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Mike Neil, MSFT
Mike Neil (via Microsoft)

Azure Stack, the important hybrid-cloud product that Microsoft announced in January, will be more limited than some developers hoped.

Now in Technical Preview 1, Azure Stack is intended to help companies bridge on-premises and in-cloud computing — a challenge that many companies face as they move toward the cloud and assess which apps should run where. Azure Stack’s promise is that developers can write a single application that runs unaltered on-premises or in Azure, and that management and automation tools will run equally well in both locations.

Today, Microsoft VP Mike Neil wrote that Azure Stack’s general release, targeted for mid-2017, will combine software, hardware, support and services — and will be available only from Dell, HPE and Lenovo, at least initially.

Customers have strongly indicated that simplicity and speed of development are paramount, trumping the ability to customize at the infrastructure level, he said, and “a pre-validated systems approach helps simplify the operational experience for customers.”

This news made some commenters unhappy.

azure logo“Are you saying that if I have required hardware and would like to build Azure Stack on this, MSFT will not support this method?” asked a commenter who called himself KNS.

Program manager Vijay Tewari responded, “As Mike pointed out, our goal is to ensure the success of you as our customers and with Azure stack, that path is via an integrated hardware software and support offering from Dell, HPE and Lenovo”

Commenter Conrad Kimball, replied, “Will or will not Microsoft support Azure Stack in a build-it-myself mode?” Three hours later, no response had been posted.

We’ve contacted Microsoft for comment on the issue.

Update: Vijay Tewari commented, “We have extensive experience with Azure (in our datacenters) and with Microsoft Cloud Platform System in customers’ datacenters. Our goal is to help customers achieve the highest operational availability. An Azure Stack customer will get a curated, validated and orchestrated application of updates for BIOS, BMC firmware, NIC firmware, drive firmware, drivers, OS patches, Service fabric (that runs Azure micro services) updates, Azure services updates and infrastructure management software. This is to ensure that we provide Azure innovation to customers at a rapid cadence. That is the genesis of our approach.”

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