Can Azure Stack Reduce Software Development Costs?

There’s a piece, called The Real Value of Azure Stack, that caught my eye recently. This seems a little promotional, as lots of vendors are mentioned in the piece, but the gist of the piece is that one of the largest line items for most enterprise IT shops is software development and maintenance. Part of Microsoft’s strategy to address this is with Azure Stack, a hybrid solution that allows you to build a platform in your data center that can extend to the cloud if you need it.
Software development is hard, and from what I can see now, Azure Stack still doesn’t have a great data story. While one can develop against SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc., these databases instances used would be the same standalone services that we would use without Azure Stack. The platform does provide some features that smoother the use of SQL Server or MySQL, but it’s a far cry from the Azure SQL Database or Azure MySQL Database offerings or even CosmosDB. I hope to see those on Azure Stack at some point, perhaps with lower performance capabilities and promises.
 That doesn’t mean that there aren’t advantages to Azure Stack because there are. The consistent development platform, the use of functions, known VMs or App Services mean that your developers can build and test things inside your data center or in the cloud, knowing that these services will run smoothly when deployed on Azure Stack. I’d expect that we will see container and k8s support at some point as well, which will further help us smooth the process of moving software from one machine to the other.
I don’t know of any customers for Redgate that are using Azure Stack right now, but I am hopeful to meet some and see the system in action. I don’t hear about it often, but every time I do, I get a little excited. I think this is the type of platform that could get more people interested in writing more cloud native software, with all the requirements to build more fault tolerant, resilient and scalable applications.
Of course, moving to Azure Stack is likely most beneficial for new applications. While existing ones might port into an IaaS infrastructure and reduce some sysadmin costs, I doubt that there would be significant savings without a lot of development work that takes advantage of more modern software frameworks. There likely isn’t going to be any software maintenance savings on those old thick client applications or ASP websites.
If any of you are moving to Azure Stack, let me know. I’d be interested in your experiences.
Steve Jones
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Editor, SQLServerCentral
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