Find Communities by: Category | Product

By Karthik Angamuthu | Dell EMC | Sr. Product Manager for Azure Stack

Dell EMC Azure Stack

The Dell EMC Azure Stack is an extension of Azure to consistently build and run hybrid applications across cloud boundaries. Dell EMC's commitment to innovate along with Microsoft continues and our primary investment is focused on simplifying the operations for both cloud administrators and tenants on Azure Stack. With today’s announcement of 'Dell EMC Azure Stack Native Integration with Data Domain', we have taken a step towards simplifying the backup and DR experience for both admins and tenants.


Please stay tuned to this blog series for more details, use cases and demo videos.


Data Domain

Dell EMC Data Domain is purpose-built backup target appliance that speeds up your backup and recovery, protecting data on-premises and in the cloud, and delivers a lower cost-to-protect with leading data deduplication and bandwidth utilization. More details on data domain can be found here.


User Experience

Azure Stack delivers a true cloud experience, allowing you to build and run Azure native cloud applications consistently whether on-premises or in Azure Public. However, Azure Stack operators today leverage a collection of third-party backup solutions that may not yield that same level of consistency. The native integration between Data Domain and Azure Stack streamlines the end-to-end experience for tenants by enabling self-service capability of their workloads.


Integration with Data Domain

So, how does the integration help? Backup and DR with Azure Stack require careful consideration and implementation. There are primarily two roles involved with data protection of Azure Stack:

1) Cloud Operator (Azure Stack administrator) who is responsible for protecting the Azure stack infrastructure and configuring backup storage and policies

2) Cloud user (tenant) who is responsible for protecting the workloads running inside Azure Stack


Integration of Data Domain with Dell EMC Azure Stack leverages Azure Stack native tooling to provision Data Domain natively as a backup storage target from within Azure Stack, vastly simplifying on-premises cloud operations. In a multi-tenant environment where tenants may bring their own backup software to protect their respective workloads, they will be able to self-serve their backup needs end-to-end, confident in the fact that their backup data resides in an industry leading Dell EMC Data Domain platform. Additionally, from admin perspective, they will be able to enforce storage quotas against specific plans and offers, all from within the Azure Stack portal. From a service provider perspective, this allows one common method for delivering quota enforced and trackable backup storage to tenants without mandating what backup tools those tenants use within their subscriptions.



Both service providers and enterprise customers can now offer simplified backup service via Azure portal or power shell or ARM template to your respective customers with enterprise class backup target Data Domain platform.


How to order

This solution is currently available for purchase through our solution partner CloudAssert. You can reach out to your Dell EMC Azure Stack sales specialist Kenny Lowe at, phone# +44 7747 209567 to purchase this.


For general inquiries, questions and comments, please reach out to Dell EMC Azure Stack Product Manager Karthik Angamuthu at



By Karthik Angamuthu | Dell EMC | Sr. Product Manager for Azure Stack

While Data Domain acts as the storage target, customers are not locked to a specific backup technology. Customers may use Avamar, Networker, Commvault, and Veeam as backup products integrated with Data Domain.  In a service provider environment, each tenant may have a choice of their own backup software, but ultimately, they can all be backed up to same target which is configured with multi-tenancy in a secure manner.

  Detailed documentation on how to configure various backup software is available here. The integration is built using VConnect from Cloud Assert, who is a proud partner of Dell EMC that has extended VConnect to enable Data Domain and Isilon OneFS integrations within the Azure Stack portal.

By Michael Richtberg, Portfolio Strategic Planning, Open HCI

Welcome! Great to see you’re joining the hybrid cloud wave. If you’ve come to Azure Stack looking for a unified experience that helps bring the Azure public cloud experience to your on-premise data center or to outfit your managed service offering, Dell EMC has a great solution set for you! By bringing together the purpose-built Azure Stack Dell EMC VxRack AS and Dell EMC Isilon, we enable you to increase the value of your investment through capacity and application support extensibility.

Hybrid cloud computing tackles a fundamental need to bring the infrastructure in proximity to the user and being able to address the location sensitive data sovereignty requirements many regions or vertical industries need. By taking advantage of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, Azure Stack delivers an excellent unified platform experience.


