Microsoft Philippines and local ICT distributor VST ECS Philippines launched last January 23 the Azure Stack Portfolio at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.
Azure Stack is a family of products that bring the services of Azure to data centers, remote locations, the cloud, and the edge.
Explaining the term “intelligent edge,” Microsoft Philippines cloud solutions architect Miguel Arcilla said, “We realized that computing is not something that just stays in one data center. The cloud has really extended to not just being what Microsoft owns or what Microsoft operates on your behalf but also all of the other data-generating pieces of technology that can exist in your organization. And that is what we consider the edge.”
Among these data-collecting technologies are smart sensors, IoT, and personal devices. According to Arcilla, Microsoft is trying to bridge the gap between the managed cloud and all these edge devices. In bridging this gap, the company focuses on the hybrid strategy.
Azure Stack belongs to the Azure Hybrid general family of solutions. The Azure Stack Portfolio consists of the Azure Stack Edge, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Hub.
Azure Stack Edge is useful for locations with limited or restricted connectivity such as submarines and aircraft, IoT applications, efficient field operations involving disaster relief and humanitarian efforts and the like, and smarter management of mobile fleet assets such as utility and maintenance vehicles.
Azure Stack HCI, meanwhile, is a hyperconverged solution for scalable virtualization and storage, remote branch offices, and high-performance workloads.
A stand-alone appliance, Azure Stack Hub functions as a complete autonomous cloud that can run in a connected or disconnected environment. The solution benefits mission-critical operations requiring deployment of compute infrastructure in locations with zero connectivity. A ship in the middle of the ocean with apps deployed on Azure is one such location.
Azure Stack Portfolio has other use cases. For the financial sector, it can be used for customer analytics, among others. IoT device analytics and understanding how medical devices are performing are among its applications in healthcare. In manufacturing, the solution can perform maintenance closer to the actual source of the data. Retail, energy and the public sector can also benefit from the Microsoft solution.
According to Arcilla, Microsoft has realized that 69% of enterprises have a hybrid strategy, 84% of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy and 75% of enterprise generated data will be created and developed outside a traditional data center or cloud.
“This means there are more and more organizations that are cognizant that the ecosystem has grown past their internal data centers and the laptops or devices that their people are using, that having a cloud strategy is important but also not necessarily being beholden to a single cloud,” said Arcilla.