At the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference today, Dell EMC expanded its alliance with Microsoft in a way that is designed to further narrow the divide between on-premises IT environments and the Microsoft Azure cloud.
The Dell EMC unit of Dell Technologies is now making available backup and business continuity services running on Azure, dubbed Dell EMC Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft, that can be invoked from within a Dell server platform running on premise. In addition, Dell EMC collaborated with Microsoft to create a Dev/Test Lab running on Azure that can be managed as a natural extension of a Dell EMC server platform.
Jim Ganthier, senior vice president for the Validated Solutions Organization in the Dell EMC Converged Platforms Solution Division, says in order to make it simpler to deploy these hybrid cloud platforms, Dell EMC has tested a range of systems that now come pre-configured with Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SQL Server in a way that makes Azure appear to be a seamless extension of the enterprise.
While there’s no doubt that Dell EMC will continue to work with Microsoft to craft a range of hybrid cloud computing solutions based on Windows Server 2016, IT organizations also need to keep an eye on a Microsoft Azure Stack platform for on-premises IT environments that is scheduled to arrive next year. That offering is billed by Microsoft as being a more natural extension of the Microsoft Azure public cloud.
Ganthier says IT organizations should view Azure Stack as one of several Windows Server 2016 options that they will be able to easily upgrade to in 2017.
“You should think of Azure Stack as one of several variants of the same platform,” says Ganthier.
The one thing that is clear is that Microsoft sees hybrid cloud computing as an opportunity to clearly differentiate itself from rivals such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) that continue to view on-premises IT deployments more as competition than an opportunity to work more closely with enterprise IT teams. Of course, it’s still early days in terms of when and how enterprise IT organizations that favor Microsoft will actually integrate with the Microsoft Azure cloud. But the one thing that is for sure is that as far as hybrid cloud computing is concerned, Microsoft will have a full court press on throughout the coming year.