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Microsoft Blog - Microsoft Windows Server Explained

Based on a podcast with:

  • Kirk Sinclair, Partner Sales Executive, OEM team (DPSS), Microsoft Canada
  • Devlin Norris, Distribution Account Executive, Intel Corporation
  • Matt Crumb, Windows Server Specialist, Microsoft
  • Carter Wilson, Windows Server Specialist, Microsoft 

In this edition of Windows Server Explained, two Windows Server specialists dive deep into the technology behind Azure Stack HCI, the many perks of Windows Admin Center, and more. Read on to find out all you need to know. 

HCI: Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Vs Azure Stack HCI

With Windows Server 2019 Datacenter, Microsoft offered HCI (hyper converged infrastructure). This included storage spaces direct, software defined networking, and more. Then, in late 2020, Microsoft released a new product called Azure Stack HCI. It’s a separate OS but still has the same technology that provided hyper converged infrastructure previously. 

It still runs on-prem, has Storage Spaces Direct, Hyper-V, and software defined networking, but allows you to essentially separate the Windows Server workload piece. 

The main difference between the Azure Stack HCI and HCI through Windows Server 2019 Datacenter is that Azure Stack HCI is going to be optimized specifically for Azure users. 

Intel’s Optane persistent memory with Azure Stack HCI

With that said, Azure Stack HCI is still an on-prem investment. It leverages the latest and greatest technologies such as Intel’s Optane persistent memory, which can be used as a storage class memory module inside their hyper converged clusters.  

You can run more VMs per node due to the caching that Optane enables. And it reduces the need for physical memory because you can take advantage of Optane SSD to be the memory for you. 

Windows Admin Center: A powerful management tool

Windows Admin Center is a comprehensive solution. All you need to do is add the servers to your domain, go into Windows Admin center, and create the cluster. You point to the servers, allocate the networking for management tiers, and then you can create virtual networks inside this for the east-west traffic. 

For storage, it simply grabs the Optane persistent memory and allocates it to cache. And you can create your storage pools based off of that. 

Best of all, Windows Admin Center comes totally free, browser based, and doesn’t require installing any agents. And beyond managing your Windows servers, you can use it for your entire Windows 10 infrastructure. 

It's also how you can bridge up to the cloud. Windows Admin Center allows you to move workloads to the cloud if you don’t want to move them to another node. 

The opportunity for resellers

With Optane persistent memory in Intel’s 3rd gen Xeon, Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Edition now with HCI, and Windows Admin Center bringing it all together to manage your entire ecosystem, there’s a great opportunity to offer a dramatically improved product to customers. 

With Azure, you can get an ongoing subscription with your customer rather than having a CapEx of an ongoing OpEx with that customer. If you're offering any kind of services, Windows Admin Center allows you to manage them. 

Then you can build your managed service practice on top of that because you'll have a clear revenue stream and a requirement for your customer to keep checking in with you.

For support, you can rely on Ingram Micro to guide you through every step of the way. Start by reaching out to your Ingram Micro account team today and let them know exactly what you need. They’ll help you come up with the best and most profitable approach possible as a reseller.