Geometric Cloud

Diving into Azure Stack with this batch of FAQs

Diving into Azure Stack with this batch of FAQs

Three times a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), John Savill tackles your most pressing IT questions.

Read through the FAQ archives, or send him your questions via email.

Q. How is Azure Stack purchased?
Q. Is Azure Stack billed per-hour or per-minute?
Q. Why would I use Azure Stack instead of public Azure?

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Q. How is Azure Stack purchased?

Dept - Azure

A. Azure Stack is the on-premises appliance that can be purchased as a turnkey solution from a number of partners such as Dell, Lenovo and HP. The appliance provides consistent functionality with the public Azure cloud which means Azure Stack does not have every feature that is available in the public Azure cloud but the features it does have are utilized in a consistent way. For example if I have a JSON template to deploy services to Azure IaaS VMs, the same template would work on Azure Stack and public Azure.

The public Azure cloud is billed on a consumption basis which carries over to Azure Stack. Resources are billed based on utilization per vCPU/minute or GB/month. These are listed at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-stack/how-to-buy/. This billing works by sending the metering data to Azure. This can be billed as part of the standard Azure agreement.

If you have a disconnected environment you can also buy in a disconnected mode where you buy out the capacity of the boxes based on the number of physical CPUs for IaaS or App Service packages (depending on the Azure features you need). Note when using the capacity model you have to bring your own Windows Server and SQL Server licenses (where as the pay-as-you-go you can include the license in the per hour model if desired or use your own (AHUB not required as it is on-premises)). This is documented at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=851536&clcid=0x409.

Additionally there is the cost of the appliance itself which would be with the hardware vendor.

Q. Is Azure Stack billed per-hour or per-minute?

Dept - Azure

A. Per-minute just like public cloud Azure. The pricing page shows per-hour (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-stack/how-to-buy/)however that is just to show the pricing in a meaningful scale, the actual billing is down to the minute. This is confirmed in the client licensing document at https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=851536&clcid=0x409 which shows the pricing as per-minute.

Q. Why would I use Azure Stack instead of public Azure?

Dept - Azure

A. With the availability of Azure Stack by hardware partners as an integrated solution that brings Azure consistent services on-premises, some customers may wonder when to use the public Azure cloud vs the on-premises Azure Stack solution. My guidance is to think of public Azure as the go to place for cloud services and then use Azure Stack based on exception scenarios which generally fall into one of the following:

  1. Disconnect or edge scenarios. For example an oil rig with low bandwidth and high latency, a submarine, a cruise ship. Either no external connectivity or very limited bandwidth which makes running services in the public Azure unfeasible and so using Azure Stack enables the same Azure consistent services to run, but locally. The processed data locally may then be further analyzed by public Azure services.
  2. Meet every regulatory requirements. Public Azure meets a huge number of regulatory requirements which are documented at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/trustcenter/compliance/complianceofferings but consider a country where Azure does not have datacenters and where there are regulations that data cannot leave the country. In those cases using Azure Stack locally would once again enable use of Azure services but locally.
  3. Need to run a cloud application close to the users. Often through connectivity solutions like ExpressRoute services can run in the cloud with great connectivity to on-premises users however if there are specific applications that need to be closer to users then Azure Stack can be used to allow the cloud application to run locally without having to be modified.
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