Microsoft Azure offers an excellent option for enabling companies to power their digital transformation initiatives. Leveraging the same infrastructure as a service (IaaS) management tools found on the public cloud version of Azure, users can administer their local instances based on a Dell EMC VxRack AS solution. By using the same Azure management tools, compute, storage, and networking resources get provisioned to host a wide variety of workloads. Leveraging the syndicated application catalog from Microsoft, Azure Stack deployments can consume software through an Azure Marketplace inventory oriented towards Azure Stack.


When it comes to using your own applications, you may find that they too need a digital transformation. Azure Stack provides several types of storage to address modern application designs. These may suit new or updated applications quite well, but for existing applications that still work perfectly fine in servicing an existing business need you may not financially benefit from re-engineering those applications to use a new storage protocol. If leveraging your existing applications on Azure Stack provides more enterprise agility, then we have a great solution for enabling that migration without costly re-engineering projects.


Azure Stack natively provides object storage (Azure Blob), Tables (for structured data) or Queue storage. These work well in servicing newer applications built and designed for Azure but may not help with hosting existing Windows or Linux applications that use file services storage (NAS) protocols like NFS and SMB. This is where Dell EMC can help! By leveraging the Dell EMC Isilon market leading scale-out NAS storage system with Azure Stack, your available deployment options become much more flexible by leveraging existing investments in your Windows and Linux applications. Without the costly process of re-engineering those applications, Dell EMC Isilon provides a means to host your application virtual machines on Azure Stack while using standard NAS protocols to host the data services.


This table illustrates how Dell EMC Isilon complements the Azure Stack storage protocols to provide a complete capability to host applications of virtually any type.

Azure Stack Storage Protocols

Dell EMC Isilon Adds these Storage Protocols

Object storage (Azure Blob)

Table storage (structured)

Queue Storage





Azure Stack provides excellent extensibility that grows as your deployments increase. By adding nodes to a Dell EMC VxRack AS cluster, your infrastructure grows non-disruptively as demands increase. Dell EMC Isilon complements this scaling capability to agily address storage capacities to over 30 petabytes. As your file storage needs increase, Isilon provides a simple means to add more capacity. Isilon’s OneFS is a single file system/single volume architecture, which makes it extremely easy to manage, regardless of the number of nodes in the storage cluster. Isilon storage systems scale from a minimum of four nodes up to 144 nodes, all connected via a backend Ethernet communications layer for high performance results.

Isilon Blog 2 Image 2.png


Connecting Isilon to Azure Stack is straightforward. Simply use ARM (Azure Resource Management) Templates, PowerShell scripts or the Azure CLI (Command Line Interface) to provision Isilon shares along with any other resources in a single shot. Our VConnect plug-in unifies system administration controls for Isilon from within the Azure Stack console for an integrated continuity of experience. For multi-tenant environments, this vastly simplifies the lifecycle management process and even provides a means for the tenants to administer their own storage services. You can read more details about how VConnect works and how to configure it in the Microsoft Azure Stack Administration console in our blog “Dell EMC Azure Stack Storage-as-a-Service with Isilon


While you’re thinking about modernizing your hybrid cloud deployment, don’t forget about ensuring you keep the advanced data services you’ve come to expect from an enterprise-class storage system. Isilon keeps your data safe, protected, and easily managed with these key capabilities to make your Azure Stack solution complete.

Data protection & efficiency

Data management


Fast, efficient data backup and recovery


Fast and flexible asynchronous replication for DR


Policy-based client failover with load balancing


Policy-based compliance and WORM data protection


Data deduplication to reduce storage costs


Get STIG & FIPS compliant AES  256-bit protection


Policy-based automated tiering


Quota management and thin provisioning


Performance monitoring and reporting


Cloud-scale capacity


Optimize for performance and cost


In summary, Dell provides a complete end to end solution to enable broader deployment use cases for Azure Stack. By combining the unified VxRack AS ingredients to power your Azure Stack solution with the outstanding extensibility of Isilon file storage services you get a world class experience allowing you to leverage your investments in existing applications. Plus, get excellent capacity expansion that grows as your needs change to align with your cluster expansion of Azure Stack.

Isilong Blog 2 Image 3 (Storage Services   Azure Stack Storage Capabilities.jpg

As you consider the benefits of using the Azure Stack cloud infrastructure with the benefits of local compute and storage for excellent performance, Dell provides you with a complete solution that ensures your data is secure, compliant and highly performant.        


Whether you are a service provider or an enterprise customer, you now have the ability to offer Storage-as-a-Service to your customers with enterprise class storage features such as high availability and data protection, security and more with Azure Stack and Isilon.

How to order

This solution is currently available for purchase through our solution partner CloudAssert. You can reach out to your Dell EMC Azure Stack sales specialist to buy this.

For inquiries, questions and comments, please reach out to Dell EMC Azure Stack product manager Karthik Angamuthu at  

Additional Links

By Karthik Angamuthu | Dell EMC | Sr. Product Manager for Azure Stack

Dell EMC Azure Stack

Azure Stack is designed to help organizations deliver Azure services from their own data center. By allowing end users to ‘develop once and deploy anywhere' (public Azure or on premises). Customers now can take full advantage of cloud for various applications that could not live in cloud otherwise, may it be due to regulations, data sensitivity, edge use cases, or location of data that prevents them from using public cloud.


Dell EMC co-engineers this solution with Microsoft with added value in automation of deployments, patches and updates along with integration of various key solutions to meet our customers’ holistic needs. One such value add is enabling our Azure stack customers to expand file storage.


Why should you care? - Because of the storage limitation!


Storage Limitation

Azure Stack storage is a set of cloud storage services that includes blobs, tables and queues which are consistent with public Azure storage services, built on Storage Spaces Direct (S2D). It is important to note that while 'file storage' is supported in public Azure, it is currently not supported on Azure Stack. This means that any tenant workload that needs to access files via SMB/NFS has to use external NAS storage residing outside the stack. Additionally, since Azure Stack is built on a hyper-converged architecture, it inherently limits the capacity of S2D storage.


What is the solution? - Isilon. Though there are many external file storage options available, Isilon is an excellent option for the following reasons.



Isilon is a scale out network-attached storage (NAS) platform offered by Dell EMC for high-volume storage, backup and archiving of unstructured data. While Isilon offers extremely high scalability that is highly cost effective, it provides enterprise class features such as

  • Performance monitoring with InsightIQ,
  • Tiering of data with SmartPools,
  • Quota management with SmartQuotas,
  • Data protection with SnapshotIQ,
  • Data replication with SyncIQ,
  • High availability and load balancing with SmartConnect,
  • Deduplication with SmartDedupe,
  • Data retention with SmartLock,
  • Stringent compliance and governance needs through WORM capability and
  • Last but not the least, seamless tiering of cold or frozen data to public Azure storage with CloudPools.


Isilon supports SMB, NFS, HTTPS object storage, and HDFS, among other protocols. And, there are three different Isilon platform families to meet the performance needs of the data, all running Isilon OneFS:

  1. The all-flash F-series, focusing on extreme performance and scalability for unstructured data applications and workloads
  2. The hybrid H-series, which seek to balance performance and capacity
  3. The archive A-series, for both active and deep archive storage


Configuring your file share

Ok, how do you set up such that tenant workloads can access external file shares? - Simple. If you have a NAS such as Isilon sitting outside of the stack, your tenants can directly map the file shares via SMB/NFS as long as the network connectivity is set up. It requires careful consideration, planning and administration.


Your feedback

Whether you are an existing Isilon customer who purchasing Azure stack or a new Azure stack customer that needs file storage for your documents, back up vault or running analytics workload with HDFS, you asked us for a simple and scalable storage solution that is easy to manage with Azure stack. We heard you!


Multi-tenancy and Administration complexity

Isilon supports multi-tenancy such that, each Azure stack tenant can access specific sub-folders of Isilon storage under the single namespace. You can set up access-zones, network segmentation with groupnets and subnets, authentication providers (AD/LDAP, etc.) along with quotas and policies for each tenant on Isilon. While it may not be complex to set up, ongoing administration can be non-trivial. For example, when Isilon and Azure stack are managed independently, and when the cloud admin needs to onboard new a tenant or offboard a tenant or one of the tenants need more capacity or change backup configurations, etc. You have to manage this workflow carefully with SLA and must plan for the overhead.


