Microsoft's run Azure on Nano server since late 2013

Redmond discovers the limits of cloud-first

Microsoft's only just announced its new Nano server, but has been using it in production on Azure since late 2013.

So says D. Britton Johnston, CTO for Microsoft Worldwide Incubation, with whom The Reg chatted over the weekend.

“Britt”, as he's known, said Microsoft started to use a very slimmed-down version of Windows server in production on Azure at about the time of Windows Server 2012 R2's release, which would mean late in 2013. The operating system's therefore been tested up the wazoo on real workloads, which should induce some comfort ahead of its 2016 commercial debut.

But Britt said that running the server on Azure has also taught Microsoft that what works in the cloud wont work on-premises. In Azure bit barns, he explained, Microsoft just shifts workloads to another server in the case of any hardware glitch. While businesses will build some redundancy into their systems, Microsoft's tweaked Nano server and the Cloud Platform System converged hardware rigs it announced last year to recognise that businesses can't just throw hardware at a problem.

Cloud-first, it seems, only gets you so far on-premises.

The newly-announced Azure Stack – an on-premises version of Azure – also reflects on-premises constraints. Britt explained that Azure Stack will represent one way to do private and/or hybrid cloud in Microsoft's new way of thinking. If you want to base your rig on Windows Server, Hyper-V, System Centre and Virtual Machine Manager, feel free to do so.

If you do so, however, you'll be cutting yourself from some of Azure Stack's best bits, and from an experience that integrates Virtual Machine Manager anyway. ®

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