May 17, 2020

Microsoft announces new hybrid cloud offering: Azure Arc

Cloud
Analytics
Information Technology
Harry Menear
2 min
Microsoft’s Azure cloud services will now run anywhere, including on its competitors’ cloud infrastructures, as part of an ongoing bet on the hybrid future of the cloud landscape. 
Microsoft’s Azure cloud services will now run anywhere, including on its competitors’ cloud infrastructures, as part of an ongoing bet on the hybrid...

Microsoft’s Azure cloud services will now run anywhere, including on its competitors’ cloud infrastructures, as part of an ongoing bet on the hybrid future of the cloud landscape. 

The new service was previewed yesterday at Microsoft Ignite, the company’s annual gathering of technology leaders taking place right now in Orlando, Florida. 

Azure Arc brings Azure services and management to any infrastructure, allowing its users to use Azure services like Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale on virtually any platform. Azure Arc extends these proven Azure management capabilities to Linux and Windows servers, as well as Kubernetes clusters on any infrastructure across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge. 

From the Azure portal, users will be able to access a unified and consistent view of all their Azure data services running across on-premises and clouds and can apply consistent policy, security and governance of data across environments. 

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“We are excited to see Microsoft bringing Azure data services and management to any infrastructure,'' said Erik Vogel, Vice President for Customer Success, Hybrid Cloud Software and Services at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “Through our partnership with Microsoft we hope to deliver a true as a Service experience across environments to help manage both the databases and the underlying infrastructure, and offer a consistent experience across on-premises and the cloud.” 

The upshot will be that administrators of diverse cloud architectures will be able to use Azure Arc to approach auditing, compliance and security concerns across multiple environments, as well as build and deploy applications that work across multiple infrastructures. 

“Enterprises across 60 countries including Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, KPMG Norway and Airbus Defense & Space are building hybrid solutions powered by Azure Stack Hub connected and disconnected from Azure,” wrote Julia White, Corporate Vice President at Azure, in the company press release. 

“Today, we are expanding our Azure Stack portfolio to offer customers even more flexibility with the addition of Azure Stack Edge. Azure Stack Edge is a managed AI-enabled edge appliance that brings compute, storage and intelligence to any edge. Customers will be able to take advantage of new capabilities including Virtual Machine support, a GPU based form factor, high availability with multiple nodes, and multi-access edge compute (MEC). We are also introducing a new rugged series of Azure Stack Edge form-factors designed to provide cloud capabilities in the harshest environment conditions supporting scenarios such as tactical edge, humanitarian and emergency response efforts.”

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Aug 5, 2021

Gartner: no threats to AWS, MS and Google cloud dominance

AWS
GOOGLECLOUD
MicrosoftAzure
Gartner
3 min
cloud gartner
A new report from Gartner finds no challengers to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud’s dominance, and warns of lock-in danger

A new report from Gartner finds no challengers to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud’s dominance, and warns of lock-in danger.

The report – Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure and Platform Services – says enterprises have “significantly accelerated” their use of cloud infrastructure and platform service (CIPS) as they seek scalability and agility during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Strong niche players

But while it recognises strong niche players and visionaries such as Alibaba Cloud, Oracle, Tencent Cloud and IBM in its magic quadrant, it finds little to threaten the dominance of AWS, Microsoft and Google in the lucrative cloud market.

Magic quadrant – AWS

The report cites clients complaining of heavy handed sales techniques from AWS, where customers are pressured to increase spend by 20 per cent in order to renew their contracts. Companies with “significant dependence” on the platform feel they have nowhere to turn, though the report also notes that “the pressure to increase spend is not AWS’s policy and will be eliminated if the customer escalates.”

It also cautions that customers of the market leader often find they need third-party help in order to overcome the “substantial technical skills” in order to navigate the complexity of the product portfolio, and says “AWS’s new services are often not ready for meaningful enterprise consumption” because the products are “matured in public.” Gartner also says companies are misled about the abilities of AWS’s products based on its leadership position in IaaS and dbPaaS, which does not necessarily translate across to other cloud strengths.

Magic quadrant – Google Cloud

Google Cloud, the report says, is making strong gains but struggles to maintain support post-sales, perhaps as a result of rapid internal growth. It also cautions that attractive discount incentives are bound to reverse later. Google Cloud operates at a substantial loss and is not the parent company’s main source of revenue. The report praises Google Cloud’s reputation as a strategic choice and its “impressive year-on-year improvements”.

Magic quadrant – Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure, the report says, has “the broadest sets of capabilities, covering a full range of enterprise IT needs from SaaS to PaaS and Iaas compared to any provider in this market.” It also has market trust built over decades. However Gartner cautions that Microsoft, while making concerted efforts to improve resiliency, has continued to “experience some outages, particularly in association with updates and maintenance events.” Further downsides included overcomplicated licensing and a sales strategy that prevented reps from “effectively deploying Azure to bring down a customer’s total Microsoft costs.”

Gartner: ‘remarkably similar’

The report concludes that: “On the surface, many of the providers in this magic quadrant appear alike. They all have, for example, virtual machines, managed container services and managed database PaaS offerings. The various pricing models are remarkably similar and often within comparable ranges, even when negotiated discounts are taken into account.

“What’s wholly different is below the surface – at the level of architecture, implementation and operations. The resiliency characteristics afforded to clients varies widely by provider. Major outages plagued several cloud providers in this Magic Quadrant over the past year. In some cases, providers offered few capabilities to work around provider-oriented failure using accepted, modern means such as availability zones.

“Strategic cloud provider selection necessitates that enterprises consider the failure scenarios by workload and architect to manage them. In some regions, with several providers in this Magic Quadrant, the challenge of working around provider-oriented failure is insurmountable.”

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