In my previous posts I have provided an overview of Azure Stack, described the two commercial models and drilled down into some of the use cases where Azure Stack can be connected to Azure. In this post I will look at some of the use cases that may exist where Azure Stack will need to be used totally disconnected. Essentially there are two reasons you would run disconnected – you need to host workloads that are not allowed to be connected through to the outside world or reliable connectivity simply is not available.
The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) defines 4 classification levels for government data: Unclassified, Protected, Secret and Top Secret. Currently Azure and Office 365 have only been certified for Unclassified data. Microsoft, in partnership with CDC, have recently announced plans for two new Azure Regions in Canberra specifically for government and they are targeting being able to host both Unclassified and Protected workloads in the new region.
Azure Stack – deployed in the customer datacentre or in a certified datacentre – could potentially provide a common platform for Secret or Top Secret workloads.
Reliable connectivity not available
The other potential use case for deploying Azure Stack in a disconnected state is a little less obvious. These may be many and varied, but a couple of customers we have worked with in the past spring to mind.
One customer had two sites in Papua New Guinea, a corporate office and a mine site. Connectivity between these two sites was via microwave links and these are frequently disrupted by weather events and sometimes by the locals vandalising the microwave towers. In such a scenario, Azure Stack would allow for modern applications running at the mine site for local processing and availability. There is no reason it could not feed data back to head office when connectivity is available, but there would be no reliance on head office being available.
The second customer that springs to mind has very remote and temporary sites that come and go. They drop in a shipping container with some compute to run line of business apps, but it could be weeks before connectivity is available and even then, the quantity and quality of that bandwidth is variable. In this scenario, too, Azure Stack could allow modern applications to be run without reliance on an upstream link.
Azure Stack brings modern cloud applications to places they could not previously go, either because they were not allowed to go there or because the need was in locations the cloud historically has not reached. If you would like to find out more please feel free to reach out – we also host a free Azure Stack Planning session for eligible customers. We’d be happy to discuss your requirements and can help you find the right solution for your situation.