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5 Keys to Optimizing the Azure Cloud to Edge Experience

In the hybrid and multicloud era, organizations are increasingly finding that cloud migrations can and should flow successfully in both directions—bringing applications to the public cloud and also bringing cloud-native applications back on premises as part of an integrated hybrid cloud experience, whether in a traditional data center or at the edge.

The key to successful digital transformation is to leverage all of the organization’s data for competitive differentiation. This means adapting to the changing dynamics of where data is generated and needed, especially at a time when multicloud and edge strategies are creating opportunities for innovation, increased agility and other business benefits.

In the not-so-distant past, data was primarily generated and processed in just a few data centers, or even a single data center on premises. Increasingly, data generation is dispersed across an organization’s operational footprint, whether on the factory floor or at branch offices, satellite healthcare facilities, campus locations, distribution centers, points of purchase, or other locations.

In this environment, companies can benefit by pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy that delivers a seamless cloud experience on premises, off premises and at the edge—incorporating unified application and data services for consistent operations and infrastructure.

Benefits include faster speed to market, digital transformation empowerment, improved cybersecurity and compliance, a faster path to innovation and increased agility in adapting to change, such as hybrid work. 

For IT decision-makers, this means continuing to invest in hybrid cloud and multicloud infrastructures. In fact, hybrid cloud infrastructure is one of the top five areas of increased IT investment in 2023, according to a survey by Enterprise Strategy Group, with 56% of decision-makers saying they plan to increase spending in that area.1

More than 40% of respondents said they consider both on-premises technologies and public cloud services equally when it comes to deploying new applications. In addition, the research shows that increasing the use of on-premises hyperscale cloud solutions is the No. 1 strategy for data center modernization over the next 12 to 18 months, cited by 31% of IT decision-makers.

Bringing services to the data
Among the hyperscale cloud providers, Microsoft Azure is a leader in taking services that were previously exclusive to the public cloud and bringing them back to where the data is. With an infrastructure platform that tightly integrates hardware and software components, Azure customers can efficiently deliver cloud operating environments to bring compelling Azure Arc-enabled applications and data services to on-premises locations through Azure Stack HCI for simpler app deployments.

When it comes to optimizing the Azure cloud experience, not all infrastructure platforms are created equal. Dell Technologies is a leading infrastructure vendor for Azure Stack HCI, with a full suite of solutions designed to further streamline and simplify hybrid cloud.

Dell and Microsoft have a 35-year history of innovation and technical achievement, grounded in collaboration and strength in partnership. As their tradition of collaboration continues, Azure hybrid cloud customers can expect to see innovations that strengthen the ability of Dell and Microsoft to deliver maximum flexibility for customers

Looking ahead, here are five key characteristics hybrid cloud customers have identified as being extremely important—all areas where customers of Microsoft and Dell can expect to achieve competitive advantage in optimizing the Azure hybrid cloud experience:

  1. Extend and optimize the Azure experience on premises. Customers want to choose where to deploy and execute workloads based on the needs of each specific workload, whether it’s to meet security, compliance, governance or any other requirements. Because IT is increasingly dispersed, customers will benefit from consistent Azure operations across dispersed locations, allowing them to freely innovate wherever they need to.
  2. Achieve operational excellence with full-stack automation for Azure hybrid cloud. IT teams are seeking to simplify and streamline deployment, integration and lifecycle management of Microsoft data platform environments. Dell and Microsoft are collaboratively building deeper levels of integration and automation capabilities. These are designed to help customers simplify operational tasks while ensuring consistent and superior operational outcomes everywhere across the hybrid cloud environment.
  3. Accelerate productivity with familiar Azure operational and development experiences. By bringing services and capabilities to the consoles and tools IT teams are already using, organizations can accelerate time to value for improved service delivery, without having to take the time to continually retrain admins on new tools. For example, using familiar tools such as Windows Admin Center and Azure Portal helps bridge the skills gap and enables IT teams to utilize existing resources efficiently. IT teams are also seeking to optimize delivery of developer-friendly Arc-enabled data, app and platform services, thus simplifying app environments, accelerating DevOps and boosting developer productivity. These are all areas where customers are collaborating to help improve IT and DevOps productivity.
  4. Flexibly extend data and applications across Azure hybrid cloud environments. Delivering seamless IT operations across distributed Azure deployments enables organizations to flexibly move data and applications wherever it makes sense. Location isn’t one and done. Customers are seeking agility in workload and data placement to address changing requirements. IT teams need the ability to scale easily, unlock value at the edge and leverage artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to deploy scalable applications and services and manage high-performance workloads.
  5. Enforce consistent Azure governance and security policies across locations, with validated multilayer security. With Dell’s infrastructure integrated with Azure management and governance services, customers can enforce comprehensive, full-stack security and governance policies across distributed deployments—i.e., edge and core data centers—with the centralized Azure Portal. In addition, Dell and Microsoft are collaborating to embed security capabilities into each layer of the integrated stack, leveraging intrinsic multilayer security to help customers simplify security and compliance while accelerating adoption of zero trust infrastructure.

Taking the next step
The ability to run cloud-native applications efficiently and optimally on premises is becoming more important to digital transformation efforts, particularly with the growth of data and applications at the edge and the desire to bring services to where data can be used most effectively and innovatively.

Dell and Microsoft are combining their respective strengths to uncomplicate hybrid cloud for customers. Microsoft brings a comprehensive approach to hybrid cloud with Azure Arc-enabled services, while Dell brings its extensive experience building integrated infrastructure platforms and delivering advanced software-driven management and orchestration capabilities.

Microsoft Azure customers have a compelling opportunity to drive significant competitive advantage, cost savings and business agility by optimizing the hybrid cloud experience with a consistent, familiar hardware and software infrastructure platform from Dell.

For more information on how your organization can take advantage of infrastructure designed to optimize Azure , please visit Dell Technologies.

1ESG Research Report: 2023 Technology Spending Intentions Survey,” TechTarget’s Enterprise Strategy Group, November 2022