Azure Stack in GA. Part III: Support Models and the Azure Pack Story

Posted by Augusto Alvarez on August 29, 2017
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This is going to be the third article in the series of reviewing and understanding Azure Stack (previous articles: Azure Stack Release and Deployment Models). Now that we have a good grasp of the platform, how the Integrated Systems come into play and features available; I want to extend the topics to other two important matters for existing customers of Azure: How the support model will work with hardware and software in place from different vendors; and what’s the interconnection with the already existing Azure Pack solution.

Microsoft Azure Stack on premises

Azure Stack Support Model

As we already know, the Integrated Systems (Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo in this initial iteration, later Cisco, Huawei and Avanade will come into play) will be the ones providing the hardware and the Azure Stack solution will be pre-installed.

That means for every Azure Stack customer, in case of an issue in the solution, the root cause can reside in the hardware or software without much clarity for the Azure Stack admin. So, how a customer should interact with support? Which vendor needs to take the call first?

Here are quick highlights to understand the support scenario in Azure Stack:

  • When support assistance is needed, customers can call the Integrated System or Microsoft. A consistent support experience no matter who you contact for support will be delivered.
  • Each Integrated System will have their own support contract, different from Microsoft’s support.
  • The Integrated Systems will have different levels of support, as they have right now for their hardware solutions.
  • There will be a coordinated escalation and resolution process, transparent for the customer.
  • Hardware solutions support will be provided by the Integrated System and the cloud services support delivered by Microsoft.

Azure coordinated escalation and resolution process

What Will Happen to Azure Pack

For those that don’t know, Windows Azure Pack (WAP), appeared in 2012 with Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 releases, it was the first definition for Microsoft’s software-defined hybrid cloud and bundles Windows Server, System Center and more into a package that can run VMs created in Azure and then downloaded to your own datacenter.

There’s also an additional component: Cloud Platform System (CPS), pre-installed and configured hardware with the integrated systems, offering automation and integration with Microsoft Azure. WAP appears also as one of CPS components to achieve this similar hybrid cloud scenario with Windows Azure.

Azure Cloud computing platform

As we can see, the overall CPS model is quite similar than what we know now as Azure Stack. Microsoft intend is to maintain and encourage all customers that already have WAP and/or CPS to extend capabilities with Azure Stack.

Microsoft will be releasing the WAP/CPS connector with Azure Stack. This connector will have the following features:

  • Connecting any existing WAP/CPS platform with Azure Stack in order to allow the customer to preserve any investment already made in these platforms.
  • Enabling tenants to access VMM IaaS resources from Azure Stack portal through seamless integration.
  • Will be released through WAP/CPS Update Rollup later in the year (late Q4 2017 according to Microsoft).

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Augusto Alvarez
Augusto Alvarez
Augusto is currently working as Principal Consultant in Dell EMC, originally from Argentina and now based in the US. His role currently is designing customer requirements into specific systems and processes; also performing technical briefings; leading architectural design sessions and proofs of concept. Augusto is also the author from two published App-V books: “Getting Started Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6” and “Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide”.