Microsoft is betting on customers wanting to run their businesses on a mix of public and private clouds, today announcing the new Azure Stack to deliver infrastructure and platforms as service capabilities into enterprise data centres.
Azure Stack lets customers continue to run traditional enterprise software with centralised oversight, while taking advantage of distributed applications and cloud storage at the edge with a hybrid cloud model.
Blending the public and private clouds in Azure Stack and making them scalable is achieved by taking Microsoft software-defined infrastructure technology for its large data centres, and deploying it in customer facilities.
This includes software-defined technology for both the network controllers and Storage Spaces Direct in Azure Stack, with automated synchronisation and failover.
Workloads can be segmented with Shielded Virtual Machines and Guarded Hosts, and centrally controlled and monitored for access and administration rights using software-defined security.
Azure Stack was announced at Microsoft's Ignite conference in Chicago, and will be available as a preview later this year.
Windows Server 2016 enters technical preview
Microsoft also today released the second technical preview for the upcoming Windows Server 2016.
New features in Windows Server 2016 TP2 include rolling upgrades for the Hyper-V hypervisor and scale out file server clusters, hot removable and expandable memory and network interfaces, and virtual machine compute resilience that lets the continue to run even if the host compute cluster service goes down.
New network configuration flexibility and performance options are also included in TP2, along with expanded capabilities in the software-defined Storage Spaces Direct for better scale-out, quality of server improvements, and replication for business continuity and disaster recovery strategies.
Remote Desktop Services gains full OpenGL 3D support for virtual desktop deployments, and the Internet Information Services web server now supports the next generation HTTP/2 that provides header compression, connection multiplexing and push.
Microsoft also released the refactored Windows Nano Server.
Nano Server was announced in April this year, and features a very small footprint and remotely managed installations. The severely slimmed down server OS is aimed at cloud deployments and DevOps workflows, thanks to faster bootups, fewer restarts, patches and update events, low resource utilisation and tight security.
Windows Server and Hyper-V containers will be rolled into the third technical preview of Windows Server 2016, expected to be released at the end of the year.