoft uses for describing Windows Azure:
You all know I'm a fan of this... There are just to many businesses, and business people, who freak at the thought of their, or their client's, data being "in the cloud." The Windows Azure Pack seems to be a great middle ground, letting us have the good that is "the cloud" inside our own data centers...
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