An ideal approach to simplify or reduce this overhead is to give autonomy to cloud admins to manage tenants’ storage. Cloud admins ought to be able to simply manage storage capacity and storage services with respect to their tenants. Furthermore, extend the flexibility to tenants to self-manage their storage space and users within their respective org. Needless to say, this must be done with a consistent Azure user experience.


That is what we have done with our VConnect plug-in for Isilon and Azure Stack.


How does it work?

Once Isilon is setup and multi-tenancy is enabled by Isilon admins, Azure stack admins can deploy our VConnect plug-in for Isilon and enable it through plans and offers for their tenants. Tenants now can subscribe to the storage services under that plan and self-manage storage capacity, users and access.

Azure Stack   Isilon Setup.png

Step by Step Instruction

A detailed step by step guide to setup and use VConnect plug-in for Isilon is described below.


Isilon step 1.png

Isilon Step 2.png

Isilon Step 3.png

Isilon step 4.png

Isilon step 5.png

Isilon step 6.png



Whether you are a service provider or an enterprise customer, you now have the ability to offer Storage-as-a-Service to your customers with enterprise class storage features such as high availability and data protection, security and more with Azure Stack and Isilon.


How to order

This solution is currently available for purchase through our solution partner CloudAssert. You can reach out to your Dell EMC Azure Stack sales specialist to buy this.


For inquiries, questions and comments, please reach out to Dell EMC Azure Stack product manager Karthik Angamuthu at    



View the demo!!

In the meantime, check out this demo below!



Partnering for the Future

Posted by GeorgeOToole Jul 17, 2018

(Authored by Cheryl Caiola)

As we prepare for the many important conversations at the 2018 Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas, there are two important perspectives worthy of reflection.

First, looking back to last year’s Inspire conference, we were excited and eager for the prospective partnerships and customer engagements awaiting the inevitable success of Azure Stack.  Partners were keen to learn more, and wanted to be able to sell and deploy our Azure Stack solution, in any part of the world.  All of the buzz from Airlift 2017 gave way to customer demand and spurred Microsoft’s OEM partners to action.  With its long history of partnering with Microsoft on hybrid cloud, Dell EMC foresaw the demand and had two development teams deployed – one to support the Intel Broadwell processors - to get to market quickly - and the other to support the Intel Skylake processors - to provide customers with the next generation platform.  This gave Dell EMC an exclusive customer investment protection strategy.  Because we all know that the pace of cloud innovation far exceeds that of traditional hardware and software platforms.  There is always room for improvement and innovation. And Dell EMC continue to lead the way. We can do this because of our HCI (hyper-converged infrastructure) leadership, our history with Microsoft, and our learnings from other Dell EMC hybrid cloud platform offerings.  We anticipated the need for a faster, more reliable means of sustaining the Azure Stack environment, and developed an automated hardware patch and update process which dramatically reduces maintenance time and errors.

All of this matters because our highly differentiated experience and innovation improve customer experience and time to value.

(Fast forward to 2018)  Dell EMC are now solidly in-market with our Skylake based systems, and happy customers.  What did we learn in a year?  We learned that selling and delivering this hybrid solution requires careful planning, training and speedy deployment.  We’ve iterated and improved our sales and presales training to help our sellers more effectively assess customer cloud readiness, identify and qualify appropriate use cases and close deals.  Our deployment teams have the expertise, and now more importantly the experience, to deliver a world-class customer experience that accelerates time to value and competitive advantage. 

We also anticipated the need for flexible financing alternatives that allow customers to consume cloud as an operating expense, and have extended the differentiated and highly successful CloudFlex program to our Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack.

So what’s next?  GROWTH! 

Partners are crucial to our customers’ success.  We are ready to extend the learnings of the last year to our partner community, to reach more customers than ever before. We have the program and resources to execute on a global level to get our partners ramped and ready to meet customer demand, in more Azure-available regions than ever. 

We are excited to announce that beginning in early Q3, Dell EMC partners will be able to quote and order directly through the Dell EMC MyQuotes system.  We will also pilot a deployment enablement workshop for qualified partners to take advantage of our learnings and processes, to extend our reach in more regions globally.  We will extend this deployment enablement to our broad partner community in Q418. 

What will this next year bring?  What will we look back on before Inspire 2019?  We anticipate grand mutual success and a thriving Dell EMC partner ecosystem. 

