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Azure Stack is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Software Defined Data Center vendors. It is most often compared to VMware Cloud Foundation: Azure Stack vs VMware Cloud Foundation

What is Azure Stack?
Azure Stack Buyer's Guide

Download the Azure Stack Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: October 2021

Azure Stack Customers

Weblink, Fathym, Sage, CFD Support Ltd, The UberCloud Inc.

Azure Stack Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Azure Stack pricing:
  • "Azure Stack is expensive."
  • "Subscription model customers need not make large expenditures on upfront purchasing."
  • "The pricing is very expensive."

Azure Stack Reviews

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MarinusHoogendijk
Managing Partner at Data Beyond
Real User
Top 10
Intuitive and user-friendly dashboarding and management reporting features

Pros and Cons

  • "The best thing about this product is that it is user-friendly and intuitive."
  • "The setup for Azure becomes more complex when you have multiple users and multiple organizations using the same solution, but this is to be expected."

What is our primary use case?

We use Azure primarily for sales management. Specifically, we use it to help us manage the delivery of digital solutions that we provide to clients.  

We also use it for our own internal accounting, tracking our CRM document management, and we have developed different tailor-made solutions through which we provide additional services to our clients.  

How has it helped my organization?

It allows us to creatively integrate solutions easily.  

What is most valuable?

The best thing about this product is that it is user-friendly and intuitive. That is true, especially for dashboarding and management reporting. The low code development tooling that they provide allows us to do rapid development. They also have some interesting features for self-learning, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.  

It is a complete stack that helps us to easily link various components together so that the whole component-based development connects to other open-source components. This helps make the rapid development of general solutions possible.  

What needs improvement?

As far as what we would like to see added, there are no burning issues right now. If we are looking for certain areas of improvement and we want to have specific features or functions, the flexibility of the environment allows us to easily add the functionality we want.  

There are always things that you have to find out for yourself. That creates complexity. Could Microsoft make the product easier to use? Probably by adding more scenarios, but Microsoft already has guidelines on when to use what feature. In the area of training, Microsoft already offers a lot of opportunities to further your skills with its products. These resources make it possible to get started quickly. The product is never going to do your learning for you in that way.  

I do not have any recommendations as to how the product should be enhanced as some of that is the user's responsibility and opportunity.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure for one and a half years now. That was half a year after we originally embarked on using the Microsoft suite.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

This product is stable. I would say 'yes' to that twice over.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

So far we have not found any problems with scalability. Azure Stack was easily extendable. We started with a small cloud environment, we had to extend it over time and it grows as we do.  

Our client base is growing rapidly. We are now above a hundred clients and on average there are two to three users per client.  

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not been in touch with technical support myself but other people in our organization have. More or less, I think they were satisfied with the tech support services.  

For most users, the support experience depends on the subscription you have and on experience. We have some experience with Microsoft Stack people within our network. That makes a big difference. Because of that we hardly ever really need to use technical support services.  

How was the initial setup?

The setup for Azure becomes more complex when you have multiple users. When you have multiple organizations, with multiple users working or using the same solution, data storage needs to be very well separated because of privacy. That is a piece of complexity that is embedded in the way we provide our services. There is no link to Microsoft or any software provider service. We defined how to make it work that way.  

What other advice do I have?

Given the current direction and strategy of Microsoft, I think Azure Stack is one of the most comprehensive solution platforms available today.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product as an eight of ten. In my case, there really is very little Microsoft can do to make the score better. I could really never give a software product a perfect score. There is always something that can be improved. If you work in a flexible, dynamic environment, you have to make choices in terms of how to design things. You have to decide which additional components to use or incorporate, or to not use what are considered standard features that most other people use. Users' choices will be different depending on their needs, application, and adaptation.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MA
Lead Enterprise Architect at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Secure, reliable, and good support but the bandwidth is limited

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable features are that it is a Hybrid, and we can easily integrate with the Microsoft Public Cloud."
  • "There are limits to the bandwidth and sizing of the images."

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?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Learn what your peers think about Azure Stack. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: October 2021.
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Gordon NG
IT Manager at Grace Assembly of God
Real User
Top 10
Hard to manage and not user-friendly but relatively stable

Pros and Cons

  • "You can scale the solution if you need to."
  • "The solution is not user friendly. I'd prefer to move over to AWS, which is much easier in this sense."

