Private Cloud Platforms comparison & reviews

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Pros
  • + True Disconnected Offering of Cloud System
  • + IaaS and PaaS Solution
  • + Enterprise Solution
  • + Mature on-prem IaaS solution
  • + High-fidelity implementation of AWS APIs
  • + Proven at scale over years of operation
  • + Strong Storage Capability with Additional Compute and Networking Functionality
  • + Vendor Maturity and Market-share
  • + Simple and Straightforward Editions
Cons
  • - Disconnected Mode Only Billed as Capacity
  • - New to Market
  • - Closed Solution
  • - Recent acquisition concerns
  • - No administrative GUI
  • - Missing features beyond API compatability
  • - Limited Capability
  • - Few Use Cases
  • - Temporary
User Reviews
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  Content  
Content Creator
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Overview
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Azure Stack is Microsofts extension of Azure that provides a way to deliver Azure services in an on-premises environment. (see details)
Integrated software stack with AWS-compatible IaaS services.
The AWS Snowball Edge is a type of Snowball device with on-board storage and compute power for select AWS capabilities. (see details)
  Assessment  
Maturity
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Azure Stack was made publicly available June of 2017 and builds off of Azure which has been available since February of 2010
Based on the Eucalyptus code-base that has been in production for over a decade, powering installations beyond 200K cores in size.
Snowball Edge was announced 2016 and builds on AWS which has been around since 2012
Disconnected Offering
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Azure Stack can be deployed in disconnected mode
Can be deployed in a disconnected environment
Must connect back to AWS platform for full functionality
Infrastructure Services expand
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  Compute  
Virtual servers
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Azure Stack allows for the deployment of virtual servers called virtual machines
Virtual servers are called cloud instances (equivalent to EC2 instances in AWS)
Virtual servers are called EC2 instances
VM Type - General Purpose
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General purpose VMs are Basic A, Standard A, Av2-series, D-series, DS-series, Dv2-series, DSv2-series
Virtual machine hardware can be configured to take full advantage of the underlying hosts hardware. A collection of instance types can be customized in terms of vCPUs, memory, and disk.
The SBE1 EC2 instance is the general purpose offering
VM Type - Compute Optimized
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Computed optimized VMs are F-series, Fs-series, Fsv2-series
Compute-optimized instance types can be customized by modifying the instance type
The SBE-C EC2 instance is the compute optimized offering
VM Type - Memory Optimized
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Memory optimized VMs are D-series, DS-series, Dv2-series, DSv2-series
Memory-optimized instance types can be customized by modifying the instance type
There is no memory optimized offering
VM Type - Accelerated (GPU)
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There are no accelerated VM offerings with a GPU
GPU instance types can be customized through advanced configuration only. No official documentation.
The SBE-G EC2 instance is the accelerated GPU offering
Metadata URL
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While Azure has an Instance Metadata service, this functionality is not currently supported on Azure Stack
Metadata URL, featuring EC2-compatible information and thus compatible with cloud-init, is reachable from instances.
You get access to a subset of metadata typically available to EC2 instances through an internal URL
Rapid Provisioning
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You can easily and quickly deploy virtual machines using the Azure Stack console
System components enable fast provisioning, particularly of EBS-backed instances.
You can specify the job and resources and Amazon will configure the device for you and ship it out to you
Resize existing VM
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This functionality is supported in Azure Stack as well
EBS-backed instances can be resized after stopping by modifying InstanceType attribute via ModifyInstanceAttribute request (in CLI or Console).
Typically resize an instance using CLI modify-instance-attribute on instanceType attribute but Snowball Edge only allows you to modify userdata
Resource Management
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The Azure Resource Manager provides a platform to manage all resources deployed within the Azure Stack
Resources can be managed from either the Console or CLI/API
Resources such as EC2 instances cannot be managed through the console after the device is created and must instead be managed through the CLI/API adding a level of complexity
Scalability
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Azure Stack includes scale sets which allow for automatic scaling of instances based on load
AWS AutoScaling APIs are supported, with performance-based triggers for up- and down-scaling.
