Microsoft doubles Azure Stack's footprint, embiggens Azure VMs

How to expand a cloud platform without building data centres? Get partners to run 'em

Microsoft has doubled the number of countries in which its Azure Stack hybrid cloud kit will operate, effectively extending Azure's reach with minimal capital expenditure .

Azure Stack is an in-a-box-and-on-premises Azure subset and was previewed in January 2016 and formally launched in July 2017. As of November 2017 Microsoft offered it in 46 countries(thanks, Wayback).

Microsoft's Azure Stack page says expansion would be based on “customer demand and supportability”, and there must be decent customer demand, because it's now listed as available in 92 nations.

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The newly-enabled countries include lots of Eastern European nations, stretching into former Soviet countries; a couple of fill-ins in the EU region, plus lots of new African coverage.

Oh and also a little country you may have heard of called China.*

Because service providers can run Azure Stack, expanding its reach means Microsoft has found a way to bring Azure to the world without also having to build out its own bit barn network. Microsoft promotes Azure Stack as a fine way for service providers to offer cloud to their customers, while also taking advantage of their own links to the Azure Cloud as a way to offer value-adds. Extending Azure Stack support to nations without their own Azure regions therefore extends the availability of Azure services and leaves partners doing the racking and stacking.

Azure, by the way, currently claims 50 regions compared to Azure Stack's 92 – a snippet included in this blog post that announces an expansion of its biggest M-Series VM to 12 TB.

Azure corporate veep Corey Sanders wrote that the 12 TB configuration targets hefty in-memory workloads like SAP HANA. The VMs will use Intel Skylake processors.

Azure Large for SAP HANA TDIv5 now offers 15 instance configurations between 6 TB and 18 TB, and claim four-nines reliability.

At the other end of the scale, there are also smaller M-Series VMs covering memory scale from 192 GB up to 4 TB.

Sanders also announced Azure IaaS VM disaster recovery; a preview of Azure Backup for SQL; and VM Run command support for Bash and PowerShell scripts. ®

* The full list of new Azure Stack locations is: Albania, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macao, Macedonia (FYRO), Malta, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nigeria, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Mozambique, Romania, Rwanda, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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