Azure Stack TP3 is Here! And with Pricing
The latest and final Technical Preview 3 for Azure Stack has finally been released, this will be the last one before the GA (general availability) is shipped by mid-2017. And the good news, for all anxious customers, is that the pricing model to use Azure Stack has been released as well.
Updated Features for Azure Stack in TP3
Here’s the list of new features available in this Technical Preview:
- Deploy with ADFS for disconnected scenarios
- Start using Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets for scale out workloads
- Syndicate content from the Azure Marketplace to make available in Azure Stack
- Use Azure D-Series VM sizes
- Deploy and create templates with Temp Disks that are consistent with Azure
- Take comfort in the enhanced security of an isolated administrator portal
- Take advantage of improvements to IaaS and PaaS functionality
- Improved alerting to facilitate Azure Stack operations and management.
Additionally, and maybe to deliver a shippable version of Azure Stack in a deadline, there were some additional features NOT included in TP3, but they will be available in the Technical Preview later: Azure Functions; followed Blockchain, Cloud Foundry and Mesos templates.
And, of course thanks to Internet, we already have people that have deployed Azure Stack TP3 on day 1.
Azure Stack Pricing and Important Takeaways
There are several of the assumptions and rumors expressed in my initial post about Azure Stack pricing that are now confirmed. Here’s a table summarizing how Azure Stack cost will be billed in the pay-as-you-use:
Here are some important takeaways from Azure Stack cost:
- There will be a unified billing for what each customer consumes from Azure Public and Azure Stack. To identify Azure Stack consumption, it will use a distinct region.
- Azure Stack fees will be lower than Azure since the customer will be performing the operations on the on-premises Azure platform.
- IaaS and PaaS services are charged on a pay-for-usage basis.
- Azure Stack will be available mainly in Microsoft’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programs.
- Since the Azure Stack software will come pre-installed, customers will purchase the hardware and its support from the Integrated Systems (Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo. Eventually, Cisco will join).
- There will be no up-front costs from Microsoft licensing, just the hardware you are acquiring from the Integrated System.
- Each Integration Systems will offer their support contracts for the hardware included. There will be a separate contract for Microsoft support.
- Integrated Systems will start offering Azure Stack in a 4-server bundle as the smallest unit, which will include storage and networking.
- Marketplace licenses will have the “bring your own license” model. Basically for third party apps, you will need to contact the specific vendor for the license.
- You can use Windows Server licenses in Azure Stack, using that approach you will only pay for the Azure Stack consumption fee. SQL will have the “bring your own license” model as the unique approach.
Azure Stack Availability
Azure Stack will be available in the following countries:
- Americas: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, United States, Uruguay
- EMEA: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom
- APAC: Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand
Bolded countries are the ones in which systems will be available from all three partners, Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. Other countries have availability from at least one partner.
This country list is tentative and subject to change in Azure Stack GA release.
Azure Stack availability with Cisco UCS is still unknown. Getting late to the party could be costly after all.
Azure Stack Development Kit
Proof of Concept (POC) deployment model, which is exactly as we know today in the Technical Previews, will be renamed to the Microsoft Azure Stack Development Kit.
For more information on requirements and how to deploy Azure Stack as POC check my initial post: “Yada Yada Cloud: Azure Stack, what’s your story?”
As the TPs, this deployment model is a single-node server with no dependency on specific hardware and with no cost. It will be completely free for customers that need as their lab environments a simple version of Azure Stack.
This model is intended solely as dev/test environments, it will not have official Microsoft Support.
Azure Stack Updates Workflow
With Azure Stack, we will deliver updates that 1) add cloud functionality for creating and working with applications, and 2) improve Azure Stack itself.
- Content, services, and tools updates: These updates do not have a regular scheduled release pattern, and can come anytime they are ready. They can include new Marketplace gallery content, updates to Services as well as new optional Azure Services that can be deployed to Azure Stack. They tend to focus on adding new end-user facing functionality to the Azure Stack deployment.
- System Updates: These updates are more structured and regular. They include new and updated Infrastructure Management capabilities, Firmware, Drivers and expanded Scale points. They focus on improving the operational excellence of Azure Stack.
Additionally after GA, Microsoft will include a monthly set of security updates.