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PatricF
Level 1 Contributor

Azure Stack HCI for hosting provider

Hi,

 

We are a very small hosting provider that offers hosted solutions for our customers. Today we run a Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V Cluster with three servers and use the SPLA license for this.

 

We are in the process of upgrading our cluster with three new servers from HPE (DL360 Gen10 Plus) and I'm wondering first of all if it's possible as a hosting provider to use Azure Stack HCI? Or is it strictly for on-premises?

 

I read a lotthat "Azure Stack HCI is the future" so if this is not for hosting providers, what solutions do Microsoft recommend? Windows Server 2022 with Hyper-V?

I'm really confused as to what is the best way to go here as it feels like "Hyper-V" is a product that Microsoft is "facing out" in favor of Azure. I know ASHCI uses Hyper-V but I mean as a product in Windows Server.

 

On the one hand I want to be "future proof" and go with new technology etc. but on the other hand I don't know if it's worth it as maybe in 5 years we have migrated to the cloud all together anyway so going with Windows Server 2022 is the easiest/best way for us at the moment.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION
JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

Hi @PatricF 

That is a good question. Azure Stack HCI was not really build for the purposes of a hosting provider, but there is no hard blocker to not use it for this scenario. In comparison Azure Stack Hub is build for hosting providers - in Azure Stack Hub you could provide Azure-like portal and services to multiple customers on the same hardware and from a licensing perspective you would act as CSP Partner selling Azure subscription to each customer that you host on the platform - service charges would then be billed on the specific Azure subscription for each customer. See also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure-stack/hci/concepts/compare-azure-stack-hub However, given the required investments and scale of Azure Stack Hub, it might be overkill for the purposes of a relatively small hosting provider. 

 

Azure Stack HCI also needs to be connected to an Azure subscription, but this would only be a single Azure subscription owned by you as a Partner (Bought either via EA, MCA, PAYG or from another CSP partner). So, you could do this - Microsoft would charge you on the Azure subscription for running HCI, and you would charge customer for the total costs of the hosting environment (you are not allowed to directly resell Azure services, but you are allowed to use Azure for hosting solution for your end customers).

Note that still you would need to leverage SPLA to cover the licenses for the guest OS you make available for end customers, this is not included in HCI.

 

Finally it comes down to the question what features you do need - generally Windows Server 2022 Hyper-V plus Azure Arc for cloud-based management would provide a very similar functionality and experience, for hosting VMs it might not make a huge difference - Windows Server allows for more flexibility on which hardware you use and how you deploy the cluster, but it requires to setup the environment yourself where Azur HCI will more easily provide you you with a tested & proven configuration. Also you certainly should do a cost comparison.

See also Compare Azure Stack HCI to Windows Server - Azure Stack HCI | Microsoft Docs

 

 

If you need 1:1 guidance on Azure Stack HCI and deployment options etc., you can also contact Technical presales & Deployment Services team if you are a Partner with Action Pack, Silver or Gold membership level: https://aka.ms/technicalservices 

Kind regards,
Janosch
Get consultations form Technical Presales & Deployment services team via https://aka.ms/technicalservices

View solution in original post

3 REPLIES 3
JanoschUlmer
Microsoft

Hi @PatricF 

That is a good question. Azure Stack HCI was not really build for the purposes of a hosting provider, but there is no hard blocker to not use it for this scenario. In comparison Azure Stack Hub is build for hosting providers - in Azure Stack Hub you could provide Azure-like portal and services to multiple customers on the same hardware and from a licensing perspective you would act as CSP Partner selling Azure subscription to each customer that you host on the platform - service charges would then be billed on the specific Azure subscription for each customer. See also https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure-stack/hci/concepts/compare-azure-stack-hub However, given the required investments and scale of Azure Stack Hub, it might be overkill for the purposes of a relatively small hosting provider. 

 

Azure Stack HCI also needs to be connected to an Azure subscription, but this would only be a single Azure subscription owned by you as a Partner (Bought either via EA, MCA, PAYG or from another CSP partner). So, you could do this - Microsoft would charge you on the Azure subscription for running HCI, and you would charge customer for the total costs of the hosting environment (you are not allowed to directly resell Azure services, but you are allowed to use Azure for hosting solution for your end customers).

Note that still you would need to leverage SPLA to cover the licenses for the guest OS you make available for end customers, this is not included in HCI.

 

Finally it comes down to the question what features you do need - generally Windows Server 2022 Hyper-V plus Azure Arc for cloud-based management would provide a very similar functionality and experience, for hosting VMs it might not make a huge difference - Windows Server allows for more flexibility on which hardware you use and how you deploy the cluster, but it requires to setup the environment yourself where Azur HCI will more easily provide you you with a tested & proven configuration. Also you certainly should do a cost comparison.

See also Compare Azure Stack HCI to Windows Server - Azure Stack HCI | Microsoft Docs

 

 

If you need 1:1 guidance on Azure Stack HCI and deployment options etc., you can also contact Technical presales & Deployment Services team if you are a Partner with Action Pack, Silver or Gold membership level: https://aka.ms/technicalservices 

Kind regards,
Janosch
Get consultations form Technical Presales & Deployment services team via https://aka.ms/technicalservices

View solution in original post

PerWerngren
Influencer

@JanoschUlmer - my compliments for a great and very informative reply! @PatricF - good luck on your hosting journey! 

PatricF
Level 1 Contributor

Thank you very much for such an informative answer. This really helps me a lot. I didn't know about Azure Stack Hub so I will look in to this.

However I think we are going to stick with Windows Server 2022 and just upgrade the existing cluster that we have.