Azure Stack Hub extends the capabilities of Azure to on-premises and edge locations, enabling you to deploy, manage, and operate a subset of Azure services from your own datacenter or remote locations. The local control plane and Azure consistent developer experience provided by Azure Stack Hub can be used to address challenging technical or regulatory requirements, such as low latency, data sovereignty and security or compliance requirements. For more information, please see Why use Azure Stack Hub?
The Azure Well-Architected Framework (WAF) provides prescriptive guidance and recommendations for architects to use when creating or reviewing cloud solutions. The WAF guidance is organized into five pillars, Reliability, Security, Cost Optimization, Operational Excellence, and Performance Efficiency. Incorporating the recommendations into workload designs helps to ensure reliable, scalable, and performant architecture patterns are implemented for cloud solutions.
Today we are announcing two pillars of the Well-Architected Framework are available in Preview for Azure Stack Hub on the Microsoft Assessment Platform. These are the Reliability and Operational Excellence pillars. If you are using Azure Stack Hub to deploy and operate workloads for key business systems, it is now possible to answers questions for these pillars within the assessments platform. After completing the assessments, you will be provided with a maturity or risk score, together with prescriptive guidance and knowledge links that suggest possible improvements you could make to your architecture design and score.
The Reliability pillar of the WAF for Azure Stack Hub focuses on User workload solutions that have been deployed on an Azure Stack Hub scale unit, with questions probing architecture design areas such as high availability, disaster recovery, app and data resiliency capabilities, error handling, performance, and monitoring.
When designing applications using the guidance in the Well-Architected Framework Reliability pillar, the objective is not to avoid any and all failures – it is to respond to failure in a way that avoids downtime and data loss. This is achieved by increasing the resiliency of your applications using patterns that include data replication and application failover capabilities. These design principles are used to provide high availability and increase system uptime, which is a key success-criteria for business-critical systems.
The questions in the Excellence pillar for Azure Stack Hub, focus on the Cloud Operator Persona. As a Cloud Operator, you use the administrator portal and PowerShell for day-to-day management and operations of Azure Stack Hub, such as populating the Marketplace, defining quotas, plans and offers, monitoring infrastructure health, and applying platform updates.
The questions in the Operational Excellence review focus on identifying what processes and procedures Cloud Operators are using to effectively manage and operate the Azure Stack Hub scale unit. Question topics include, identity and access management, network integration, monitoring, and alerting, offering services, capacity management, updates, business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) and effective support and administration.
Cloud Operators can use the Azure Well-Architected Review to complete a set of easy-to-follow questions in order to obtain their maturity score, together with a list of curated / individual recommendations and guidance for how they can improve the processes and procedures they use for operating and managing Azure Stack Hub. An example of the assessment in action is shown below:
We are working to bring the three remaining pillars of the Azure Well-Architected Framework (WAF) to the Assessments Platform for Azure Stack Hub in the coming months. If you have any feedback or comments in relation to the Azure Stack Hub WAF Assessments, please send an email to AzS-WAF-Feedback@microsoft.com.
Neil Bird is a Senior Program Manager in the Azure Edge & Platform Engineering team at Microsoft. His background is in Azure and Hybrid Cloud infrastructure, operational excellence, and automation. He is passionate about helping customers deploy and manage cloud solutions effectively using Azure and Azure Edge technologies.