July 22, 2019

Microsoft Azure - what can it do for you?

By Bryan Parsons

Did you know that more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies run on the Microsoft Cloud? <Source: Microsoft Azure Portal July 2019>

They do this for a number of reasons:

  • Scale - the platform is massive with global reach
  • Trust - built and run by Microsoft and fully compliant
  • Flexibility - pay for what you need only when you need it
  • Cost - no Capex costs, no hardware maintenance, no data centre costs
  • Time - Running your own time and effort, why bother?
But first...

What is Azure?

Azure gives you the freedom to build, manage, and deploy applications on a massive global network.

It's a reliable, redundant, energy-efficient infrastructure that spans more than 100 highly secure facilities worldwide, linked by one of the largest networks on earth!

It gives businesses a global reach with local presence, on a scale that they couldn't hope to achieve alone. 

Azure locations

It boils down to thousands of computers, in a secure environment, spread across the world, which you can use on a pay as you go basis - allowing your business to leverage technology in the way you need to, where you need to, and when you need to.

That's the power of cloud computing.

What is cloud computing?

It's simply computers that are not in your office. Normally you'll find them in a data centre. There are two types of cloud, the private cloud and the public cloud.

  1. Private Cloud: this is typically used by larger organisations - they buy the hardware, maintain it, and run whatever they want on it. It's just for their use.
  2. Public Cloud: this is for use by anyone - someone else takes responsibility for the hardware and keeping it running, you just rent some space on it. SpiderGroup's multi-tenant platform and Microsoft's Azure platform are both examples of a public cloud.

Take a look at what it looks like...

The public cloud is typically available on a Pay-as-you-go basis, giving you total flexibility in how you use it, how much you pay, and no long term commitments.

The cloud provider takes care of maintaining the underlying infrastructure for you. You don't have to worry about costly hardware purchases, having to secure it, maintain it or employing the staff for those tasks.

When you're done using the computer power, you just give it back. You stop paying instantly. You can scale on a daily or even minute-by-minute basis depending on demand from your customers or team.

It's not practical for many business to be on the cutting edge all the time, and if you run your own hardware you can end up three to five years behind the curve while you wait for your current assets to depreciate. The public cloud offers cutting edge solutions to your users, without the need of a large investment from you. You can dabble in AI, VR, and bots without any up front costs or long term commitments.

Why should I use the cloud?

1. It allows your business to move faster and innovate in ways that were once nearly impossible. The sheer scale of Azure and the flexibility of the workloads you can run were unimaginable only 5-7 years ago. Whatever the size of your business, you have all this at your fingertips, isn't it time you started offering your customers intelligent solutions like bots, remote monitoring, or dashboards? You can be sure if you aren't thinking about it, your competitors are!

2. You can have much faster release cycles, traditionally you'd buy the hardware and then be committed to it for 3-5 years. That's not the case with Azure, you can develop and release new features quickly, staying in the lead and scaling your platform to suit.

3. Growing storage requirements are a problem most businesses face today, most businesses are dealing with more data and larger file sizes than ever before. The cloud gives you limitless space to store all your files.

4. A nearly limitless pool of raw computer, storage, and networking components. You don't have to worry about the platform or hardware holding you back, your business goals and dreams can run wild! It's low risk too - if your latest crazy idea doesn't work out, you can quickly change tack and you haven't committed any long term capital.

5. Keeping your data safe is more challenging than ever. Most data centres have layers of physical security. Microsoft ensures compliance with local legislation such as GDPR, and you can specify in what region you want your data to stay.

What can I do on Azure?

It’s easier to say what you can’t do, to be honest! There are a couple of instances where Azure might not be the right fit for you, but beyond those, the sky's the limit. 

If your business has software or platform requirements that are very specific, like specialised hardware components for example, then Azure isn't a good fit as you don't control the hardware.

If your organisation has very strict security or compliance requirements, such as not allowing data to be stored in the public cloud, Azure isn't for you.

But anything and everything else is a good fit for Azure.

You can run most workloads in Azure, be it a website, a remote desktop farm, data storage and analytics or artificial intelligence. The below picture illustrates many of the Azure services.

Azure services

If you're not sure where to start or how to get your existing data and applications into the cloud, please reach out - we can offer you guidance and help your business get connected and reach its potential.

Where do SpiderGroup come in?

Our engineers specialise in cloud services, we're a Microsoft Gold partner in 'Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions', 'Cloud Platform' and 'Cloud Productivity'. Most of our engineers are Microsoft certified and use Azure on a daily basis.

  • Shared resources - we run multi-tenant platforms in Azure, this can help reduce the costs further as you can share some of the costs with other businesses, such as remote desktop farm infrastructure.
  • Dedicated environment - we can scope, cost, build, support and develop your business' dedicated infrastructure in Azure.
  • Support and consultation - if you just need some help, we can point you in the right direction, solve a specific problem for you, or just give you some peace of mind.
  • Integration - not sure how to get Azure working with your existing on-premise infrastructure, how to get secure site-to-site connections, or integrate your Active Directory and File services? We can help here too.


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