Microsoft Azure Stack at the Tactical Edge

By now you’ve probably heard of Microsoft’s Azure Stack solution. The promise of Azure Stack is huge – the ability to take Azure services and run them on-premises using the same toolsets, developer frameworks, and administration that your organization is already familiar with from the Azure public cloud.  Azure Stack provides organizations with a consistent hybrid cloud and the ability to develop once and provision either on-premises or in the public Azure cloud quickly and easily. The Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack takes that one step further by wrapping Azure Stack in an engineered hardware solution leveraging Dell servers and hyperconverged storage, the VxRack AS.

One of the key use cases for Azure Stack is the ability to run cloud workloads and utilize Azure services at the network edge. That keeps data processing close to the source to speed performance of critical applications and provides the foundation for next generation IoT technologies. For most organizations the edge is within their data centers.

What about other organizations for which the edge is, shall we say, beyond the four walls of their data center? What if your edge is a harsh environment, on a battlefield, or even a moving target where the edge changes frequently? We’ve got an Azure Stack for that, too!

Microsoft Azure Stack to the Tactical Edge

Today, Dell EMC is introducing the Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack, the first and only solution to bring the power of Azure Stack to the tactical edge. The solution, initially available in the US, is functionality identical to Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack but is built to be deployed in scenarios where it would be challenging to run a typical solution. As part of a partnership with Tracewell Systems, it includes Dell EMC servers and networking encased in ruggedized “pods” that are meant to be deployed in harsh conditions. That includes large vehicles, ships that sail on or under the sea, and aircraft that travel all over the world.  It is also sized such that it can be transported from place to place by just two people, making it easy to transport your cloud solution quickly to wherever it’s needed. You can’t exactly do that with a full rack of servers!  The solution is expected to be available later in Q1.

Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack Use Cases

There is already a lot of demand for Azure Stack among government and military customers and I fully expect they’ll find a lot of value in the Tactical Azure Stack solutions.

The military in particular has unique challenges of operations in often difficult environments where Tactical Azure Stack is better suited to run. Like the Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, Tactical Azure Stack can be run in a fully disconnected mode without requiring connectivity back to public Azure, making it easy to deploy in submarines and other locations without readily available Internet access or in secure locations where having an Internet connected cloud is not desirable.  Bringing data processing and critical systems to the tactical edge, close to the applications and people that need it, is a huge advantage of this solution.

Beyond military and government, our Consulting team works with customers across other industries where having a portable Azure Stack can be invaluable. Customers like those in the mining or energy industries can see the benefits of deploying Tactical Azure Stack close to their operations without needing a full data center in often challenging locations.  Any organization that needs a fully hybrid cloud solution in a form factor that is easily portable,  and can stand up to harsh conditions can benefit from deploying Tactical Azure Stack.

Our Dell EMC Consulting team has a lot of experience already deploying Azure Stack for government and other secure organizations around the world. We will be applying that experience to the unique requirements of customers that need an Azure Stack solution in a rugged, secure form factor. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with our customers to help achieve their business and operational outcomes and Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack is another tool in the toolbox to help them achieve those goals.

About the Author: Matt Liebowitz

Matt Liebowitz is the Global Cloud Platforms lead for the Dell Technologies Consulting Services Portfolio.  He focuses on thought leadership and service development for multi-cloud and cloud platform related Consulting services. Matt was named a VMware vExpert every year since 2010 and is a frequent blogger and author on a wide range of cloud related topics. Matt has been a co-author on three virtualization-focused books, including Virtualizing Microsoft Business-critical Applications on VMware vSphere and VMware vSphere Performance. He is also frequent speaker at the VMworld and Dell Technologies World conferences.