Dell EMC Boosts Power, Channel Applicability Of Azure Stack

Dell EMC Thursday said it is updating its Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack bundle with its latest servers, a move partners said is in line with their desire to be a part of the move to bring the Azure Stack to their customers' data centers.

Starting in November, the company will bring its new Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th-generation servers to the Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, said Paul Galjan, senior director of product management for Dell EMC hybrid cloud solutions.

Dell EMC also is introducing new training for channel partners related to how to sell Azure Stack, and is making it easier for partners to quote Azure Stack to customers, Galjan told CRN.

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"Over time, partners will also take deployment of Azure Stack to customers," he said. "We will be seriously building this out to the channel over 2018."

The news follows a move by Dell EMC last month to bring its data protection technologies to the Azure Stack with an eye on making it available to channel partners.

The Dell EMC PowerEdge 14th-generation servers can be configured with up to 48 total processor cores, 768 GB of memory, 1.9 TB of SSD cache and 10 TB of hard disk capacity, Galjan said.

Azure Stack is an extension of Microsoft Azure in which the capabilities of the public Azure cloud are brought into a customer's data center via integration with on-premises hardware.

Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack combines the company's hyper-converged infrastructure, networking, backup and encryption from Dell EMC, along with application development tools from Microsoft.

Azure Stack allows applications built for the Azure cloud to run natively on the public cloud or on private clouds based on Azure, Galjan said. "Azure Stack uses the same APIs as Azure," he said. "Customers can develop an application and run it on both Azure and Azure Stack, and move it between the two without modifications."

Azure Stack is a good way to bring the cloud to regulatory, data governance or data sovereignty use cases that require data be kept in a certain country or market, Galjan said.

It is also important for data gravity in the case of the Internet of Things or other use cases that generate so much data that moving that data to a public cloud becomes expensive or an onerous process, Galjan said. "Think about aircrafts, which generate terabytes of data per hour," he said. "With Azure Stack, an Azure cloud can could be put in an airport to gather the data."

To build its channel for the Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, Dell EMC will be targeting partners with Azure competencies, including know-how related to Microsoft's cloud strategy and migrating applications and data to the cloud, as well as those with Dell EMC infrastructure experience, Galjan said.

Partners like the idea of bringing Azure Stack to customers' on-premises data centers with the help of Dell EMC.

Azure Stack will be important to customers looking for an easy way to migrate data between on-premises and public cloud environments, said Dan Serpico, president of FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based solution provider and partner of Dell EMC and Microsoft.

"Ease of migration is ultimately what Azure Stack is about," Serpico told CRN. "That, and security. It's all about making it easy to move applications back and forth to the cloud. Is the data protected? How seamless is the operation? What else is there? There is logic to running the same cloud on- and off-prem."

Michael Tanenhaus, principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md.-based solution provider and Dell EMC artner, said the vendor's recent moves to help partners do more with public clouds including Azure are important.

"Azure Stack is interesting because it's Dell EMC expanding on the idea of basing technology on its own intellectual property before all others," Tanenhaus told CRN. "Doing IT planning is not about new tools, but about doing things in new ways."

Azure Stack is based on the idea that a business can buy into a public cloud but bring the same capabilities to their on-premises infrastructures, Tanenhaus said. Customers who need multi-cloud capability can then add Dell EMC's Pivotal, he said.

"With Azure one of the fastest-growing public clouds, people are trying to figure out how to bring consistent management with their on-prem infrastructure so they don't have two management systems or different APIs," he said. "This is how to extend Azure literally into your house. What is clear is, as cloud costs decrease, the vast majority of my customers want to get out of the infrastructure side."