Welcome the all-new Azure Stack HCI

It’s a big day for hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI).  The world’s most cloud-connected HCI just got an overhaul, and Microsoft is (re)launching their Azure Stack HCI today <link to Microsoft announcement blog> .

Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI will be a big factor in the white-hot HCI space. It’s positioned to serve Hyper-V and Azure cloud centric customers who would otherwise have to make do with Nutanix or vSAN. Azure Stack HCI more optimally delivers modern infrastructure that simplifies the management of on-prem resources while seamlessly connecting them to the cloud.

And let’s be clear – this isn’t marketing speak. Azure Stack HCI is now a new and separate O/S, designed for real Hybrid management. Customers will use the Azure Portal as well as Windows Admin Center (WAC) for resource visibility, management, billing, troubleshooting… everything.  

Azure Stack HCI Infrastructure as a Service topology

Goodbye Azure Stack HCI, Hello Azure Stack HCI!

The all-new Azure Stack HCI, available either as a download or pre-installed on hardware, replaces the current Azure Stack HCI offering which was built around Windows Server 2019 features. And with the new software comes new functionality including stretch clustering for DR – built-in async or sync replication that you can use for local high-availability or across metro distances, with optional encryption. That’s powerful HA for free, that you may not get with other HCI products.

Other advantages of the new Azure Stack HCI include a set-up wizard within WAC, and integrated billing with Azure cloud.  Did I mention the licensing is per core/per month, and gets bundled into your existing Azure account?  No need to track separate licenses, CALs, etc.

HPE and Azure Stack HCI

This is an important time for our Azure Stack HCI on Apollo 4200 solution in that it’s gotten better than ever – thanks to newly qualified drives, it now accommodates over twice the data capacity! The Azure Stack HCI on HPE Apollo solution was already the best solution for ‘Data centric’ workloads – where you need high capacity per node to run workloads like SQL Server, Exchange, Analytics, secondary storage and the like. But now with the support for even larger capacity media, it can accommodate 829 Terabytes of data within its highly space-efficient 2U footprint, and almost 17PBs in a single rack.

If you need more Performance or flexibility in your Azure Stack HCI architecture, then look no further than a solution built on HPE ProLiant servers.  Or if you prefer the entire offering – software and hardware – all as-a-Service, then HPE has that coming soon in a GreenLake offering. 

With HPE you’ll find the same broad portfolio of solutions around this HCI product, including our own Azure Stack HCI on the HPE Apollo 4200 solution. Microsoft just updated the new program catalog so you’ll find just a few of our HPE validated solutions listed as of today, but that list will re-expand over the coming days.  

Next steps

So if you’re with an enterprise looking for a 60 node deployment in your datacenter, or an organization who just wants to try things out with a 2 node cluster, you can start by taking a look at our current portfolio of all HPE solutions for Azure Stack HCI online here.  Info specifically on the Azure Stack HCI on HPE Apollo solution is here.  And I ask you to engage with us as we develop and evolve our portfolio based on customer needs and requests – post a related question or comment in the space below.

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