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Pros
  • + Strong Storage Capability with Additional Compute and Networking Functionality
  • + Vendor Maturity and Market-share
  • + Simple and Straightforward Editions
  • + True Disconnected Offering of Cloud System
  • + IaaS and PaaS Solution
  • + Enterprise Solution
  • + Full-Fledged IaaS
  • + Mature Vendor
  • + Enterprise Solution
Cons
  • - Limited Capability
  • - Few Use Cases
  • - Temporary
  • - Disconnected Mode Only Billed as Capacity
  • - New to Market
  • - Closed Solution
  • - Complex
  • - Little PaaS Capability
  • - Heavily Dependent on Underlying Hardwrae
User Reviews
Details (by section) Expand All Data
General
60%
86%
58%
Content
Content Creator
Luciano Taranto
Luciano Taranto
Luciano Taranto
Overview
The AWS Snowball Edge is a type of Snowball device with on-board storage and compute power for select AWS capabilities. (see details)
Azure Stack is Microsofts extension of Azure that provides a way to deliver Azure services in an on-premises environment. (see details)
VMWare Cloud Foundation is an integrated software stack which bundles VMWare components (see details)
Assessment
Maturity
Snowball Edge was announced 2016 and builds on AWS which has been around since 2012
Azure Stack was made publicly available June of 2017 and builds off of Azure which has been available since February of 2010
VMWare is a strong contender in the marketplace and VCF is comprised of components that have been tried and tested in the datacenter
Disconnected Offering
Must connect back to AWS platform for full functionality
Azure Stack can be deployed in disconnected mode
VMWare Cloud Foundation can be deployed on premises as a stack for a private cloud
Infrastructure Services
60%
86%
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Compute
Virtual servers
Virtual servers are called EC2 instances
Azure Stack allows for the deployment of virtual servers called virtual machines
VMWare Cloud Foundation bundles vSphere which includes the ESXi virtualization platform for creating and running virtual machines and virtual appliances
VM Type - General Purpose
The SBE1 EC2 instance is the general purpose offering
General purpose VMs are Basic A, Standard A, Av2-series, D-series, DS-series, Dv2-series, DSv2-series
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts hardware
VM Type - Compute Optimized
The SBE-C EC2 instance is the compute optimized offering
Computed optimized VMs are F-series, Fs-series, Fsv2-series
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts hardware. For compute optimized instances, you would increase the CPU resources
VM Type - Memory Optimized
There is no memory optimized offering
Memory optimized VMs are D-series, DS-series, Dv2-series, DSv2-series
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts hardware. For memory optimized instances, you would increase the memory resources
VM Type - Accelerated (GPU)
The SBE-G EC2 instance is the accelerated GPU offering
There are no accelerated VM offerings with a GPU
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts GPU hardware
Metadata URL
You get access to a subset of metadata typically available to EC2 instances through an internal URL
While Azure has an Instance Metadata service, this functionality is not currently supported on Azure Stack
There is no built-in way to access this functionality. (see details)
Rapid Provisioning
You can specify the job and resources and Amazon will configure the device for you and ship it out to you
You can easily and quickly deploy virtual machines using the Azure Stack console
You can easily deploy VMs using a wizard, template, or cloning another VM
Resize existing VM
Typically resize an instance using CLI modify-instance-attribute on instanceType attribute but Snowball Edge only allows you to modify userdata
This functionality is supported in Azure Stack as well
You can easily resize an existing VM by changing its virtual hardware after creation such as CPU and memory
Resource Management
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
The Azure Resource Manager provides a platform to manage all resources deployed within the Azure Stack
Resources can be managed from either the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client
Scalability
A cluster of 5-10 Snowball Edges can be created to offer increased durability and locally scale up or down storage on demand
Azure Stack operators can increase the overall capacity of an existing scale unit by adding additional scale unit nodes
There is no vSphere functionality to easily scale up or down VMs from the console
VM Imaging
No mention in the developer guide
You can create and publish a custom marketplace item
You can clone a virtual machine to a template which can then be used to deploy other virtual machines later
VM Import/Export
No mention in the developer guide
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)
You can import and export virtual machines in the OVF and OVA formats
VM live migration
AWS does not support live VM migration and as such we shouldnt expect Snowball Edge to do this
Azure Stack supports live VM migration as a preventative measure to protect resources from failing hardware
You can perform a live migration of a virtual machine without affecting availability, called a hot migration, using vMotion
VM to host affinity
When deploying a cluster, you can select which nodes an instance runs on
This capability is not supported by Azure Stack
