Hybrid Cloud

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Today at Dell World, Satya Nadella joined Michael Dell on stage to talk about new solutions and investments Microsoft and Dell are jointly making to bring customers into the mobile-first, cloud-first world. We believe the key to helping many of you embrace the cloud will be to provide the right solutions and industry expertise to build and execute a hybrid cloud strategy. Hybrid is often the best onramp to the cloud. It enables you to get to the cloud in a way that makes sense for your business, with the flexibility to move workloads to the cloud or keep them in your datacenter. Today, with our new hybrid cloud appliance as well as Dell’s commitment to resell Microsoft Cloud services through the Cloud Solution Provider program, you have more options than ever to get to your hybrid cloud, on your terms.

Microsoft Extends the Industry’s Only Family of Hybrid Cloud Appliances

One year and one day from the announcement of the Microsoft Cloud Platform System (CPS), we are happy to expand the CPS family of hybrid cloud systems. What we now call CPS Premium was our first Azure-consistent hybrid cloud system, designed to help you achieve your goals of a well-integrated solution that balances the needs of agility, resiliency, and cost.

Since that announcement, it has been exciting to hear your feedback about the benefits of CPS. That feedback guided the work we have been doing in the last year, and is embodied in the product that we are announcing today: Cloud Platform System Standard (CPS Standard). We heard from you the hybrid cloud infrastructure capabilities we provided with CPS Premium (resiliency, self-service, workload automation, zero-downtime patching, integrated monitoring, integration with Microsoft Azure services) are what you are seeking to enable the delivery of IT as a service. However, we frequently heard many of you want to start smaller and have the ability to incrementally scale your hybrid cloud based on workload requirements. Interestingly, this request came from enterprises and service providers alike.

The first requirement we addressed was increased flexibility and scalability. CPS Standard starts at a minimum of four nodes and expands in units of a single server node up to 16 nodes.  CPS Standard also allows more flexibility in hardware configuration options based on your needs. You can choose to order different CPUs, different memory configurations, and customized storage configurations (for example, changing the SSD to HDD ratio). We reduced the footprint of the management software stack by co-locating management roles, calculating anticipated scale and relying on host clustering as a means of providing high availability. An interesting additional benefit is a much faster initial deployment and configuration of the solution. In our testing, we regularly see the system ready to operate in under three hours.

As we scaled CPS down to run on fewer servers, we wanted to maintain simplicity of deployment and operations. The architectural blueprint for the family remains consistent: CPS Standard combines Microsoft’s proven software stack of Windows Azure Pack, Windows Server 2012 R2, and System Center 2012 R2, with Dell’s server and storage hardware, and is ready to run Microsoft Azure Stack when it is available next year. Hardware and software are validated in collaboration with Dell, and arrive at your door ready to be plugged in and turned on.
 

Figure 1 CPS Architecture

 

This means that the administration experience for CPS Standard is consistent with CPS Premium. Windows Azure Pack provides the Azure-consistent self-service portal, so that the management interface and the skills needed to run CPS solutions of all sizes are the same, making it simple for you to adopt CPS and scale it as your needs grow.

Watch the following demonstration to get a real view of the consistency between Azure and the WAP portal as presented by CPS:

Another key aspect of operations, patching and updating, has been simplified with an automated patch and update framework that deploys pre-validated patches to significantly lower the risk associated with this task.

One area we think the integration with Microsoft Azure really works great to deliver simplicity as well as reliability is  business continuity. In today’s digital economy, business continuity is not an option, it is a critical design principle of any IT implementation. CPS Standard offers business continuity right out of the box with archival backup in Azure (using Azure Backup) and the ability to failover your workloads to Azure in case of a datacenter outage (utilizing Azure Site Recovery). This simplifies business continuity planning and makes it economically viable even if you don’t have a secondary datacenter for disaster recovery.

Finally, we are committed to working with Dell to provide a single point of contact for industry-leading support for CPS Standard. Dell will provide the first point of contact for CPS Standard customers, no matter what kind of issue you encounter. From a customer standpoint, there is only one number to call for any support needs to further simplify operations and increase efficiency.

We are excited to see the CPS family grow. We are convinced that our approach of integrating cloud services simplifies operations significantly and accelerates time to value, and we hope that, by covering a full range of deployment sizes, we will be able to welcome many more of you as users!

Microsoft Welcomes Dell to the Cloud Solution Provider Program

CPS Standard isn’t our only news today. Dell will also join the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program to deliver even more choice and flexibility as you game out your cloud journey. As a member of the Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP), Dell is offering the full portfolio of Microsoft cloud including Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Azure. We are excited that Dell will combine their diverse portfolio of capabilities from innovative technology to support services with the Microsoft Cloud, to efficiently guide customers on their cloud journey through end-to-end cloud, mobility, identity and productivity offerings that drive new innovation, improve employee productivity, and increase security.

Dell’s cloud consulting services can assist you through your entire cloud journey from building a cloud strategy to planning, designing and implementing a hybrid cloud solution leveraging Azure. Consultants will be trained to help you build custom cloud solutions for a range of business needs, whether you need hybrid infrastructure deployments, elastic scale and bursting, back-up and disaster recovery, web and mobile development, or data and analytics.

We’re also excited that Dell will provide end-to-end enterprise mobility and identity solutions, based on the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) to help you empower your increasingly mobile employees while protecting your corporate data and applications. EMS, combined with Windows 10 and Office 365, gives you comprehensive productivity tools and management capabilities to help secure your data as your workforce becomes more mobile.  We look forward to working with Dell to bring the power of the Microsoft Cloud to even more of you!

For more information on these updates, please visit the CPS web site and the Cloud Solution Provider web site, and we hope you’ll follow along as we talk more about CPS at Dell World.