Every cloud in the sky is unique, as is every computing cloud. Microsoft has its own view of what its cloud is all about, what it’s made of, and the tools it provides to help connect Microsoft-powered private clouds with Microsoft Azure public clouds with service clouds (from third parties).
Having multiple options as to where your cloud services reside provides real agility should you need or want it.
But some organizations may not want it. For example, you may require complete control over your data and data compliance -- for example, to satisfy regulations. In those cases, Microsoft's options let you create a private cloud using Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft System Center.
Other organizations may look to Azure for a fully public cloud infrastructure, using virtual machines, where you can quickly add capabilities like those provided by Hadoop.
Whether you take the private cloud or public cloud approach -- or use a combination of the two -- service providers offer the customization you likely want or need. For example, Azure doesn't let you put a specific server in play; if you need that specific level of resource management, you can look to a service provider to get the desired customization without having to install it all on-premises.
The glue for all this is Windows Azure Pack, which plugs into Azure, Windows Server, and System Center so that you can get the right blend of private cloud, public cloud, and third-party services while keeping that consistent Azure experience.
Customers tell Microsoft Windows Azure Pack is "Azure-like," but they really want Azure Pack to be the same as Azure because they need the same APIs for both on-premises servers and the Azure public cloud. Thus, what they write today for on-premises will work in the Azure cloud when the time comes to move it.
That's where Azure Stack comes in. It lets you have a single consistent platform for your developers without any code change between on-premises and cloud.
In addition to providing a single development experience, Microsoft is working to offer a single management environment, in the form of its Operations Management Suite.
As you can see, Microsoft's approach is ultimately to remove the cloud location as a consideration in what you develop and how you manage it. It's an approach that IT should wholeheartedly adopt, regardless of the cloud technology you choose.