Azure changes will put hybrid customers on cloud nine

Azure customers who also use their own data centres to store information can now launch the same large computing projects as cloud-only clients after Microsoft unveiled a raft of new features.

The company has rolled out Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 (TP3), which allows organisations to sign up to secure cloud computing and store data on their terms and in a way that benefits them.

One new offering is aimed at customers who are working on projects that use a lot of computing power and have their files stored in two sites in a so-called “hybrid” model – online in Microsoft’s cloud as well as on their own property that isn’t connected to Azure. Virtual Machine Scale Sets allows them to easily and quickly complete those tasks.

TP3 also allows hybrid organisations to only pay for the cloud storage they use; an option that up until now has only been available to those who fully embraced the cloud. Services transactions are the same as they are in Azure, with the same invoices and subscriptions, but prices will be lower as customers are using their own hardware and facilities.

That two-site storage can also be used by developers to build and deploy their apps in the same way as those who work solely in the cloud, using a range of tools and open source application platforms, languages and frameworks such as Java, Python, Node.js and PHP. They can also move projects and apps from their on-site data centres to Azure securely and easily.

Customers often choose a hybrid option if they have concerns over connectivity to the internet, preferring to process computer-based tasks on site rather than in the cloud.

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Mark Smith, Senior Director of the Cloud and Enterprise Business Group at Microsoft UK, said: “Whether you have moved all your organisation’s data to Azure or are operating a hybrid model, Microsoft is ensuring you have the right tools to be creative and successful. TP3 takes the flexibility, security and reliability of the cloud and puts it into your premises, giving you complete control of how you manage your data.”

TP3 is the final planned feature before Microsoft makes the Azure Stack Development Kit generally available.