If Microsoft was serious before about becoming a private- and hybrid-cloud player, it’s twice as serious now. The newly unveiled Azure Stack provides enterprises with the ability to create private clouds with the same bits Microsoft uses to build Azure itself.

But architecture alone doesn’t make a cloud useful, and a private cloud isn’t an end in itself. It’s simply a way to get work done. To that end, Microsoft wants Azure Stack to do more than fill a niche labeled “Private Cloud” and provide a way for enterprises to get real work done — and that means deploying and managing apps, not only VMs.

A new containment strategy

In fact, most of Microsoft’s pitch for Azure Stack has been about apps — and, by that token, apps in containers, rather than VMs.

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