Microsoft Azure Stack HCI + Intel® Optane™ SSDs: Better Together

By Peter Krass, writer for CRN.

Apple pie? Delicious. Apple pie with vanilla ice cream? Even more delicious.

So it is with Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI. Like apple pie, this solution is pretty great all by itself. Azure Stack HCI, powered by 2nd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, offers your customers a powerful way to run virtualized applications on a modern hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).

Users of Azure Stack HCI can run virtualized applications on premises, replace and consolidate aging servers, and connect to Microsoft Azure for cloud services. All that can dramatically boost your customers’ data-center efficiency while lowering their overall costs.

And when Azure Stack HCI gets combined with Intel® Optane™ SSDs (solid state drives) and Intel® Optane™ persistent memory? Then it just gets even better.

Dynamic Duo

This “apple pie a la mode” combo — Azure Stack HCI and Intel® Optane™ technology — can really help your data-center customers. They can boost data throughput, cut latency, increase memory capacity (without breaking the bank), and quickly mine large datasets for valuable insights.

Intel® Optane™ SSDs can help optimize Azure Stack HCI by clearing data-center bottlenecks and allowing larger datasets to be processed affordably.

Customers with this Azure + Intel® Optane™ SSD combo may also consolidate their workloads onto smaller hardware footprints, further helping to cut costs. That’s because Intel® Optane™ SSDs can increase IOPS (input/output operations per second) by up to 52% over a solution using SATA SSDs, while requiring a cluster of 3 servers rather than 4.

Intel® Optane™ persistent memory is a nonvolatile option that combines large memory capacity with support for data persistence; essentially, it sits between memory and storage to provide fast and easy access to data.

One way it does this is by increasing the number of virtual machines (VMs) per node. By expanding system memory with Intel® Optane™ persistent memory in Memory Mode, an organization can increase the number of VMs by up to 36% over a solution with DDR4.

Bradley: A Hybrid-Cloud Foundation

One real-life organization making hay with the Azure Stack + Intel® Optane™ technology combo is Bradley Arant Bolt Cummings. Better known simply as Bradley, it’s a law firm with more than 500 attorneys working from southern U.S. cities that include Washington, D.C.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Dallas.

Bradley has used the Intel® Select Solution for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI as part of its transition to a hyper-converged infrastructure and create the foundation for a hybrid cloud in the future.

For this project, Bradley opted to work with DataON, an Anaheim, Calif.-based provider of hybrid cloud solutions and an Intel® Technology Provider Platinum Partner. It, in turn, proposed a solution based entirely on Intel® technology. Using the Intel® Select Solution, Bradley could deploy a pre-verified HCI environment quickly. And DataON was able to provide the interoperable building blocks that would let Bradley’s IT team make adjustments as needed by the business.

As part of the shift, Bradley replaced its storage area network (SAN) with Intel® Optane™ technology. The benefits now include improvements to overall IT performance, SQL backup times and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) startup times. The firm’s attorneys and support staff are happy too; their business applications are running faster and more responsively. For more details read the full case study.

Get Better Together

Does that sound like the kinds of benefits your data-center customers would appreciate? Then get them started combining the power of Microsoft Azure Stack HCI and Intel® Optane™ technology.

Find the solution that’s right for them: