Enhanced Performance and Security in Microsoft Azure Stack with F5 and Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Edward O'Connell Thumbnail
Edward O'Connell
Published September 18, 2018

F5 collaboration simplifies applications running across Microsoft Azure Stack regions into a consolidated infrastructure for business operations

For many IT groups, the pressure to migrate to public clouds is immense. Internal business owners and application developers are wanting the agile, fungible architecture of a public cloud to help them move faster in driving business operational needs. But for certain IT applications and data, moving to a public cloud isn’t an option due to operational requirements that can’t always be addressed only by public clouds, such as:

  • Migration of applications to the edge – IoT, augmented reality, and other applications must be closer to the user to provide an ideal experience. This can only be really done with dispersed private clouds that are located near users.
  • Sensitive data – Certain data collected is sensitive in nature (e.g., proprietary, expensive to collect and compile) and therefore must be afforded a high level of control and security (and compliance reporting).
  • Data sovereignty – Recent regulatory requirements passed by various governments specify that data collected in a region must be stored within that region to avoid loss of control to foreign entities or governments. A good example of this is the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

In recognition of these challenges, Microsoft created Microsoft Azure Stack, an on-premises solution that enables select Azure services to be deployed from an enterprise’s own data center or in disconnected environments. Azure Stack is designed to enable organizations to build out on-prem clouds to address the previously noted requirements while interoperating with Azure. And to make it easier for organizations to deploy Azure Stack, Microsoft partnered with a select group of hardware vendors to deliver integrated solutions for customers. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), one of the vendors chosen to deliver an integrated Azure Stack solution, has based its solution on the DL380 server platform.

HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud solution that allows organizations to run Azure-consistent services in their data center(s), providing a simplified development, management, and security experience that is consistent with Azure public cloud services.

There are several challenges in creating infrastructure that scales across multiple discrete Azure Stack Regions. One is having application services that can serve a distributed application or groups of applications across multiple Azure Stack Regions (local or remote). The flip side is ensuring data (single application or multiple) is distributed via replication in real-time for application access. Both need to be consistent and persistent for the application or applications be able to perform and meet user expectations.

To build out reliable applications that span multiple Azure Stack regions (geographically dispersed or local) for a more scalable infrastructure, HPE partnered with F5 Networks. F5’s BIG-IP LTM and DNS provide application and security services that allow apps running on one or many Azure Stack regions to be seamless regardless of location or time zone, while HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack ensures data replication between applications.  The F5 BIG-IP system also operates identically on Azure (and other popular clouds as well) for ease of migration of applications and services and compliance adherence.

The F5 application services complement HPE server platform, allowing customers to virtualize Azure Stack regions into a single entity for a private cloud infrastructure that delivers the following benefits:

  • Infrastructure that easily scales up and out to meet business demands without compromising user experience or risk of data loss.
  • Geographic and security control over sensitive data to mitigate regulatory and exfiltration risks.
  • Simplified management, with a single set of application and security services that reduce overhead and risk.

To find out more about how F5 and HPE enable building out scalable, secure private clouds based on Azure Stack, please view the following:

For those attending the 2018 Microsoft Ignite Conference in Orlando, you can stop by either the F5 (#1337) or HPE (#2125) booths in the exhibit area to discuss how to make your Azure Stack easily scalable, reliable, and more successful.