A cluster of 5-10 Snowball Edges can be created to offer increased durability and locally scale up or down storage on demand
VM Imaging
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You can create and publish a custom marketplace item
Images (akin to AMIs and AKIs) can be created and shared with other cloud users. Existing instances can be saved into an image.
No mention in the developer guide
VM Import/Export
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You can import and export a disk used by a VM. In addition, you may be able to import/export a VM state but this is not confirmed (see details)
Instances can be imported using raw disk or VHD formats. Exports done manually at hypervisor level. No API support for the operation exists.
No mention in the developer guide
VM live migration
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Azure Stack supports live VM migration as a preventative measure to protect resources from failing hardware
VMs can be live-migrated using CLI / API. In the event of a host failure instances to not automatically restart.
AWS does not support live VM migration and as such we shouldnt expect Snowball Edge to do this
VM to host affinity
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This capability is not supported by Azure Stack
Not supported. Can only be achieved by backend administration using instance migration.
When deploying a cluster, you can select which nodes an instance runs on
VM to host anti-affinity
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Azure Stack provides Availability Sets which replicate the VM across different hosts for high availability thus enforcing host anti-affinity
Not supported. Can only be achieved by backend administration using instance migration.
When deploying a cluster, you can select which nodes an instance runs on thus also choosing which nodes it does not run on
  Networking  
Cloud virtual networking
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The Network Resource Provider delivers a series of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) features
Overlays a virtual network on top of your existing network. Supports EDGE (EC2 Classic) and VPCMIDO (AWS VPC) modes.
The EC2 instances can have virtual network interfaces attached to them which allows them to communicate with each other and outside devices
Cross-premises connectivity
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Cross-premises connectivity can be established in Azure Stacks which are deployed in the connected mode
Support for AWS VPN Gateway is available but only when using VPCMIDO network mode.
The Snowball Edge connects into the datacenter and allows for transfer of data between the datacenter and AWS albeit in a slow snail-mail fashion
DNS hostname resolution
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Azure Stack supports DNS hostname resolution
DNS names for VM instances is supported automatically
No mention in the developer guide
DNS zone management
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Azure Stack supports the creation and management of DNS zones and records using both the console and the API
No mention in the documentation
No mention in the developer guide
IP reassignment
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You can reassign an IP by modifying the virtual network interface or by deleting it and creating a new one (Experience)
Elastic IP and Elastic Network Interface functionality enables flexible IP address assignment.
You can delete the virtual network interface attached to an EC2 instance and then create a new virtual network interface for that EC2 instance with a new static IP address
Load balancing
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The Azure Stack provides load balancing functionality
Elastic Load Balancer is an included service.
No mention in the developer guide
Network Interfaces
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You can create and modify network interfaces attached to virtual machines (Experience)
Elastic Network Interface functionality allows attaching and detaching of virtual NICs to instances
The device has a set of external network interfaces for connectivity into the customer datacenter (see details)
Outbound Network Connectivity
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The Azure Stack is integrated into the customers datacenter and has outbound network connectivity to the customers border
Can be configured to connect to external networks with both EDGE (EC2 Classic) and VPCMIDO (Amazon VPC) networking modes.
The device has a set of external network interfaces for connectivity into the customer datacenter (see details)
Public IP Address
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Azure Stack supports IPv4 public addresses
Public IP addresses can be assigned to instances either automatically or from a pool of Elastic IP addresses.
Can attach a virtual network interface to your EC2 instance and specify a public IP address for use
SR-IOV support
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No mention of this capability for Azure Stack
Can be customized to use SR-IOV for instance networking by advanced configuration only. No official documentation.
No mention in the developer guide
VM Security Groups
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VM Security groups are provided as network security groups
Instances can be added to a security group which has a specific network security policy applied to it.
