microsoft-azure-logoA couple of days ago, Microsoft launched, among other things, an appliance built in partnership with Dell that brings a full functioning Azure environment to your Data center. I haven’t dug deep enough into the technical details but the idea looks very interesting and it has the potential to become successful.

Not the first time

iStock_000045181334MediumIn the past, Microsoft has already tried offering an Azure-like private platform to big service providers, but it seems the project didn’t go over very well (or better, I haven’t heard anything for a while). This time round, the idea is to go directly to the end users with a fully pre-packaged box (in this case “box” actually means 1 to 4 racks).
I think it could work much better, perhaps it’s also the right time to do something like this. Microsoft has a comprehensive cloud offer (which includes IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) and, even though some end users consider Microsoft a very old company, it is showing a great deal of potential in this space.


Putting an entire Azure environment in house means a 100% seamless experience between what you can do on the cloud and what you can do at home. Same APIs, same management, same provisioning, same everything!
If it works as I would expect, you will be able to develop a new application, test, deliver and deploy it wherever you want, seamlessly, as a function of specific project needs. It sounds great, doesn’t it?

Not only from Microsoft, please!

GMO AppleorangeI really like this idea of the Azure-in-a-box and perhaps other vendors could come up with something similar too! Let’s say I’m sure it won’t be long.

Some could be more prepared than others to deliver a hybrid solution like the one from Microsoft, for example:
HP has its public cloud, Helion (an OpenStack distribution), the hardware and they’ve recently bought Eucalyptus.
– VMware is working on EVO:Rack (I don’t actually know the details but I would like to see a fully configured cloud in a rack! they have all the pieces and some rumors lead in this direction)
– IBM no longer has HW, but it owns Softlayer and could put something together (I have my doubts on the potential success though)
– Others(?).

On the other hand, vendors like Red Hat, Amazon and Google, each for different reasons, cannot currently provide a credibl end-to-end hybrid platform without a partner… But don’t hesitate to correct me if you think I’m wrong.

Why it is important

It’s too early to tell if the Microsoft Appliance will be a success or not, but If I was looking to build a private or a hybrid cloud, I would like to evaluate it as well.
I also really like the concept of cloud-in-a-box and would like to see many more solutions like this from other vendors.
I’m pretty sure that organizations that like converged and hyper-converged infrastructures will love this new generation of products too.