Equinix and HPE Deliver Microsoft Azure Stack On Demand

Delivering a cost-effective, usage-based model for managing hybrid cloud

Brian Petit
Tamas Horvath

Microsoft Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft Azure that allows developers to build, deploy and operate hybrid cloud and edge applications consistently across private and public clouds. Microsoft Azure Stack systems provide tools and services consistent with Microsoft Azure in a dedicated, private environment to meet regulatory or technical requirements for workloads not suitable for the shared public cloud.

While the software component of Azure Stack is available on a subscription basis from Microsoft that is similar to Azure, the validated Azure Stack hardware configurations typically require a larger initial capital investment. Many enterprises were looking at eliminating this upfront hardware cost to make the overall Microsoft Azure Stack solution more aligned commercially with the elastic, pay-as-you-go model of public clouds.

This Equinix and HPE solution enables faster time to market and provisioning for hybrid Microsoft Azure Cloud and Azure Stack deployments, and overcomes the power/cooling, weight-bearing capacity constraints and connectivity challenges frequently encountered in enterprise on-premises facilities. Brian Petit, Senior Global Solutions Architect, Equinix

HPE found the perfect answer to this dilemma for their customers with the HPE GreenLake commercial solution that offers on-demand capacity planning for HPE hardware, combining the agility and economics of public cloud with the security and performance of on-premises IT. Equinix partnered with HPE to offer fully deployed Microsoft Azure Stack systems in Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers with a consumption-based pricing model that does not require any upfront investment.

The HPE GreenLake Azure Stack solution on Platform Equinix offers a single cost-effective, pre-deployed solution that covers the hardware, software licensing, networking and maintenance on a usage basis. It consists of Microsoft validated Azure Stack hardware running a choice of four-, eight-, twelve-, or 16-node HPE ProLiant servers. Software-defined interconnection to Azure and Azure Stack clouds via Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is enabled by pre-provisioned Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) connectivity.

Tapping into consumption-based hybrid IT services  

The pricing model of the HPE GreenLake Azure Stack solution at Equinix is purely based on the size of total memory used, which is determined by the customer’s requirements. The memory usage was selected as a good indicator of the overall performance needed for hybrid cloud and edge applications, and it vastly simplifies usage-based pricing compared to other methods involving changes of each individual hardware component. HPE deploys the Azure Stack systems with additional overhead “buffer” capacity at Equinix that can be activated as needed, without lengthy delays and waiting for a support technician to add hardware capacity on-site. In a similar way, dynamic capacity downsizing is also included in the elastic pricing model.

This Equinix and HPE solution enables faster time to market and provisioning for hybrid Microsoft Azure Cloud and Azure Stack deployments, and overcomes the power/cooling, weight-bearing capacity constraints and connectivity challenges frequently encountered in enterprise on-premises facilities.

Enterprises can benefit from easy management and increased security while leveraging a high-performance, high-capacity hybrid cloud infrastructure on a reliable, global interconnection and data center platform.

HPE GreenLake with Azure Stack on Platform Equinix is available to both enterprise customers wanting to manage their environments on their own, and to service provider partners building managed Microsoft Azure Stack offerings using an underlying consumption-based procurement model. The commercial solution is currently available at the following Equinix locations: Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore – with plans for future deployments in Tokyo, Seoul, Paris and London.

Equinix Microsoft Azure Stack Validation Centers

For enterprises, ISVs and developers not yet fully committed to a production Microsoft Azure Stack system, Equinix and HPE also offer Microsoft Azure Stack Validation Centers to assist with testing their Azure cloud-native applications or other edge or private workloads on production grade four-node Azure Stack systems.

Australia was the first to launch one of these validation centers in Sydney, equipped with an HPE system and enabled by Vigilant.IT, an Equinix partner that specializes in deploying and managing Azure Stack to for its customers. Equinix partners, such as PI Services in Paris, are also providing their expert deployment and management skills and services to run proof of concept (POC) scenarios in the Microsoft Azure Stack Validation Centers.

Harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud services

Microsoft Azure and Azure Stack hybrid cloud services on Platform Equinix, using ECX Fabric and Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, enables workloads to be spread seamlessly between on-premises and cloud environments. Typical use cases for using Azure Stack include:

  • Hybrid DevOps: Azure Stack services and tools are consistent with Microsoft Azure and can be leveraged in cloud-native application development. Existing apps developed for Azure can run on Azure Stack, and the Azure ISV community can create apps that work on both Azure and Azure Stack.
  • Regulatory and Compliance: Microsoft Azure Stack can be used where regulatory or customer’s governance requirements call for a dedicated, private cloud as opposed to shared, public cloud.
  • Tiered Data Solution: Edge data can be processed closer to the source using Azure Stack, uploaded to Microsoft Azure public cloud for deeper analysis and integration with business systems.
  • Data Privacy Solution: Azure Stack can run a cloud-native app in a private environment with unique identifiable personal data – then scrub and mask sensitive privacy details before uploading to Azure public cloud running the same app working on compliant data.
  • Remote Hybrid Cloud Access: Azure Stack can be used in locations without a Microsoft Azure region, the private and public deployments can be securely connected via ECX Fabric without going over the public internet.
  • Extending support for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008: Move the soon to be end-of-life Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 virtual machines to Azure Stack and get three years of Extended Security Updates at no additional charge.

See a more detailed description of the Equinix and HPE GreenLake Microsoft Azure Stack solution.

You may also be interested in reading the following information about Equinix, HPE and Vigilant.IT:

Microsoft Azure Stack Validation Center Data Sheet

Microsoft Azure Stack Validation Center Presentation

And check out the Cloud28+ article on Equinix and the HPE Microsoft Azure Stack solution in Australia.

Brian Petit
Brian Petit Principal Solution Architect
Tamas Horvath
Tamas Horvath Principal Solution Architect Global Solutions Architect - Cloud, Financial, Enterprise, Content and Digital Media