Here's why Azure Stack will only run on certain hardware

Microsoft thinks that limiting its private cloud software will be better for users

Microsoft made a divisive announcement last month when it revealed that Azure Stack will be delayed until the middle of next year and that the private cloud software will only run on a set of integrated hardware systems rather than a wide variety of hardware. 

Now, the company is trying to explain that change to customers. On Thursday, Microsoft Principal Group Program Manager Vijay Tewari makes the case for shipping Azure Stack on a small variety of hardware in a video interview. His main point is this: constraining the software to a small set of hardware leads to a better product that's more useful right out of the gate.

Having a defined set of systems will allow the Azure Stack team to more rapidly deploy updates to users, he argues. Rather than having Microsoft build software for hardware configurations "we have never seen before," having pre-defined hardware would simplify the process of changing Azure Stack. 

Tewari also contends that having the Azure Stack software already set up makes it faster for companies to get up and running so that they can deploy applications and start using the system. 

Next month, Microsoft will be showing off the Azure Stack software and hardware together at its Ignite conference in Atlanta, Georgia. 

It's not clear yet what the pricing for these systems will be. Tewari says the systems will be based on industry-standard servers, not "gold-plated hardware." He also argues that customers should focus on the total cost of ownership, since Microsoft and its hardware partners would be managing the whole stack themselves. 

In future, users may be able to build their own Azure Stack system if they follow a set of hardware requirements from Microsoft. But right now, customers need to buy those systems from HPE, Dell and Lenovo. 

"We have to start with systems that are well-engineered, that are fully validated between us and our partners, so that we can really provide that robust experience so customers can be successful with Azure Stack as we go out the door," Tewari says in the video.

Companies interested in getting started with a deployment of an Azure-like system in their datacenter can start working with the Cloud Platform System and Azure Pack, which they will then be able to manage using Azure Stack when those systems become available.

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