One year and one day from the announcement of the Microsoft Cloud Platform System, we are happy to expand the CPS family of hybrid cloud systems. 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, including hybrid cloud appliances, and announced Cloud Platform System Standard.
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 that 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 video 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!