If you are you ready to partner with Dell EMC to provide your customers highly differentiated value, look for us at Booth #623 at Inspire. I can’t wait to meet you!

We’ve been seeing a lot of excitement around our Azure Stack offering since last fall, when we announced that we were shipping our solution based on VxRack AS hyperconverged Infrastructure that’s powered by our PowerEdge 14G Servers.   Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack provides customers a true hybrid cloud model which enables them to:

  • Modernize the Business with Automated IT Service Delivery
  • Innovate with Cloud Native Applications
  • Accelerate Azure Stack Adoption with Confidence

  Organizations can now deliver infrastructure and platform as a service with a consistent Azure experience on-premises and in the public cloud, balancing the right combination of flexibility and control.


While we’re seeing great traction with our customers and partners, this is still a fairly new offering and we’ve heard some particular questions frequently that we’d like to address here.


Can I just buy any server and run Azure Stack software on it?

  1. Microsoft is currently only working with just a handful of select partners, including Dell EMC. There a several good reasons for this.  First, building your own hybrid cloud is fraught with risks and often takes significantly longer than buying an engineered hybrid cloud platform.  Dell EMC’s approach allows our customers to get up and running quickly – significantly faster than a build your own approach.  Additionally, Dell EMC and Microsoft collaborate together to ensure this integrated system performs reliably and provides end-to-end lifecycle management. But the benefits don’t stop there.  With Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack from Dell EMC customers get:
    • A fully engineered hybrid cloud platform designed, integrated, tested and maintained as one, with new features as part of the ongoing release cycle
    • Deployment services and consulting services for optimizing the hybrid cloud platform to meet specific business requirements
    • A common experience for automating delivering of cloud resources within Azure or Azure Stack – on premises or in any one of the 50 datacenter regions offered by Microsoft



Why can’t I just buy each component separately”?


Remember, you are purchasing a solution, not just hardware. The Dell EMC Cloud for Azure Stack is far more than a rack of servers and networking. Yes, it has those components but it has been specifically co-engineered with Microsoft to meet the requirements and expectations of the Azure Stack Software. In addition, the ongoing sustained engineering and testing associated with providing a stable cloud platform going forward in which the system is supported and sustained holistically delivers a far more stable and sustainable cloud platform than a “build your own” configuration.


What are the scale options for Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack?

Scaling will be limited per Microsoft guidelines. Customers will need to plan to scale based on 12x HCI nodes. In the future, dependent upon Microsoft guidelines and timing, customers will eventually be able to purchase in the following scale units.


What are the configurations and why are they limited?

Dell EMC has three standard Azure Stack node configuration options.  In a nutshell, we offer standard configurations because Azure Stack demands node-level homogeneity within the scale unit (cluster) and a networking-level homogeneity within the Azure Stack region.  Here’s why we chose standard configurations:

  • Balanced configurations:  Azure Stack is designed to accommodate a wide variety of workloads, and the scale is impressive – our configurations go from 125 VMs to 1950 VMs.  When dealing with this scale, a statistical regression to the mean inevitably occurs.  That is, over hundreds of “cloud appropriate” workloads, we (and many other vendors) find an optimal balance in 16 GB of memory per physical core.  Capacity storage is more variable, so we scale that up with the configurations, and you’ll find between 2 and 3 TB of tenant-accessible storage per physical core in our hybrid storage configurations.
  • Expandability:  I noted earlier that Azure Stack requires that all the nodes in an Azure Stack scale unit be identical in their componentry.  This means that in order to reasonably guarantee expandability of a given scale unit, the supply of all the componentry needs to be guaranteed in the future.  The Dell EMC Azure Stack systems comply with the Global Standard Platforms program, which assures supply of the processor configurations in the future.  The other componentry within our standardized nodes are also tracked for availability well into the future.  For the customer, this means that when they are ready to expand their Azure Stack investment, they can do so with the assurance that the supply meets their requirements. Competitors will have difficulty meeting expandability requirements in the future.
  • Automation:  Standardization is a necessity for automation, and automation is the key to cloud operations.  Dell EMC’s standardized approach allows us to automate the HCI update process – which is not captured in the Azure Stack patch and update process. The automation is included in the price of our offering.
  • Serviceability:  Imagine if Dell EMC were to offer a range of say, 6 processor configurations, 4 memory configurations, 2 network options, and 3 storage configurations.  That’s 144 different possible node configurations.  It makes problem re-creation very difficult and time consuming.  More importantly, in the event that a customer needs a complete node replacement, we would have to build the node in the factory, and ship it out.  That’s a minimum two week mean time to repair (MTTR), (assuming that the componentry is available).  By contrast, our standardized approach allows us to stock replacement nodes so that once the determination is made that a node replacement is required, the replacement node can be shipped within a business day.


