Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Organizational Readiness
- Testing Overview
- About William McKnight
- About Travis Freeburg
- About GigaOm
An Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure is a cloud infrastructure that is managed and monitored by Microsoft Azure. It includes features such as Azure Resource Manager, Azure Monitor, and Azure Security Center. The Azure portal is a web-based management tool that provides a unified experience for managing all Azure resources. The Azure portal allows you to create, manage, and monitor Azure resources in a single, unified console. Many are managing their Microsoft Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure from an Azure portal.
Azure Stack HCI is a hybrid cloud solution that merges the power of the Azure control plane with hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and enables organizations to advance digital modernization goals with cost-effective technology.
Hybrid cloud solutions play an integral role in the digital transformation of enterprise IT. Organizations that fail to leverage technology that aids in the transition of legacy, on-premises workloads into the cloud face multiple challenges:
- Multiple support models for both on-premises and public cloud infrastructure
- Mixed cost model overhead with CapEx infrastructure and cloud OpEx
- Added lifecycle and redundancy costs
Azure Stack HCI is an opportunity for organizations to keep high performance workloads or workloads tied to data sovereignty on-premises while using Azure’s control plane to administer and monitor those environments. Further, Azure Stack HCI supports Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) enabled by Azure Arc and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), which provide a very simple way to run these solutions on-premises.
Hybrid cloud management is only one facet of the Azure Stack HCI solution, however. Hyperconverged infrastructure provides benefits over traditional infrastructure deployments, including:
- Robust scalability
- Improved performance
- Simplified deployments and management
- Software-defined infrastructure and reduced infrastructure costs
A primary element of digital modernization for any organization is software-defined infrastructure (SDI) implementation. Aiding automation, resiliency, security, and redundancy, Azure Stack HCI offers software-defined networking as an available feature and software-defined storage as a core technology.
In our testing, Azure Stack HCI showed an advantage in each activity completed. This reflects the product’s advantage in providing the benefits of a unified infrastructure management across clouds for forward-looking IT organizations. Of particular note is the familiarity current administrators and engineers in the Microsoft Windows space will find with much of the tooling, leveraging existing resource expertise.
Our testing aligned numeric values to score the level of effort and skill needed to complete common activities in Azure Stack HCI compared to a typical IT environment without it. Azure Stack HCI needed fewer resources with fewer skill sets to accomplish the same work as current or legacy on-premises infrastructure administration. Additionally, Azure Stack HCI provides the only way to operate Azure Virtual Desktop on-premises and managed from the same portal as in-cloud deployments.
We hope this report is informative and helpful in reviewing the capabilities of Azure Stack HCI and presenting the time-to-value total cost of ownership (TCO).