Dell launches pay as you go Azure Stack HCI

Shannon Champion, Dell
Shannon Champion, Dell

Dell customers can now run on-premises HCI infrastructure via the Azure stack. The hybrid cloud system also allows for pay-as-you-go pricing and “optimise[s] the operational experience of Microsoft’s next generation of Azure Stack HCI.”

The “full stack lifecycle management experience… reduces manual tasks by 82 per cent, greatly reducing the risk of data entry mistakes or installation option guess work,” Dell’s director of HCI product marketing, Shannon Champion said in a blog post. Dell has been quick off the mark with this launch as Microsoft announced general availability on Azure Stack HCI just a couple of days ago.

To give it its very full name, the Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI*, runs atop Dell PowerEdge servers. The all-in-one, validated HCI system is managed via the Azure portal, Windows Admin Center with OpenManage integration, and PowerShell.

Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI.

Dell Azure Stack HCI is based on Hyper-V and HCI stack in the Azure Cloud and accesses cloud services in Azure such as site replication, cloud backup and Kubernetes.

Dell EMC sells two other HCI systems. VxRail is its VMware-based HCI product, and the XC products run Nutanix software.

Azure Stack history

To recap, Azure Stack, launched in 2017, is the Azure cloud embodied in on-premises X86 hardware and incorporating Hyper-V and Windows Server-based software-defined compute, storage, and networking technologies. 

Azure Stack HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure) launched in March 2019, and put Azure Stack into a Microsoft-certified X86-based HCI system from a Microsoft partner. This is a rebrand of the Windows Server Software-Defined (WSSD) systems that were available from the same hardware partners, and links to the Azure cloud for infrastructure management services.

Microsoft began previewing Azure Stack HCI as a service in July 2020. This charges on a consumption, per-core basis, similar to Azure cloud instances. A deployment wizard installs the on-premises Azure Stack cluster, linking it to the Azure cloud.

*The Dell EMC Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI should be shortened to Dell EMC’s ISMASHCI. We like it, and it’s easier to type. Are you listening, Dell?