Microsoft has clearly stated the Azure Cloud OS is the key to implementing hybrid cloud solutions.  What exactly does Cloud OS consist of?  How do you build it?


Cloud OS

Figure 1: Microsoft Cloud OS Image

A key component of Microsoft Azure Cloud OS is that many existing products are already equipped to enable the vision.


Important Features of Microsoft Azure Cloud OS

  • Microsoft System Center will provide the entire view of your infrastructure, both on-premise and in the cloud
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 will provide the key virtualization and management capabilities for on-premise and cloud-based computing.
  • Microsoft Azure provides the endless tiered storage required for ever-growing business demands with the agility to provision at the speed of business. Additionally, it provides the additional on-demand compute provisioning for public cloud resources at a cost model that businesses can embrace.
  • StorSimple is a storage appliance that is installed in the customer Data Center specifically designed to bridge the connection to storage resources in Azure.  By targeting Tier 2 and 3 applications, StorSimple is ideal for file-based and archive storage needs.  Through its iscsi connection, it is also capable of supporting operating VMs in Hyper-V.   The result is endless access to low-cost cloud storage for Tier 2 and lower applications.  If leveraged fully to the Microsoft vision, this appliance removes the need for storage for local snapshots, tapes, and archives.    


Cloud OS 2

Figure 2: StorSimple Diagram

To fully deliver the Microsoft vision of modern productivity, business partners will need to embrace Windows Server, Microsoft Azure, and System Center to implement hybrid cloud solutions that customers are demanding.  Two out of three won’t be good enough.  In order to compete and execute properly, partners will need to deliver value by leveraging all three platforms.  

Key Points

  1. Microsoft will pay qualified partners $4,000 for the initial StorSimple installation and $1,000 for each additional node.  The advertised installation time is under four hours.  
  2. If the customer commitment level to the Azure platform meets the minimum amount, Microsoft provides the appliance for free.
  3. StorSimple is iscsi-based and is not made for Tier 1 applications.  However, it includes automatic tiering of content, in-line deduplication, and AES 256 encryption for data protection.
  4. The AES 256 encryption uses a key that the customer creates, and only the customer knows to prevent inadvertent exposure to the data.  
  5. Microsoft has released Azure cloud training and certification paths for partners to increase deployment success.

Michael Chapman
Principal Cloud Solutions Architect