What is our primary use case?

Not sure

How has it helped my organization?

move to cloud - improved by no need to maintain hardware

What is most valuable?

We've had a lot of issues with the solution as of late. We aren't very happy with it right now.

The stability is okay.

You can scale the solution if you need to.

What needs improvement?

We started to get issues in May of this year.  We didn't know that the one side of Azure was not fully migrated. There's two Azure on-premise solutions in our organization.

I needed to migrate everything that wasn't migrated over quickly. I needed someone who was knowledgable to assist to get it done. Therefore, I asked Windows and was looking into our budget.

We told them to go ahead and do it, and that we had two thus far, one for memory, one for CPU, and that's all. I only wanted two point areas. I wanted my Azure to point to only one, however, now it's set up to point to two point areas, which is not what we want.

The solution is not user friendly. I'd prefer to move over to AWS, which is much easier in this sense.

The product could improve its manageability.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for a while, however, we started having issues with the solution in May of 2020.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is okay, however, there are a few glitches here and there. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is okay. However, AWS is easier to scale. With AWS, you don't have to update your CPU and RAM. Everything's done for you.

How are customer service and technical support?

In terms of technical support, it's very bad. We don't have a guy who is good at helping us, in our company, so we have to rely on the Shanghai team. The one person who supports us is in Shanghai.

We are relying on Shanghai technical support to help to create dashboards or whatever we need. Moving forward, we need a good technical guy in-house to help us. I cannot rely on Shanghai every time. 

Shanghai also seems to have two teams, however, I don't understand why. There's no direct number to the right people you have to reach, and the customer team we find to be quite bad. We're not overly satisfied with the level of service we've been provided so far.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't as easy as AWS, which has a much simpler deployment.

We ran into issues in terms of migration. Not everything was fully migrated, originally, and that caused us a lot of problems. It's still not quite set up how I would like it to be.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I've looked into AWS, which is more user friendly, and is a solution I would prefer to move over to. Not only is it always easier for us too manage by another provision, it's a lot faster. Azure is slower. 

What other advice do I have?

Honestly, if I were to compare the two, I'd say that AWS is much better. It's so much easier to deal with and easier to understand. It's also easier to deploy and has a shorter learning curve overall. On top of that, AWS provides 20% of the traffic to the site. You don't need to update your processor for CPU and RAM. They do all of that for free. There's just way more up-sides to AWS than Azure, unfortunately.

Azure is just average. I'd rate it five out of ten. As an end-user, I find it far too difficult to manage, and it's not really worth the effort, especially when there are other solutions that make it so much easier.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
RY
Pre-Sales Engineering Manager - Cloud Computing at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Cost-effective solution that can be deployed on-prem or on the cloud

Pros and Cons

  • "It's a good and cost effective solution for any organization. We can deploy the tech solution on premises and also in the cloud."
  • "Customers need to consider the Disaster Recovery. Microsoft tech is only providing support to Azure."

What is our primary use case?

It's a good and cost-effective solution for any organization. We can deploy the tech solution on-premises and also in the cloud.

What needs improvement?

The reporting for the interim monitoring purpose could be improved. Right now Windows Admin Center is on the level with Victor Server 2019. But we need to work on the same tool, so we provide them some code features on the same tool. It's very useful for any organization and an administrator.

Additionally, customers need to consider Disaster Recovery. Microsoft tech is only providing support to Azure. We would like to see it available for other services and solutions on the cloud, too, as well as a solution for Oracle backup.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Azure Stack for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There is one bug we are facing now. In one of the organizations in which we have deployed Azure, when we are moving the VM from node A to node B, sometimes it gets stuck. We already raised the case with Microsoft. They are working on it with us. We involved the hardware and software teams from Microsoft. They gave us a solution and now the issue is under observation.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, there is a calculator available and we can convert the scalability with it.

Because a chain solution was introduced by Nutanix to a Moscow based organization, Microsoft wants to introduce the same solution, but with better features including Microsoft 2019. So 110%, because some are using the Microsoft Azure tech right now in India.

There are about 10 - 15,000 users. They are providing the data production manager, data backup and are showing the customer that we can do a backup on GP back in 60 seconds. In Microsoft Azure, the only option is a little data backup which we need to buy through some third party tool to take a backup of our VM. Otherwise, we need to take a subscription on our Azure to make a side recovery for the VR purpose or the higher rating purpose. A good figure is also real time monitoring. But with Microsoft Azure Suite, the monitoring tool is a little bit weak.