Security groups exist and can be configured for EC2 instances similar to the way they work in AWS with limitations
Virtual Network Peering
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Not supported as of 20190124
Ability to create a peering connection between two VPCs is supported.
Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) are not supported in Snowball Edge and thus you cannot make virtual networks to peer
  Storage  
Object storage
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Azure Stack provides blob storage for object storage
Supports S3-compatible object storage using its Object Storage Gateway (OSG)
The Snowball Edge supports S3 (object storage) as its primary purpose is downloading customer data from a remote datacenter which can then later be transferred to S3 in AWS
Block storage
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Azure Stack supports page blobs which are the equivalent of block storage
Elastic Block Storage (EBS) provides block-level storage volumes that you can attach to instances.
Block storage must exist as the Snowball Edge is capable of hosting EC2 instances but end-users have no access to block storage and cannot attach volumes themselves to EC2 instances
Shared file storage
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Azure Stack does not provide a SMB or NFS solution
Shared file storage is not supported.
Once connected to the datacenter, the S3 Adapter for Snowball or NFS mount point can be used to upload data from the datacenter into the Snowball Edge
Backup
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Microsoft Azure Backup Server can be used to back up data within Azure Stack (see details)
Procedures for backing up and restoring everything except root disks of instance-store (ephemeral) instances are documented.
By its nature, the device offers data backup for data stored within a datacenter albeit in a slower process
Local Data Protection
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Local data is encrypted and replicated across nodes in case of hardware failure
Relies on replication features of underlying software and hardware (RAID and Ceph) for local data protection from hardware failures.
The Snowball Edge employs defense-in-depth for data protection including a ruggedized tamper-reistant enclosure, 256-bit encrpytion, and a TPM
Remote Replication
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The only replication option available is locally redundant storage
No special functionality for automatic remote replication are provided, but backup process can include transfer of backed up data offsite for disaster recovery.
By its nature, the device offers remote replication for data stored within a datacenter albeit in a slower process
Snapshots
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Snapshots are supported for blobs (limited to 1000 per blob) but not for page blobs
EBS snapshots are supported in both Web console and via CLI/API.
No mention in the developer guide
Storage Architecture
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Azure Stack provides for either a hybrid or all-flash storage architechture
Deployed as customer configurable two-level storage system. Support for HCI not documented.
Each Snowball Edge node provides betwee 42TB and 80TB (see details)
Storage QoS
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Azure Stack supports standard and premium storage
Supports only a single storage class for both block and object storage.
No mention in the developer guide
Storage Scalability
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Azure Stack operators can increase the overall capacity of an existing scale unit by adding additional scale unit nodes
The Storage Controller (SC) and Object Storage Gateway (OSG) are molular and enable storage capacity to be dynamically allocated independent of the system.
Multiple Snowball Edges can be clustered to increase data durability as well as locally grow and shrink storage on demand
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  Compute  
Kubernetes Orchestration
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Azure Stack has a preview capability to deploy a Kubernetes cluster but it is not supported in the disconnected scenario
No support for Kubernetes orchestration is available.
No mention in the developer guide
Serverless
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App Service (available in PaaS offering) provides Azure Functions which executes event-driven serverless workloads
No support for a serverless runtime is available.
The Snowball Edge offers access to AWS Lambda which can execute serverless functions based on S3 storage actions made on the device
  Data  
Relational database
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Relational databases are supported through the use of optional resource providers SQL Server and MySQL Server
No support for DBaaS is available.
No mention in the developer guide
NoSQL—key/value storage
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Table storage is Microsofts NoSQL key/attribute store
No support for a NoSQL database is available.
No mention in the developer guide
Caching
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No mention of Azure Cache for Redis being available but can use Redis marketplace item
No support for an in-memory cache service is available.
No mention in the developer guide
  Developer Tools  
Message Queuing
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