Microsoft revealed a series of updates to its server and cloud technologies aimed at blending the divide between Azure and Windows Server.
The company announced Azure Stack, software that consists of the architecture and microservices deployed by Microsoft to run its public-cloud version of Azure, including some of the latest updates to the platform like Azure Service Fabric and Azure App Fabric – which have made the architecture much more container-like.
Built on the same core technology as Azure but deployed in a customer’s datacentre, the company said Azure Stack makes critical use of among other things some of the company’s investments in software-defined networking.
The company also said it worked a number of bugs out of the next version of Windows Server (2016), with the second preview being made available this week; the net version of Windows Server will include a number of updates announced last month including Hyper-V containers and nano-servers, which are effectively Dockerised and slimmed-down Windows Server images, respectively.
Azure Stack will preview this summer and Windows Server 2016 is already available for preview.
The company also announced, Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS), a hybrid cloud management service that supports Azure, AWS, Windows Server, Linux, VMware, and OpenStack.
For Microsoft the updates are a sign of a significant push into hybrid cloud as it looks to align it’s the architecture of its Windows Server and Azure offerings and help customers manage workloads and operations in a multi-cloud world. Interestingly, by taking the Azure architecture directly to customer datacentres it’s effectively going head-to-head with other IaaS software vendors selling alternatives like OpenStack and CloudStack – Dell, HP, Cisco, Red Hat, IBM and so forth – which is in some ways new territory for the cloud giant.