Azure the Cloud for modern Business
Imagine having at your disposal the capabilities to build applications to meet the exact needs of your business and to develop, implement and scale them at a fraction of the cost compared to that of engaging a software developer. Microsoft Azure provides that power.
Microsoft Azure is a Cloud Services Solution allowing businesses to build, run and manage their applications in the Cloud.
It is a growing collection of integrated Cloud services, analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web. All of which is aimed at helping businesses move faster, achieve more, and save money.
Users can pick and choose from these services to develop and scale new applications, or run existing applications, in the Cloud. Azure supports web and mobile development, offers data storage, virtual networks, analytics, a content delivery network, supports the ‘internet of things’, application development, security and more.
In essence, it is a complete Cloud-based computing solution. This allows businesses to choose the services they need to build the applications to create a competitive advantage whilst only purchasing what they need.
The benefits of Azure to your business is dependent upon the services you buy. However, in general terms, Microsoft Azure offers the following benefits to businesses large and small
Get more done
The integrated tools, prebuilt templates and managed services make it easy to build and manage desktop, mobile, web and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) apps faster, using skills you already have and technologies you already know.
Open and flexible
Azure supports the broadest selection of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices.
Extend your existing IT
Azure easily integrates with your existing IT environment so your assets stay where you need them. Its hybrid Cloud solutions give you the best of both worlds.
Scale as you need, pay as you go
Azure’s pay-as-you-go and per-minute billing services can scale up or down to match demand. So, you only pay for what you use.
Protect your data
The data centres used by Azure meet the most rigorous international standards for security and privacy.
Run your apps anywhere
Azure runs on a worldwide network of Microsoft-managed data centres across 22 regions.
Make smarter decisions
The predictive analytics services offered through Azure are redefining business intelligence, enabling smarter decisions, improved customer service and new business possibilities.
Microsoft Azure offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, similar to other Cloud computing services. The extensive range of services and modules offered enables businesses to take a ‘pick and mix’ approach, paying for only what is needed on a basic monthly basis with no termination fees. Microsoft provides an online pricing calculator to quickly assess the likely monthly cost for any set of modules you need many of which are free.
MIGRATION TO THE CLOUD
Thousands of businesses are migrating their business applications to Azure every day, so it is a common process. However, it can also be a complex one and, if done improperly, can cause business downtime and a great deal of disruption. It therefore pays to engage some expert support to assist.
Microsoft Azure also offers tools to help you plan your migration, but it’s advisable to still use an IT professional with Cloud services experience. For the uninitiated the migration will likely take longer and be fraught with difficulties. Getting your Cloud services right first time is essential to achieve all the business benefits it offers.
5 CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE USING AZURE
- Understand what the business application and resultant benefits will be. Carry out an initial budgetary exercise by scoping out the modules you need, estimate the cost (using the online calculator) and work out a likely return on investment.
- Use the Azure free one-month trial which includes a £125 credit for unlimited access. Implement an initial draft application to establish its feasibility and get to know what’s possible in using Azure.
- Get advice and practical support from your IT provider or Microsoft Certified Partner.
- Cloud-based computing comes with its own set of jargon, and the full Cloud computing solution is a hugely complex product. Be clear on what you need and use your IT provider to translate your needs into the services on offer.
- Planning the whole migration process is key and so it is best to involve your IT provider from the outset as they will have the experience and expertise.