Why is Dell EMC Microsoft Azure Stack solution different from the other vendor offerings?

Dell EMC has a long history of co-engineering cloud offerings with Microsoft for private and hybrid cloud reference architectures, and engineered solutions. The many years of experience in design, test, validation, deployment, operations and patch and update automation provides Dell EMC and our customers a clear advantage versus our competitors:

  • Dell EMC is the industry leader in global server and sales leader for hyperconverged infrastructure (Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, Hyperconverged Segment Dec 21, 2017)
  • Dell EMC is the only vendor who provides a fully engineered hybrid cloud platform designed, integrated, tested and maintained as one
  • Our data protection portfolio is the most efficient backup and recovery technology tailor-made for virtual environments and cloud.
  • CloudLink Secure VM delivers a simple, self-service, policy enforceable VM encryption for Azure and Azure Stack. Encrypted VMs are completely portable and remain secured as they reside in and move between hosts ensuring applications remain secure wherever they’re running. 
  • As a Microsoft CSP Tier 2 partner, Dell EMC can offer a unified billing for Azure and Azure Stack services.

In follow on releases, we will continue to add Dell EMC innovation and Dell technologies to our Azure Stack hybrid cloud platform to future differentiate us from the competition.


Have additional questions? Leave them below and we’ll answer those too!

(originally authored by preetham.m)


Early during our development for the Azure Stack integrated system, we applied some important lessons from CPS and DHCS to how we build and deliver these systems. The learnings were further validated with some of our early Azure Stack TP3 deployments as well. As Dell and EMC came together over the last year, the VCE model not just provided additional feedback, but also gave us some of the factory processes and tools to enable us to deliver to our goals.

When we set out to engineer Azure Stack, one of our primary goals was to get our customers operational in days. This meant we had to ensure there was enough engineering rigor before the system got to the customer. As a result we not only aim to spend the least amount of time on-site (keep deployments predictable and costs low), but also ensure a smooth transition to getting started building plans and onboarding tenants.

To achieve this goal, the process begins in our engineering labs and an investment in standardization and automation. With the latest Software from Microsoft and the HW, Software and Firmware from Dell EMC, we run a suite to cover functional, performance and reliability tests. Any changes to the HW or Software are then cataloged and handed to the factory.

The next phase begins with developing a rigorous factory process. The goal is to ensure that the system not only ships fully integrated, but also has undergone a set of pre-deployment tests to ensure all issues that could be a result of faulty components, firmware levels and configurations are eliminated as early as possible. While engineering tests are done in the engineering labs, these tests are run at the factory on every system prior to ship to the customer. Learning from DHCS pilots and early TP3 deployments has shown us that shipping components directly without factory validation has resulted in faulty components, incorrect firmware levels and triggered support and troubleshooting after the system was setup in the customer premises. This not only proved to be time consuming, but also involved multiple dispatches and troubleshooting steps.

One of the reasons most hybrid cloud deployments fail is because the components (SW and HW) and their dependencies are not fully validated prior. As a result, we do not ship incomplete systems. We would like to avoid turning our customer’s data center into a lab for our support and deployment teams with minimal engineering support. Particularly for our early adopters, this does not help get operational early as the level of changes could potentially run broad (component choices) and deep (firmware levels and configs). For any product in development, things will change. If any component has to be updated on-site, you not only lose time, but you introduce risk late in the process.

Our goal is to keep the engineering and factory rigor while investing in engineering resources to turn around any changes quickly to enable customers to get operational fast.  With the pre-engineering done in our factory and minimal time on-site you are not just an early adopter, you are a successful one. While the first wave of deployments are our early adopters, our goal is to bring this process and rigor to all our customer deployments.

Filter Blog

By date:
By tag: