Microsoft unifies cloud and in-house IT management software

The new Azure Stack is designed to let organizations run platform and infrastructure services in-house

Two new IT management products from Microsoft continue the company's push to help customers move their operations to the cloud.

The Microsoft Azure Stack software collection combines the Azure infrastructure and platform services so they can be used for an enterprise's internal operations. Meanwhile, the Microsoft Operations Management Suite is for managing workloads across different cloud services, including those running on Azure, Amazon Web Services, Windows Server, Linux, VMware, and OpenStack.

"The Azure Stack will make it possible to have Azure in your data center, making it consistent with the public Azure," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the opening of the Ignite conference for IT professionals, being held this week in Chicago.

The company also announced Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, the next versions of the company's server software and system management software.

The Microsoft Azure Stack can be used to manage virtualized instances of Microsoft software such as SQL Server, SharePoint and Exchange, using the Azure Resource Manager software. It features a number of security technologies to isolate workloads from one another, while still offering the ability to manage them from a central console.

The Microsoft Operations Management Suite (OMS) centralizes the management of workloads across different systems. It can be used to manage both virtual machines and Docker-like containers, so they can be easily moved across different cloud services, either internal or public clouds.

OMS handles log analysis, offering the ability to search through millions of log files to troubleshoot problems. It can manage system updates for Microsoft software, and collect information on security-related events. It provides a way to set up disaster recovery operations, where resources can be moved to another data center in times of a regional emergency.

The second technical preview of System Center 2016 will be issued this week, giving administrators more details of the new features of the system management software. The software's support for Linux has been improved: It now can monitor LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl/Python/PHP) stacks, as well as SSH (Secure Shell). The company's mode for managing large number of servers, called Desired State Configuration (DSC), will work with Linux.

System Center 2016 will also feature improved support for other Microsoft products as well, including Azure, Office 365, SQL Server and Exchange.

Windows Server 2016 will offer the Azure Service Fabric, software that will help organizations scale up their applications to meet heavy demands. This is the same software that Microsoft itself uses to run highly scalable services like the Cortana personal assistant service.

The second technical preview of Windows Server 2016, also available this week, will give users the first chance to look at the Nano Server build, the stripped-down version of Windows Server to run containers.

Windows Server 2016 will feature advanced cloud management capabilities such as the ability to do rolling upgrades of larger Windows Server clusters handling storage and Hyper-V workloads so the clusters stay in operation during the upgrades.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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