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Why all this fuss about Azure?

If we look back a few years when Office 365 was fairly new, many people compared Office 365 to their own Exchange and file server. Back then, many people thought it was more convenient to work with G: and H: and to have control over backups and other things. Today, that has instead changed in line with the modern workplace. The important thing is to have a flexible way of working where users can work online, simultaneously and with the ability to share documents, chat, voice and images to work effectively together.

The same misconception exists today around Azure, where we are often asked "what is the price of running the server in Azure instead?". Azure is not about doing the same thing as before, it is about two things, managing your infrastructure differently, but more importantly managing your data differently.

If we start with the infrastructure part, there is the possibility to scale up and down whenever you want. Many businesses say they don't have that need, but that's usually because they haven't benefited in the past from having their servers running the same 24 hours a day, every day of the year. At AddPro, we recommend that organisations scale up and down all the time as their needs change. This way, your business stays competitive and both saves money and gets more performance just when you need it.

Why should all RDS or Citrix servers always be running?

Normally the servers are used a lot between 7am and 6pm on weekdays, i.e. paying for 11 hours a day instead of 24 hours a day. The same goes for web servers, batch servers and so on. We can measure load and start the servers when needed, or we can publish "a button" on the intranet where the user clicks if they are going to work evening or weekend.

Why have a large SQL server running 24×7 to run reports and analysis a few times a month or weekly? Or why should employees sit and wait because the server is too small just at month end? With SQL as a service in Azure, we can scale up and get 32-400-800 times more performance just when we need it, and then scale down again (depending on the size of the database). We can also do it almost instantaneously with no downtime. A perfect cloud service!

This means that a direct price comparison between a virtual server on-premises or at a partner's site compared to Azure is not interesting to make, one should not move "1-to-1" to Azure, but rebuild one's infrastructure. But this is not the most interesting thing about Azure, it is the 80% of services that are not about classical infrastructure (server, storage, backup, network...).

Some of these services provide you with a kind of "server", but more and more services are completely server-less and you just use the service without worrying about any infrastructure. Run your scripts and analyse your data without worrying about any server, redundancy or capacity.

Some of the most exciting services are for big data management, analytics and machine learning that are simply too hard or expensive to build infrastructure for locally. That is, Azure makes it possible to manage your data in ways that are not possible locally, or have not been available to you before. For example, look at the services LogicApps and Machine Learning Studio.

Are you thinking about exploiting the potential of the data you already have? Don't hesitate to contact us and our enthusiasts - we'd love to help!