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Microsoft confirms first Azure Stack technical preview to arrive on 29 January

Microsoft hopes hybrid cloud platform will help enterprises that want to do more in public cloud but can't because of data sovereignty concerns

Microsoft has confirmed the forthcoming technical preview release of its Azure Stack platform, which is designed to allow enterprises to deliver public cloud services from the confines of a private datacentre.

The software company is set to release the first Azure Stack technical preview on Friday 29 January. It says the platform will make it easier for end users to choose whether or not to run their applications in a private datacentre or from a hosting provider.

“Through a series of technical previews, Microsoft will add services and content such as OS images and Azure Resource Manager templates to help customers start taking advantage of Azure Stack,” wrote Mike Neil, corporate vice president of enterprise cloud at Microsoft, in a blog post.

The platform will enable end users to access Azure’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) capabilities using on-premise datacentre kit.

Users will also be able to create open source and .Net applications that, with the help of a common set of Azure APIs, can be deployed in either the Microsoft public cloud or the Azure Stack.

Read more about Microsoft’s cloud strategy

Neil said the product is geared towards helping companies that want to take advantage of the flexibility of the public cloud but have so far been unable to because of data sovereignty and other regulatory concerns.

“We believe that Microsoft can uniquely deliver this hybrid cloud platform in a way no other technology vendor can. We have a rich set of assets and investments across on-premise and public cloud. We have a deep understanding of enterprise requirements for both developers and IT professionals acquired through many years of delivering transformational datacentre technologies,” Neil continued.

“With Azure Stack, we’re now doing the hard work of translating these learnings for on-premise environments, so customers can benefit from speed and innovation of the cloud model without location constraints.”

Standardised architecture

Users already familiar with the Azure interface should encounter minimal problems when trying to get to grips with it, he added.

“Azure and Azure Stack have a standardised architecture, including the same portal, a unified application model and common dev-ops tools,” Neil wrote.

“The application model is based on Azure Resource Manager, which enables developers to take the same declarative approach to applications, regardless of whether they run on Azure or Azure Stack.

“Tooling-wise, developers can use Visual Studio, PowerShell, as well as other open-source dev-ops tools, thereby enabling the same end user experiences as in Azure,” he added.

Read more on Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)