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Microsoft Adds SDK, PaaS and DevOps to Azure Stack Preview

Microsoft this week rolled out additional features to its Azure Stack Technical Preview. The release comes just two weeks after the long-awaited debut of the Azure Stack preview, which promises a means for organizations and service providers to run software in their clouds that's similar to the solutions Microsoft uses for its Azure datacenter public cloud.

The new features, rolled out on Monday, include the Azure SDK that includes Windows PowerShell support and cross-platform CLI support, the Web Apps feature to the Azure Apps Service, SQL and MySQL database resource providers that are designed to support the Web Apps data tier and, for developers, native Visual Studio support.

"We're making additional Azure PaaS services and DevOps tools available for you to deploy and run on top of your Technical Preview deployments," according to a blog post. "This represents the first installment of continuous innovation towards helping you deliver Azure services from your datacenter."

There are now over 70 Azure services. When Microsoft released the Azure Stack Technical Preview in late January, the company signaled it would roll out functionality or services incrementally. The initial release consisted of the core infrastructure-as-a-service stack, said Jeff DeVerter, chief technologist for Rackspace's Microsoft practice. DeVerter shared his observations during an interview yesterday at the Rackspace: Solve conference in New York.

"They initially gave us storage, compute, SDN was there and Resource Manager was there. It was literally a handful of things. And then what they're doing is lighting up additional features as resource packs after the fact, which is what they did this week when they gave database as a service for both SQL and MySQL databases and the Web sites component. The behavior this week suggests they're going to give it in packs. Which gives you some idea as to how Azure is built. It's built as a service framework with capabilities that hang off it."

DeVerter, who said the Azure Stack Technical Preview "is pretty clean," believes the quick release of the second set of features is a positive sign. "It bodes well," DeVerter said. "It also tells you that at some point they will be comfortable with that service framework that is Azure."

The Azure Stack Technical Preview does have one surprising limitation. For the purposes of the technical preview, Microsoft has limited it to running on a single hypervisor. Also Rackspace had to acquire new hardware to deploy it in its test labs -- it picked up quad-core servers with 128GB of RAM. It's too early to say how much hardware Azure Stack will require once it goes GA in the fourth quarter, he said, since the current preview has the one hypervisor limit.

Are you testing Azure Stack? Share your observations.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/12/2016 at 10:44 AM


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