You can create VM to host affinity rules within a DRS cluster
VM to host anti-affinity
When deploying a cluster, you can select which nodes an instance runs on thus also choosing which nodes it does not run on
Azure Stack provides Availability Sets which replicate the VM across different hosts for high availability thus enforcing host anti-affinity
You can create VM to host anti-affinity rules within a DRS cluster
Networking
Cloud virtual networking
The EC2 instances can have virtual network interfaces attached to them which allows them to communicate with each other and outside devices
The Network Resource Provider delivers a series of Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) features
VMWare Cloud Foundation bundles NSX Data Center for vSphere which provides a platform programmatically managing software-defined virtual networks
Cross-premises connectivity
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
Cross-premises connectivity can be established in Azure Stacks which are deployed in the connected mode
The VCF platform is integrated into the customer datacenter and provides cross-premises connectivity to other customer networks
DNS hostname resolution
No mention in the developer guide
Azure Stack supports DNS hostname resolution
You can install NSX Edge as an Edge Services Gateway (ESG) between networks which will then allow you to configure external DNS servers. (see details)
DNS zone management
No mention in the developer guide
Azure Stack supports the creation and management of DNS zones and records using both the console and the API
No mention in documentation. Functionality would need to be built up by the end-user and then VMWare components can take advantage of it
IP reassignment
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
You can reassign an IP by modifying the virtual network interface or by deleting it and creating a new one (Experience)
You can statically set an VMs IP address from vSphere as well as specify a network protocol which is a pool of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses that vCenter will assign to virtual machines
Load balancing
No mention in the developer guide
The Azure Stack provides load balancing functionality
You can install NSX Edge as an Edge Services Gateway (ESG) and take advantage of the logical load balancer
Network Interfaces
The device has a set of external network interfaces for connectivity into the customer datacenter (see details)
You can create and modify network interfaces attached to virtual machines (Experience)
Virtual machines can have a variety of different network adapters added and configured
Outbound Network Connectivity
The device has a set of external network interfaces for connectivity into the customer datacenter (see details)
The Azure Stack is integrated into the customers datacenter and has outbound network connectivity to the customers border
You can connect virtual machines to the physical network
Public IP Address
Can attach a virtual network interface to your EC2 instance and specify a public IP address for use
Azure Stack supports IPv4 public addresses
You can connect virtual machines to the physical network
SR-IOV support
No mention in the developer guide
No mention of this capability for Azure Stack
There is a specific network adapter type (SR-IOV passthrough) designed to enable and support SR-IOV networking
VM Security Groups
Security groups exist and can be configured for EC2 instances similar to the way they work in AWS with limitations
VM Security groups are provided as network security groups
Virtual Machines can be added to a security group which has a specific network security policy applied to it
Virtual Network Peering
Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) are not supported in Snowball Edge and thus you cannot make virtual networks to peer
Not supported as of 20190124
You can set up cross-vCenter deployments as well as implement VPNs to access corporate and other cloud networks securely
Storage
Object storage
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
Azure Stack provides blob storage for object storage
No mention in the documentation
Block storage
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
Azure Stack supports page blobs which are the equivalent of block storage
vSphere provides a variety of different storage options and functionalities
Shared file storage
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
Azure Stack does not provide a SMB or NFS solution
VMWare provides NFS but not SMB storage solutions
Backup
By its nature, the device offers data backup for data stored within a datacenter albeit in a slower process
Microsoft Azure Backup Server can be used to back up data within Azure Stack (see details)
VCF provides backup and restore capability of components
Local Data Protection
The Snowball Edge employs defense-in-depth for data protection including a ruggedized tamper-reistant enclosure, 256-bit encrpytion, and a TPM
Local data is encrypted and replicated across nodes in case of hardware failure
Virtual Volumes support replication capabilities for disaster recovery
Remote Replication
By its nature, the device offers remote replication for data stored within a datacenter albeit in a slower process
The only replication option available is locally redundant storage
Virtual Volumes support replication capabilities for disaster recovery
Snapshots
No mention in the developer guide
Snapshots are supported for blobs (limited to 1000 per blob) but not for page blobs