How are customer service and technical support?

I am satisfied with Microsoft customer service, they provided us with a good solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was really simple. We did not face any difficulty when we deployed the SAP solution with the Microsoft SA.

What about the implementation team?

My team and I did the deployment.

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

If we are trying to deploy the Microsoft suite, first of all, we need to buy the data center licenses. Datacenter licenses are only used for verification solutions. Using that as a solution, we can declare an unlimited number of four VMs on the hardware. I spent a contribution to the hardware, the code, and the processes, and that all depends on the hardware architecture.

What other advice do I have?

On a scale of 1 - 10, I can give Microsoft Azure Stack a 9.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
TC
Solutions Specialist at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Stable, scalable and easy to install and deploy

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is certainly stable."
  • "I would like to see better network integration."

What is our primary use case?

The solution is geared towards customers with large Microsoft footprints, in which it is very advanced. There is tight integration in respect of Microsoft workloads and extremely intelligent performance. Customers can use it to run SQL Server, Active Directory, VDI, Windows Server and other workloads. Many users use it for their dynamics, although I am not aware of a lot of deployments with SAP HANA. One who has a 60 or 70 percent footprint in the data center with Microsoft can save a lot. 

What is most valuable?

Azure Stack is a really good product when it comes to the functionality and the Azure Stack offer. Its most attractive feature is the licensing. The virtualization is in-built and free and it offers almost all the functionalities someone looks for from the Azure platform. 

Now that the solution is transitioning to a hybrid cloud approach, the licensing is not determined by the number of instances and this can result in huge savings. 

A subscription model customer will not need to do much up front purchasing. He can obtain all the up to date features offered on public cloud and grow at the rate he feels is best, with the attendant savings. 

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better network integration. 

While they are working on security, several things can be brought in on the networking side, such as extending to networks stretching in between data centers. These are absent at the moment. It would be good to have a single control plane for the networking.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have around two years of experience with Azure Stack. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is certainly stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is definitely scalable. 

How was the initial setup?

Installation is straightforward and not very involved. It can even be automated. 

The deployment was straightforward and really nice. While creating a system and configuring a cluster is possible, it would be really beneficial to do this in the reverse, since the cluster can be pushed in using the hardware management ID. 

What about the implementation team?

While deployment is straightforward, it would require a good skill set with Microsoft technologies and a certain amount of networking knowledge to handle any trouble which may arise. 

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

The licensing is one of the solution's most attractive features. 

Subscription model customers need not make large expenditures on upfront purchasing. 

A customer must purchase the software needed for Microsoft support, if he wishes to have this. This would incur a monthly fee. But, the upcoming Azure Stack HCl, which is hybrid cloud, does not involve an upfront purchase, only a subscription-based fee. 

What other advice do I have?

I work with Lenovo as a consultant, which means I handle deployment for others. 

We have a handlful of customers, most of whom are using Microsoft products, but some of whom use Windows. Many go with the Azure Stack solution. 

I would recommend the solution to others. 

I rate Azure Stack as an eight out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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MH
Information Technology Manager at a university with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 20
A great way to extend Azure services to the environment of your choice

Pros and Cons

  • "Technical support is quick and responsive."
  • "I would only recommend this solution to smaller organizations like ours because I cannot really speculate what big issues that the bigger organizations will face."

What is our primary use case?

We're getting more serious with Office 365 now. We start from the mailbox, the mail server exchange, and then we also have SharePoint. We have migrated all the local network drives, shared drives, home drives, to Office 365 SharePoint. We have been making use of the document library for sharing, and this year, we've started to use more of Microsoft Teams as a kind of collaboration, for online meetings within the organization and also to communicate with our students. Microsoft Teams is not the only software that we use, we also use Zoom for class meetings, and then Microsoft Teams for team meetings, really.

As an education provider, we have many students — over a thousand students actually; they are also the users of this domain. We also have 250 permanent and casual staff, it's quite a big number.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for almost two years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

At this stage, we are quite pleased with Office 365 Azure. To me, Azure offers a pathway for dealing with the active directory, and for storing all our Office 365 information assets.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is quick and responsive. I find that whenever I encounter an error (sometimes it's really the system errors or something that I didn't know how to do), the customer support is quite helpful. We get good support from Microsoft in terms of Office 365.

