Microsoft on Tuesday US time unveiled its first Technical Preview for Azure Stack, a new type of software that lets customers take advantage of Azure public cloud functions from within the friendly confines of their data centres.
The Azure Stack preview, which will be available Friday US time, lets Microsoft customers run private clouds that are compatible and interoperable with the Azure public cloud.
Customers that run Azure Stack on premise, in conjunction with the Azure cloud, will benefit from a "standardised architecture, including the same portal, a unified application model, and common DevOps tools", Mike Neil, Microsoft's corporate vice president for enterprise cloud, said in a blog post Tuesday US time.
As part of its hybrid pitch, Microsoft is including infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service in Azure Stack so organisations can make them available to their end users without switching management tools, said Neil in the blog post.
Azure Stack also uses APIs that are "identical" with the Azure cloud, making it easier for developers to write apps in Microsoft's .NET or open source programming languages, Neil said in the blog post.
Although Microsoft has previously pitched preconfigured "Azure-in-a-Box" appliances, the technology in the Azure Stack represents a different approach to hybrid cloud, said John Shaw, CEO and co-founder of cloud startup Nimbo, now part of Equinix.
"The previous version basically ran a separate instance of a private cloud, and you had to run System Center 2012 to a single pane of glass," said Shaw, who has previously served as an adviser to Microsoft's Azure team.
"This is a different animal, because it will allow you to move infrastructure from an Azure Stack installation in a local data centre, and into the Azure public cloud, without too many changes."