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Microsoft Azure Stack Goes Live, Hybrid Computing At Its Best

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Microsoft Azure is getting another big update this week. The software giant this week rolled out the third and final Technical Preview of its Azure Stack, adding several new infrastructures, security and connectivity features on board. The Azure Stack Technical Preview is now available for download.

Microsoft Announced Azure Stack Technical Preview 3

According to Storage Review, which got the full details of the story, the Redmond-based software company this week announced the availability to download Azure Stack Technical Preview 3. The newly released Azure update contains new cloud features to enable more modern application capabilities, and new infrastructure and security enhancements.

Among the new exciting features are the following: Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets support; enhanced infrastructure management functionality; the ability to deploy with ADFS for disconnected scenarios; enhanced IaaS and PaaS functionality; Azure D-Series VM support; the ability to syndicate content from the Azure Marketplace to Azure Stack, and enhanced security for the isolated administrator portal

The newly introduced features will bolster the need for hybrid cloud adoption and allow applications to be more easily moved from one place to another. Azure Stack, which is an appliance built to run on specific server hardware, is delivered through integrated systems that are designed to continuously incorporate many pieces of Azure platform in a more predictable, non-disruptive way.

Originally, the plan was to launch Azure Stack before the end of 2016 and allow customers to run it on the hardware of their choice. However, Microsoft made last-minute moves, shifted gears, and now require customers to purchase Azure Stack as an appliance on a small set of preselected servers, and moved the product release date until mid-2017.

In addition, Microsoft will also be adding multi-tenancy support, Azure Functions serverless compute service, and VM Extension syndication shortly after TP3 release. Microsoft also said that Blockchain, Cloud Foundry, and Mesos templates workloads will also join Microsoft Azure Stack shortly after today's TP3 release.

The timing of the release of the Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 comes at a good time for Microsoft, given that rival Amazon Web Service (AWS) had suffered a major outage and those companies that were hit by this major outage might be thinking now to look for a bit more on-premises security and better alternative. Microsoft Azure could be a good choice for them.

Azure Stack Pricing And Availability

As for the pricing, Azure customers will only pay for Azure services that they use from general availability, also known as pay-as-you-use go service. As mentioned earlier by The Register, the Azure Stack services will be typically metered on the same units as using Azure Cloud platform, but Azure Stack prices will be much lower since Azure customers operate their own IT hardware and data centers.

Register also reported that there will also be core-based pricing, in which customers are unable to have their metering information sent to Azure. Microsoft made this core-based pricing for the organizations that want Azure Stack on-premises but don't want their servers or hardware to connect to Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft also announced that Azure Stack systems from technology partners Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo will be available for order by mid-year, while Azure Stack systems from Cisco UCS will be late. Cisco is targeting a launch date in the third and four quarter of 2017.

For more information about Microsoft Azure Stack, check out Microsoft Azure's official website.

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