Last week at Microsoft Ignite there were several announcements front and centre in the hybrid cloud space, and now that we're in the post-Ignite lull, it's time to delve into some of these to see where they fit, and how they expand, enhance, and redefine hybrid cloud going forward.  I've been a true believer in proper hybrid cloud for many years now, and seeing the hybrid messaging expand even further right front and centre in the first ten minutes of the keynote this year really felt amazing.

For years, Azure Stack was a lone wolf, the first product in a new class, ushering in a new era of hybrid cloud computing that had never before been done, enabling Azure services to run not just in Microsoft datacentres, but in customer datacentres around the world.

Since becoming generally available at Ignite 2017 two years ago, Azure Stack has gone from strength to strength, and I've personally been involved in many Azure Stack deployments which have revolutionised how companies run and manage their cloud workloads on-premises.

In the intervening years, our industry's understanding of cloud matured further, birthing the need to not just enable Azure services to run anywhere, but also to allow traditional on-premises workloads to benefit from being connected to and managed by Azure. To start to redress this need, the Windows Server Software Defined (WSSD) program was rebranded to Azure Stack HCI. Azure Stack HCI is a program enabled through OEM hardware vendors which enables you to buy fully validated and supported hyperconverged infrastructure to run your Hyper-V workloads on, which can then be enhanced by connection to Azure features like Site Recovery, or Backup.

This rebranding brought Azure Stack and Azure Stack HCI together as part of the same family, delivering two clear sets of capabilities. Azure Stack for consistent cloud on-premises, when you need to take Azure services and run them wherever you cannot use Azure, and Azure Stack HCI when you need to take your traditional on-premises workloads, and enhance them through being connected to Azure.

 

Cloud Consistent Infrastructure, and Cloud Connected Infrastructure

Azure Stack HCI remains as is, and as of last week Azure Stack is officially renamed to Azure Stack Hub, with Azure Stack now referring to the overarching family - keeping up? :)

Microsoft have also announced that Data Box Edge is now joining the Azure Stack family under its new name, Azure Stack Edge. This for me makes total sense to move it out from the Data Box family, which is only about moving data, into the Azure Stack family, which is all about getting value from and transforming data.