Azure clusters use 880 servers. Azure Stack-in-a-box will run on four

And don't throw out your Cloud Platform System or Azure Pack kit, it will play with the Stack

Microsoft has revealed that its forthcoming Azure Stack will be able to run on as few as four servers and will also be able to play nice with its earlier cloud-in-a-box efforts.

Azure Stack is designed to distil Redmond's public cloud into on-premises hardware, a task Microsoft's group program manager for Azure Stack Infrastructure and Cloud Platform System Vijay Tewari said is complicated a little by the fact that cloudy Azure runs on clusters of 880 servers.

Microsoft's nevertheless promising it can boil Azure down into four-server configurations. The company's also revealed that it's decided to make Azure Stack work alongside kit running Cloud Platform System and Windows Azure Pack. Azure Stack's portal will be able to create and manage VMs on hardware running Redmond's other two on-premises cloudy creations.

That's welcome news for those with investments in such boxen.

Speaking in a well-rehearsed video, Tewari's also said that Microsoft is considering making Azure Stack capable of running on commodity hardware, rather than converged systems. But he also said any such configuration is a long way off, because to offer a cloud-like experience complete with non-disruptive upgrades Azure Stack needs to know just about everything about the contents of a chassis, down to disk and host bus adapter firmware versions.

To drive another nail into the DIY Azure Stack argument, he also suggested that converged systems may look pricey, but offer better cost of ownership over their lifetimes.

Tewari also revealed that Azure Stack will get a monthly update that will happen without any impact on applications.

Azure Stack's current status is Tech Preview One, with HPE, Dell and Lenovo named as launch partners for hardware. Tech Preview Two will be offered to select users starting next week. Shipping date remains targeted for early 2017. ®

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