Microsoft's Fledgling Azure Stack Gains PaaS and DevOps

Microsoft adds new PaaS services and developer-friendly capabilities to its new Azure hybrid cloud platform.

Microsoft Azure Stack

On the heels of the Jan. 29 release of the Azure Stack beta, Microsoft has released new platform-as-a-service (PaaS) components and DevOps tools for the fledgling hybrid cloud platform.

Wasting little time, Microsoft is already extending Azure Stack's capabilities, offering enterprises an early start in floating hybrid cloud applications.

"Today, we're making additional Azure PaaS services and DevOps tools available for you to deploy and run on top of your Technical Preview deployments," said Microsoft's Azure Stack team in a Dec. 8 blog post. "This represents the first installment of continuous innovation towards helping you deliver Azure services from your datacenter."

The new release includes the addition of a Web Apps feature to the Azure App Service, allowing organizations to run and manage Web-based apps on Azure Stack. Supporting the new capability are new SQL and MySQL database resource providers.

Microsoft is courting cloud developers with an updated Azure software development kit (SDK) that includes support for Microsoft's PowerShell along with cross-platform command line interface (CLI) support. Finally, Azure Stack now includes native support for Visual Studio, Microsoft's integrated development environment (IDE).

Though available for download, Microsoft cautions that as with all things labeled "Preview" by the company, the new software is not quite ready for prime time.

"Please note, Web Apps and SQL/MySQL PaaS services are in early preview today. We're making them available early to solicit community and early adopter feedback to help simplify the installation and configuration experience," stated the Azure Stack group. "We will then incorporate the feedback and release another public preview for these services before we release the next Technical Preview of Azure Stack."

Inspired by the Redmond, Wash., software giant's own Azure cloud computing platform, Azure Stack runs in customer data centers, enabling them to extend their workloads to Microsoft's cloud. In December, the company released the software's system requirements, which call for servers with a 12-core dual-socket processor, 96GB of RAM and four 140GB drives, at minimum. IT buyers seeking preconfigured hardware that works with Azure stack have options, including Dell's R630 servers and Hewlett Packard Enterprise's DL 360 Gen 9 systems. (Notably, Microsoft and HPE announced a sweeping hybrid cloud partnership in the wake of Hewlett-Packard's headline-grabbing split into two companies.)

"The Microsoft Azure Stack has its origins in a true public hyper-scale cloud," according to remarks from Natalia Mackevicius, partner group program manager at Microsoft, in a May 4 announcement during last year's Ignite Conference. "We are bringing our innovations from running Azure at hyper-scale to our customer and partner on-premises and hybrid data centers."

Microsoft envisions that enterprises will use Azure Stack to enable a more agile, cloudlike approach to deploying and managing IT services and business applications.

"Microsoft Azure Stack will meet the business needs of agile development and operations by enabling self-service cloud experiences and APIs, helping IT effectively manage risk and changing demands. Azure Stack will support both 'cloud-native' applications and traditional enterprise-grade applications," Mackevicius added.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...