Microsoft has recently organized a 3-day bootcamp, specially designed for partners to get in-depth view and knowledge of the latest features and new differentiators enabled by the latest Azure Stack HCI version 20H2.
It is very exciting to see Microsoft making a quick move to catch up with other hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) leaders like VMWare and Nutanix. Azure Stack HCI would be among the best hybrid solutions for any enterprises out there. With us being your professional invisible hands at the back, we guarantee seamless transition from your current environment to this latest amazing technology.
Well, to recap the idea of HCI from our past blog post, hyperconverged infrastructure refers to a cluster of computers, storages and networks being tightly integrated on the same server. Azure Stack HCI is a part of Azure Stack product line, an extension to public cloud Azure with a true hybrid cloud experience. Learn the distinctions between Azure Stack products.
Azure Stack HCI was first launched in 2019 and built on Windows Server 2019 Datacentre, a Hyper-V hypervisor, a software-defined storage known as Storage Spaces Direct, and lastly, a software-defined networking. For fans of the Hyper-V and Windows Server, Azure Stack HCI is the perfect solution for your first step into hybrid cloud by modernizing how you run your virtual machines on-premises.
Now, this latest version of Azure Stack HCI comes with prodigious features as below:
1) New OS – Azure Stack HCI version 20H2
Initially, Azure Stack HCI was based on Windows Server 2019. Now, Azure Stack HCI has extended itself as a specialized OS running on customers’ preferred hardware. This new 20H2 OS is purposely-built for Azure Stack HCI based on the same core operating system as Windows Server. However, it is designed to be an entirely new product focusing on optimizing virtualization with reduced composition.
2) Native Disaster Recovery (DR) with Stretch Clustering
For Azure Stack HCI v20H2, Microsoft offers a stretched clusters solution for disaster recovery. With this feature, no manual intervention is required as failover is automatic, and production can be restored very quickly. With all servers staying synced, Storage Replica will supply replication of volumes across sites for Disaster Recovery. Storage Replica does support synchronous and asynchronous replication, which mirrors data across site in a low-latency network and beyond metropolitan ranges with high latency, respectively.
Interestingly, sites can be either on different floors, different rooms, different cities or even different states that are quite far apart to support business continuity in the case of failures or outages.
More about Stretch Clustering:
3) Shorter Resync Duration on Azure Stack HCI version 20H2
The new Azure Stack HCI also introduces a completely reengineered mechanism for Storage Spaces to repair and resync data. By tracking overwritten or “dirty” regions within each slab, at a very fine granularity (1000x finer granularity than inWindows Server 201), the average per-server resync duration is reduced up to 4x, even 5x!
This is a game changer that makes applying updates and restarting servers much quicker.
4) Azure Stack HCI Guidelines in Deployment
Good news to the IT team or generalists! Azure Stack HCI provides step-by-step workflow to configure clustering, virtualization, and advanced storage and networking. This is good for IT people who are very new to cloud or even to Azure Stack HCI.
5) Native Integration with Azure
After setting up Azure Stack HCI, it natively integrates with Azure and Azure Resource Manager (ARM). This allows us to easily understand and manage the resources as it represents each of the Azure Stack HCI cluster.
There is no other separate agent needed to be downloaded, installed, or maintained. Moreover, there is no complicated script to fuss with. Azure Arc is built natively into the Azure Stack HCI OS, so each of the on-premises cluster is projected into the Azure portal, into the context of your own Azure AD as a resource, in a resource group of your subscription.
6) Azure Stack HCI is covered by Azure Support (through Azure portal)
Azure Stack HCI is now being covered under Azure Support. Microsoft has just created a new dedicated team, staffed by seasoned veterans and subject matter experts, specifically to support Azure Stack HCI. As a customer, you can easily reach out for the support and access the self-help resources through Azure portal. Starting as low as $29 per month for developers or $100 per month for standard support, you can select a plan that suits your business needs.
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Written By Ain Salleh (Cloud Fairy)