Virtual volumes provide snapshot capability to preserve the state and data of a virtual machine at a given point in time
Storage Architecture
Each Snowball Edge node provides betwee 42TB and 80TB (see details)
Azure Stack provides for either a hybrid or all-flash storage architechture
VMWare provides for a very flexible storage architechture
Storage QoS
No mention in the developer guide
Azure Stack supports standard and premium storage
You can configure the vSAN cluster (shared storage pool) to be either hybrid or all-flash (see details)
Storage Scalability
Multiple Snowball Edges can be clustered to increase data durability as well as locally grow and shrink storage on demand
Azure Stack operators can increase the overall capacity of an existing scale unit by adding additional scale unit nodes
You can expand an existing vSAN cluster by adding hosts or devices to existing hosts without disrupting ongoing operations
Platform Services
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Compute
Kubernetes Orchestration
No mention in the developer guide
Azure Stack has a preview capability to deploy a Kubernetes cluster but it is not supported in the disconnected scenario
VMWare Pivotal Container Service (PKS) provides an enterprise-grade Kubernetes solution which can be deployed on VMWare Cloud Foundation
Serverless
The Snowball Edge offers access to AWS Lambda which can execute serverless functions based on S3 storage actions made on the device
App Service (available in PaaS offering) provides Azure Functions which executes event-driven serverless workloads
This functionality is not offered by VCF but can be supported on top of VCF
Data
Relational database
No mention in the developer guide
Relational databases are supported through the use of optional resource providers SQL Server and MySQL Server
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
NoSQL—key/value storage
No mention in the developer guide
Table storage is Microsofts NoSQL key/attribute store
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Caching
No mention in the developer guide
No mention of Azure Cache for Redis being available but can use Redis marketplace item
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Developer Tools
Message Queuing
No mention in the developer guide
Queue storage provides the capability for message queuing
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Pub/Sub Messaging
No mention in the developer guide
Azure Stack does not currently support either Service Bus nor Event Grid which provide the pub/sub messaging capability in Azure
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Web Applications
Can build EC2 instances which can host web applications
App Service is available on Azure Stack (additional PaaS offering) which provides web apps
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Analytics and IoT
Internet of Things
The Snowball Edge incorporates AWS IoT Greengrass to power Lambda for edge computing needs
Not much documentation out there but there appears to be a private preview for IoT Hub on Azure Stack which is fairly recent
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Edge compute for IoT
The Snowball Edge incorporates AWS IoT Greengrass to power Lambda for edge computing needs
No solid documentation of this as a full capability but Azure Stack does support Azure Functions which is used for IoT Edge (see details)
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Streaming data
No mention in the developer guide
Event Hubs was announced at Ignite 2018 as on the roadmap for Azure Stack but as of yet it is not available
Customer needs to build this functionality on top of the infrastructure
Management Tools
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Interface
Console
The Snowball Edge provides a management console for job management
Azure Stack offers both an administration portal as well as a user (tenant) portal
In addition to console functionality such as vSphere, VCF includes SDDC Manager which provides a centralized user interface for configuration, provisioning, and lifecycle management of the stack
API
Snowball Edge supports a limited API for both S3 and EC2 (see details)
Azure Stack offers a REST API as well as programmatic access through PowerShell/CLI
The bundled components of VCF (vSphere, VSAN, and NSX) all provide API interfaces
Auditing
Health / Performance / System Monitoring
Limited monitoring of job statuses
Azure Stack offers monitoring services for compute including but not limited to host/guest metrics, performance counters, application, logs in addition to other sources
vSphere provides a suite of health and performance monitoring tools for the infrastructure
Event Logging
CloudTrail can log calls made to the Snowball Edge API but internal actions such as those against EC2 instances are not logged
Logs are collected both within the Azure Stack as well as by the infrastructure components themselves
VCF bundles vRealize Log Insight which covers infrastructure logs
Analytics
No mention in the developer guide
VCF bundles vRealize Log Insight which aggregates infrastructure and application logs in order to provide actional dashboards and sophisticated analysis
Automation
Automated Tasks
The built-in Lambda capability can be used to execute automated tasks in response to S3 actions taken against the Snowball Edge
Azure Functions provides an event-drive programming model which allows for the automated execution of tasks in response to events