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Windows Azure vs Windows Azure Pack

Ravi C Kolandaiswamy

Windows Azure vs Windows Azure Pack

Top 5 reasons for choosing Windows Azure Pack on-premise cloud for Enterprise

While trying to put together a comparison between Windows Azure Pack and Windows Azure, I ended up with a table listed below which doesn’t seem to be very useful. Instead let us see when would someone choose Windows Azure Pack Cloud installation on premise vs. onboarding simply to Windows Azure public cloud.

 

Some of the reasons to choose in-house Windows Azure Pack cloud for an enterprise are:

  • Compliance and Policies
    • High business impact applications and data has to remain in-house due to company policy
    • Internal only application mandate
  • Security Concerns
    • Afraid of data going through internet
    • It feels secured to keep the data inside the perimeter and don’t want to take a chance
  • Consolidate existing in-house resources
    • Millions of dollars are spent in maintaining clusters of servers for various divisions and teams in an enterprise, most of them often being under utilized at various stages
    • WAP provides an opportunity to bring them all under one administration by moving them to Virtual Machines and Services managed from one central portal
    • SQL Servers, IIS Web Servers, Services on Virtual Machines etc. can be consolidated and pooled to serve more needs with the same amount of resource and also cuts ongoing management costs and process overheads
    • Leverage existing hardware and software to provide modern cloud features such as easy scalability, high availability and flexibility

  • Self-Service & Agility
    • With WAP, development teams can procure resources as easy as a single click from WAP Self-service tenant portal
    • Long gone are the process to get approvals, waiting for setup etc.
    • IT administrators can increase the capacity as need grows seamlessly without end user impact
    • Un-used resources can be scaled down easily and let it available for other projects and teams
    • When there is a need to increase the scale, WAP portal provides single click scale out. No lengthy process and dialogs with admins when your application is trying hard to serve
    • With self-services comes responsibility and having proper gates. WAP enables IT administrators to set Quotas and monitor usage via WAP admin portal
    • This specific point is mainly applies when comparing with traditional IT process for procuring and allocating resources, not necessarily with Windows Azure. As Windows Azure also provides same agility and flexibility.

  • Transparency, Visibility and Collaboration
    • Windows Azure Pack admin Portal shows all the applications, servers and their users transparently for the IT administrators
    • In-house applications, their usage are made discoverable, easy to consume and visible for anyone in the organization
    • Windows Azure Portal being the central place for administrators and developers serves as a place for collaboration. Teams can discover another teams web applications or other resources easily. If a team or project depends on certain application, it is now so much easier to monitor the dependent services, talk to their owners etc.

 

 

Windows Azure Pack Cloud

Windows Azure Cloud

Hardware

Yours

Microsoft's

HW Profiles

Customizable

Standard SKUs only

Software

Your Licenses

Most licenses included as long as you are provisioned

Location

Your premises

Microsoft Datacenters across the globe

Security

Full Control for You

Goes over the internet (!)

Management

Your IT

Microsoft

IT Administrator Portal

Yes

No

Self Service User Portal

Yes

Yes

Leverage existing in-house infrastructure investment

Yes

No

Custom Billing for your users

Yes

No

Central Usage Monitoring

Yes

Not Really. Without an administrator portal, hard to see resources utilized across divisions and teams.

Infrastructure Capacity Increase

Your schedule

Supposedly elastic, but limited by Microsoft's schedules

Scalability

Yes

Yes

Developer Experience

Consistent with Windows Azure

Consistent with Windows Azure Pack

Tools and APIs

Consistent with Windows Azure

Command line tools, Visual Studio Integration, Power Shell, REST APIS - consistent with Windows Azure Pack

White labeling

Yes

No

Target Audience

Enterprises and Hosting Service Providers

For anybody from Startup developers to SMBs to Enterprises. Compete for other hosting providers.

3rd Party Services

Portal is Extensible to include additional services

Azure Market place has some services, but portal is fixed.

Compliances

You maintain

Microsoft has some compliances met and continues to meet more of them

Supported Application Workload

Web, Database, Messaging

Web, Database, Messaging

Available services

Virtual Machine

Database

Websites

Service Bus

 

Virtual Machine

Database

Websites

Service Bus

Blob and Table Store

And much more…

 

Update Frequency

Less often as this is a box product.

At any point some service update keeps happening in a given data center.

SLA

If setup per recommendation at par with Windows Azure.

Each service has its SLA and refunds provided usually when not met.

Setup and Installation

Free download. Complex environments might take time to setup.

 

No setup needed, Azure is always ON

Portal Comparison:
Windows Azure tenant portal:
Windows Azure Pack Tenant Portal:

 

Microsoft strives to provide consistent User Interface experience between its public Windows Azure cloud and Windows Azure Pack cloud targeting enterprises and hosting services providers. Consistency is maintained not only in the UI, but at the API layer and tool sets work across both clouds.

 

Windows Azure has faster release cadence and much more rich set of services compared to Windows Azure Pack. Windows Azure evolves faster with market movement and new services keep popping up. Windows Azure Pack with its comparatively less number of services still delivers a stellar value add for enterprises planning to move out of traditional IT operations to modern enterprise cloud operations catering to the modern business and development needs. Windows Azure Pack helps enterprise IT to embrace the cloud, while still having control and insight.

 

Note: If you would like more in depth analysis on certain topics on Windows Azure Pack or Windows Azure, please mention it in the comments and we will cover it in the next post.

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