This post was written by Anne Shields and originally published on Market Realist.

Earlier in this series, we discussed the domination of the hybrid cloud in the IT space. To leverage the benefit of the increased adoption of the hybrid cloud, Microsoft (MSFT) plans to launch Azure Stack, its private/hybrid cloud offering, later this year.

In early March 2017, Microsoft released the third technical preview of its Azure Stack. Several new features related to infrastructure, security, and connectivity were added to this final release. The Azure Stack Technical Preview 3 is now available for download.

According to a Microsoft blog citing Gartner, “Hybrid will be the most common usage of the cloud — but this will require public cloud to be part of the overall strategy.” Keeping this trend in mind, Microsoft aims to renew the Azure public cloud experience behind the firewall by utilizing the Azure Stack cloud platform.

Microsoft targets the hybrid cloud with Azure Stack

An add-on of Microsoft Azure, Azure Stack is a hybrid cloud offering that allows customers to run Azure cloud in on-premise environments with pay-per-usage pricing. There are no direct licensing fees for using Azure services in Microsoft’s Azure Stack, and customers only need to pay for the services they use. Azure Stack would enable enterprises to create a hybrid or private cloud using their own infrastructure.

Earlier in this series, we discussed the factors that have helped the hybrid cloud gain adoption and prominence. Azure Stack could enable these enterprises retain the majority of their existing infrastructure.

Azure Stack services are transacted and metered in the same way as in Azure. However, as customers would operate their own hardware and facilities in Azure Stack, its prices are likely to be lower.

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