Microsoft is building a brand new member for its Azure Stack Hybrid computing line-up, and has named it Azure Stack “Fiji.” It will provide users with the flexibility to run Azure as a local Cloud that will be managed by public Azure and delivered like the server racks currently supplied by Microsoft to its users.
Microsoft was the first among the top cloud providers to support hybrid computing as a key piece of their strategy. However, Microsoft started selling Azure Stack in July 2017; and customer expectations for hybrid Cloud have changed since then. AWS joined the hybrid party with AWS Outposts, and Google is the latest member with Google Anthos, which was launched in 2019. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been working hard to surpass the new rivals.
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Azure Stack Fiji vs Other Hybrid Cloud Options
Azure Stack Fiji will directly compete with AWS Outposts, which was made available for general public by AWS in December 2019. AWS says Outposts is “a fully managed service that extends AWS infrastructure, AWS services, APIs, and tools for virtually any datacentre, co-location space, or on-premises facility for a truly consistent hybrid experience. AWS Outposts is ideal for workloads that require low latency access to on-premises systems, local data processing, or local data storage.”
With Azure Stack Fiji, Microsoft too aims to offer low-latency capacity fully managed through the Azure fabric — most likely via Azure Arc — while providing access to the hardware infrastructure that Microsoft itself uses to run Azure. Azure Stack Hub, currently the centerpiece of company’s hybrid-computing play, is offered as device preloaded on the certified server hardware from a handful of Microsoft partners.
However, making this happen isn’t the first priority. Microsoft has revamped how its Azure services to operate in line with its security model and it will further adjust how the company looks at configuring and managing its hardware. Although no one is sure about how far along Microsoft is on this path.
Currently, Microsoft’s hybrid-computing line-up consists of Azure Stack Hub (its “Azure-consistent private cloud”), Azure Stack Edge (its cloud-managed device), Azure Stack HCI (Hyperconverged Infrastructure), and Azure Edge Zones (its ultra-low-latency cloud solution).
Bonus update: Microsoft codename historians will likely recall this isn’t the first time when Microsoft used “Fiji” as a codename. We hope this time it won’t end up badly.