When it comes to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) it is safe to say that Dell Technologies knows a thing or two. Now add in the fact that Microsoft and Dell have been partners for over 30 years and Dell Technologies are Microsoft’s largest partner – yes you read that right. This magical combination gives you the Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI.
What is Azure Stack HCI?
So before we get stuck in to why you should choose Dell Technologies when it comes to Azure Stack HCI lets very briefly explain what Azure Stack HCI is and your options when it comes to choosing a solution from an OEM.
Azure Stack HCI is a new operating system from Microsoft specifically designed for running HCI. What’s different about this operating system is that it is in fact an Azure service and is consumed from Azure. This in itself provides some benefits straight out of the gate:
- Wave goodbye to running out of support. That’s right, you never have to experience the pain of running out of support and upgrading your OS again. This is an Azure service so as you would expect it is always up to date
- You no longer have to wait 3 years (the typical Windows Server update cycle) for feature updates. Again, as you would expect from a cloud service, this OS will receive feature updates at a much regular cadence, around annually.
- Your Azure Stack HCI cluster will appear as a resource in Azure. Fancy, yes, but also very powerful. This means you can use Azure Governance and Management concepts such as tags, resource groups and policies and bring your on-premises infrastructure and Azure services under one governance umbrella.
And there are many more…
Azure Stack HCI launched straight out of the gate with stretched clustering, a feature which hyper-v users have been after for a long time. This sets the tone for future developments and the fact that they will more often than not come to Azure Stack HCI and not necessarily Windows Server.
Validated Node vs Integrated System
So what are your options when it comes to hardware?
Microsoft gave OEMs looking to offer hardware solutions for Azure Stack HCI had the option of offering Validated Nodes and/or an Integrated System.
What is the difference between a Validated Node and an Integrated system I hear you ask?
For both options the hardware is validated for the new operating system but for the validated node that is about it.
With an Integrated System you are getting so much more. At the end of the day Azure Stack HCI is an Azure Service. It is important that this platform is configured and optimised for running current on-premises workloads and additional Azure Services. Azure Stack HCI provides the opportunity to optimise and enhance your on-prem workloads with cloud native capability and this is where you want to focus your time, not on management and maintenance of the infrastructure.
- An Integrated System must include the pre-installation of the Azure Stack HCI OS. Either via factory installed OS or a deployment process which includes the OS installation. Dell Technologies provides factory installed OS.
- There must be tooling integration in to Windows Admin Centre to allow for lifecycle management. Dell Technologies has developed specific integrations between OpenManage and Windows Admin Centre for full stack, fully automated lifecycle management.
- The OEM and Microsoft must have collaborative support. Dell Technologies have engineers co-located in Microsoft HQs, integrated back-end support systems and provide support for the full solution, this means the HW and the OS regardless of where the OS is purchased from.
- The OEM must have joint testing agreements with Microsoft. Dell Technologies invest significant hours in testing with Microsoft.
Hopefully you now see why Dell Technologies chose to go with an Integrated System and why it really is the only option if you want to get the best out of Azure hybrid.
In fact if you check out the Azure Stack HCI Catalogue page you will see that even Microsoft ‘strongly suggests’ that you choose an Integrated System.
3 Reasons to choose Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI
If you want to make your hybrid dreams a reality then the Dell EMC Azure Stack HCI Integrated System is for you.
Dell Technologies are #1 in Server and HCI, but they are also #1 in Microsoft HCI Solution Segment, basically in every area which counts.
If that’s not enough here are 3 extra reasons:
1. Dell Technologies have gone all in on a fully productised solution. What does this mean? By providing an integrated system Dell can provide full solution level support which covers both the hardware and software. Yes, including the Azure Stack HCI operating. It means that Dell have gone to great lengths to ensure their customers end to end experience is as seamless as possible from choosing the perfect configuration for your workloads to ordering, deployment, maintenance and support – it’s all covered.
2. Talking of the perfect configuration Dell Technologies has a wide portfolio of AX Nodes to choose from. What are AX Nodes you ask? They are our award winning PowerEdge Servers but specifically designed and validated for our Microsoft workloads. Microsoft created ‘Technical Badges’ which are basically ‘Use Cases’ for Azure Stack HCI which OEMs should be validating their configurations against. Dell Technologies have gone to great length to do this. The AX Nodes are the foundation on which to build your hybrid cloud dreams on.
3. Tying it all together is Dell Technologies Integrated Lifecycle Management, an area in which they are extremely experienced. The weight of that experience was brought to Azure Stack HCI. Dell Technologies understood the assignment (extra points if you get the TikTok reference) with Azure Stack HCI and that was enabling customers to take advantage of Azure capability and innovation on premises. With that in mind they developed extremely holistic OpenManage integration with Windows Admin Centre which continues to be updated.
There are of course many more and you can find out more about the Dell EMC Integrated System for Azure Stack HCI by checking out this TechBook created by the amazing Technical Marketing team.