New Challenges Demand New Hybrid IT Solutions

Enable a hybrid cloud and consume HCI-as-a-service backed by an enterprise-class, market-leading infrastructure

Introducing the Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI

New challenges force us to find new solutions, but sometimes the challenges are so great they require an entirely different way of thinking about the solution.

Cloud was the digital transformation solution to all of IT’s challenges. That is, until it wasn’t. IT departments across organizations were forced to address cloud sprawl, uncontrolled costs, and governance to ensure efficient IT spend.

Then came the era of the hybrid cloud, representing the best of both worlds: the elasticity of public cloud and the security control of on-premises infrastructure. But that too brought a new set of challenges. This proliferation of deployment models required IT staff with the knowledge and skills to manage each of these unique architectures. It also required a unique set of tools to manage each of the cloud and on-premises environments.

Together, Dell Technologies and Microsoft are addressing these needs with the Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. This system is designed to do one thing and do it really well – optimize the operational experience of Microsoft’s next generation of Azure Stack HCI.

Next Gen Azure Stack HCI

At their Inspire event earlier this year, Microsoft announced the evolution of its HCI solution which is now delivered as an Azure service, not through a traditional licensing model. Users will consume Azure Stack HCI like they would Azure cloud instances, but the infrastructure lives on-premises. It’s by nature a hybrid solution – one that lives in your data center or in a Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) environment. Because of its Azure integration, customers have access to the latest security, performance and feature enhancements from Microsoft on a regular basis.

Announcing the Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI

Today we are excited to announce that we are launching a new offer: Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI – an all-in-one, validated HCI system with intelligently integrated foundation from Dell Technologies.

When HCI systems hit the market about 10 years ago, traditional servers were the underlying infrastructure, however HCI software has unique performance requirements. To meet the demands of HCI software, Dell EMC took the experience and expertise engineering PowerEdge servers and tailored them to meet the needs of software-defined solutions. Optimized hardware platforms and unique software integrations have propelled Dell EMC HCI systems to #1 in the HCI market.¹

Today we are excited to announce that we are launching a new offer: Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI – an all-in-one, validated HCI system with intelligently integrated foundation from Dell Technologies.”

When it came to designing infrastructure platforms for Azure Stack HCI, we built on that knowledge and experience, yet in some ways had to go back to the drawing board. That’s because the unique hybrid nature of Azure Stack HCI challenged our engineering team to not only think about creating the best HCI platform, we needed to create the best hybrid HCI platform. That’s why every chassis, every drive, DIMM, processor and adapter selection was made specifically to optimize for Azure Stack HCI.

“An example of a successful long-term relationship is the collaboration that went into the Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. This purpose-built system was designed specifically for the new Azure Stack HCI OS and is a testament to the engineering expertise of our two organizations,” according to Talal Alqinawi, Senior Director at Microsoft. “Together Dell Technologies and Microsoft are making hybrid cloud simple for customers from the core datacenter to Azure public cloud to the edge.”

Same tools, new tricks

While 93% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, only a third of those are using multi-cloud management tools², leaving the other two-thirds to manage their cloud deployments through different portals, tools, etc.

With the Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI, IT teams can use their familiarity of Azure, Windows Server, and Hyper-V to run and operate Azure Stack HCI with tools such as Windows Admin Center, PowerShell and the Azure portal.

We know that technology doesn’t run itself so when we set out to purpose-build our integrated system for Azure Stack HCI, we thought as much about the management expertise as we did about the hardware. The outcome was a simplified deployment and full stack lifecycle management experience through the OpenManage Integration for Windows Admin Center which reduces manual tasks by 82%, greatly reducing the risk of data entry mistakes or installation option guess work³.

Turning a Challenge into a Solution

When you’re ready to get started with the new Azure Stack HCI, Dell Technologies is here to support you with a team of experts. From start to finish and beyond, our proven enterprise-class deployment tools, global support, and consulting services aim to reduce the complexity that comes with design, deployment and management.

While the magic of cloud is mostly the notion that you only pay for what you use, Dell Technologies on Demand delivers on that same promise with flexible payment solutions for Azure Stack HCI. With the ability to pay as you use, but with the control and security of our infrastructure on-premises, Azure Stack HCI might actually be the best of both worlds for Microsoft environments.

The Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI will be available to ship initially in two configurations – the AX-640 and AX-740xd – starting in Q1 2021.

¹ DC WW Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, Vendor Revenue (US$M) Q2 2020, September 17, 2020

² Flexera State of the Cloud Report 2020 Internal lab review, taken from Dell EMC Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI: Life Cycle Management Approach Comparison Benefits of Automating the Azure Stack HCI Hardware Update Process, August 2020

³ Internal lab review, taken from Dell EMC Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI: Life Cycle Management Approach Comparison Benefits of Automating the Azure Stack HCI Hardware Update Process, August 2020

Shannon Champion

About the Author: Shannon Champion

Shannon leads product marketing for Dell EMC’s comprehensive hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) portfolio, which includes VMware-based HCI, Open HCI, and partner aligned HCI solutions. Shannon has been part of the Dell EMC hyper-converged business since the first EMC hyper-converged solution was introduced in 2014. As an IT marketing and sales enablement expert, Shannon has more than 17 years of experience in several cross-functional and management roles including product marketing, business development, manufacturing and quality with both direct manufacturers and channel partners. Before joining EMC, Shannon led Cisco product management and marketing for a national channel partner, PC Connection; was a product marketing manager and quality engineer for the IBM/Lenovo PC Division; and worked as a manufacturing process engineer for IBM’s microelectronics division. Shannon received her M.B.A. from Kenan-Flagler School of Business in North Carolina, and her M.S. and B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Rochester in upstate NY. Dell EMC, a part of Dell Technologies, enables organizations to modernize, automate and transform their data center using industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and data protection technologies. This provides a trusted foundation for businesses to transform IT, through the creation of a hybrid cloud, and transform their business through the creation of cloud-native applications and big data solutions. The company services customers of all sizes across 180 countries – ranging from 99 percent of the Fortune 500 to individual consumers – with the industry’s most comprehensive and innovative portfolio from the edge to the core to the cloud.