Azure Stack Review

Secure, reliable, and good support but the bandwidth is limited

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are that it is a Hybrid, and we can easily integrate with the Microsoft Public Cloud.

It is totally CSA compliant. 

It's secure. It's not open. Anything we need to do has to be validated by the OEM, and software vendor.

It's an engineered system. everything that needs to be done such as a dispatching order when there is a new feature has to be completed by the vendors. It's totally dependent upon the vendor.

What needs improvement?

We need an expressway from a different network to allow for connectivity purposes. For example, If we want to have remote storage on-premises or off-site, I have to go through the public cloud. That is the only way.

There is a dependency. They don't encourage having it on-premises in different networks. 

I have an HCI model hyper-converged infrastructure. It's a minimum of four nodes with Microsoft Azure and I want to attach additional storage, but I cannot attach it without connecting directly and finding a new network.

There are limits to the bandwidth and sizing of the images.

Kubernetes as a service is there, but not as a platform as a service. I would like to have a Kubernetes cluster in a PaaS. They have it in the Azure public cloud, but they haven't released it in the Azure Stack.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Stack for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Azure Stack is scalable. You can add it immediately.

We have a cloud operator, we have our own provisioning team, cloud engineers, cloud architects, cloud evangelist, and cloud developers who use this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

I had contact with technical support once. There was a miscommunication between the hardware vendor and Microsoft OneNote. 

It took 20 to 25 days to get it back up and running. OneNote failed and Microsoft had an update without coordinating with the Microsoft engineer. There was a lack of communication.

Overall, the support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously we used other solutions but we didn't want to use third-party outsourced companies. We have our own infrastructure.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy, I didn't find it to be complex. Because it's validated hardware and software, any patches that have been released are validated by Microsoft itself.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Azure Stack is expensive.

What other advice do I have?

In the Middle East, we deal with a company called Logicom that Microsoft promoted and suggested to us. We are customers of Logicom and Logicom has a relationship with Microsoft.

I don't see any levels of risk involved unless there are different levels of risk that I am not aware of.

We have concepts called foil domain, availability domain, and geo-location. If you have this large domain in one rack and it is hyper-converged, and if one rack goes down then it's gone. You have to invest more money to get another rack to distribute the load amongst the two and make it high availability.

The more that you invest the more availability you get.

If you have applications running in a Microsoft-oriented platform then you have to be very clever, especially with architecture and design. It depends on your requirements. 

It's an expensive solution and even if you don't have the instances up and running, you are having to pay for the storage.

If the company is established with good returns and they are looking for a secure, safe, and reliable system, Azure Stack is a good choice.

Cost matters, no one wants to pay for virtualization. It is now available for free with the OS.

Assessing cost and reliability, I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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