Take today, for example, we have a worldwide issue (maybe just Australia), and our Office 365 cloud authentication components were down for almost an hour. Thankfully, customer support helped us rectify that problem very quickly.

What about the implementation team?

A consultant helped us with the implementation back in 2018.

What other advice do I have?

I would only recommend this solution to smaller organizations like ours because I cannot really speculate what big issues that the bigger organizations will face. For a small or medium-sized college, it's quite good — I can't see any negative sides. In particular, our staff and students don't really use our computers. That means they are bringing their own devices and using their own computers. Because of Office 365, they don't need to come here (to campus) and they don't need to connect to any kind of VPN in order to access their emails or order their course materials or even the information that we provide on the internet, for that matter. Everything is on the cloud.

On a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of ten — strictly because I have nothing to compare it to.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
MA
Lead Enterprise Architect at a comms service provider with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Good IaaS capabilities and it is stable, but it is expensive

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is IaaS."
  • "PaaS is not ready because they are only offering MS SQL as a service, web applications as a service, and containers as a service."

What is our primary use case?

We are a solution provider and the Azure Stack is one of the technologies that we use to provide services to our customers.

How has it helped my organization?

Need more time

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is IaaS. I find it to be good.

Third-party dashboards are supported in the PaaS.

The rapid provisioning is good.

They have VPN connectivity, which promotes encapsulation.

What needs improvement?

In PaaS Model, they are only offering MS SQL as a service, web applications as a service, and containers as a service. When it comes to containers, I could not find how to use the functionality. Recently, one of our customers wanted to have Sybase as the database for their SAP applications, but it was not in the Azure Stack Marketplace.

It is closed and It doesn't allow you to customize networks or any new features.

Better flexibility in the network is needed.

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 cloud concept, so we expect stability but it's broad scoping with IT. I have been working in the field for the last 18 years and stability is affected by new technologies. We are told that new systems are quite stable, but we are still struggling to provide a service that is a reliable one. This is because of the different complicated scenarios, demands, and requirements from the end-user.

The cloud is challenging and from a stability point of view, it depends on what services you are running inside and what scalability you are providing to the end-user.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Good

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is okay. There is a technical support gateway and Microsoft is working in the background. There is some kind of coordination between engineers from Microsoft and Dell, because one time when we had an upgrade, the people from Dell upgraded it without coordination from Microsoft.

How was the initial setup?

Azure Stack is a closed box, but it is compliant. It doesn't permit you to customize the network or the features. You have to take what Microsoft is offering and just simply obey it.

We are using a connected model, as opposed to a disconnected model.

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

The pricing is very expensive. If I were rating it on cost then it would be a five out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Microsoft Azure
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
OA
Systems Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Easy to deploy services and has good online support

Pros and Cons

  • "The most valuable feature is the ease of deployment for services such as SSH, creating a web site, and Azure billing services to measure the consumption of resources."
  • "I would like to see better support for containers."

What is our primary use case?

We are using the Microsoft Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK) in an evaluation environment issued by Microsoft, and not in a production environment. It is deployed within a VM on top of the Azure public cloud.

The goal of our evaluation is to see if it is sufficient to support becoming a cloud provider for companies in our local market.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the ease of deployment for services such as SSH, creating a web site, and Azure billing services to measure the consumption of resources.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see better support for containers.

Containers and the IoT hub that exists in Azure Stack should be usable on-premises.

For how long have I used the solution?

I am currently evaluating Azure Stack and have been testing it for one week.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I cannot really tell what the stability is like because I am only using the Azure Stack in an evaluation environment. I have just now put it under a heavy workload to test whether it is stable enough for our production environment.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I am the only person who is using this solution in my company, as I test the features that I think we will need.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have not used technical support for this solution. However, I have found with other Microsoft products, their support is very helpful and was able to solve my problems.

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

Azure Stack is the first solution of this type that I am testing.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup started in a straightforward manner, but I faced some issues during the deployment. I was able to solve these problems with the information that I found on the Microsoft website when I searched for the errors using Google. Once I followed the steps the solution seems to be fine.

What about the implementation team?

I deployed this solution on my own, using the Microsft website as a reference.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I plan to test VMware vRealize, but I have not done it yet.

What other advice do I have?

I think that this is a good tool for cloud operating systems.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

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