Every business is in search of ways to become more efficient, and technology is often central to achieving this goal.
This is especially prevalent now, as businesses look to better enable their people, support greater productivity and improve both operational and financial efficiency.
The adoption of cloud services is just one area where businesses are looking to make these gains, with scalable, consumption-based IT models capable of delivering the flexibility, accessibility and predictability of cost that goes hand in hand with more efficient IT management.
Launched over 10 years ago, Microsoft Azure is one of the world’s most popular cloud platforms, and there has been a significant increase in uptake in recent months. It was reported in May this year that Microsoft’s Azure revenue had grown by 50% from the previous quarter, an extraordinary jump that only serves to highlight the growing demand for cloud services.
With this in mind, it’s worth considering just why businesses are looking to adopt cloud services, and perhaps more importantly, why Azure is proving such a popular choice. That’s why we’ve identified 5 great features available with Microsoft Azure.
Whether your applications and infrastructure are on-prem or in the cloud, it’s crucial that you have capacity to grow when you need to. In the on-premises world this might include long-term capacity planning and the contingency of standby hardware ready for this eventuality. It’s different in the cloud.
Microsoft Azure makes capacity planning easy. For starters, all Azure services are delivered on a consumption-basis – this basically means pay-as-you-go. So, you only pay for what you use. Additionally, you can scale out the things you need – whether that’s more horsepower, greater storage, or more virtual machines as and when required, with no need to pre-book or pre-allocate ahead of time. The result is that you can focus on what you need today safe in the knowledge that you can scale out your capacity whenever you need to.
Crucially, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach with Azure. New infrastructure can be deployed as needed in multiple variations designed to support specific workloads. Once available, workloads can then be monitored overtime to assess performance and make changes required.
Long-term capacity management can be simplified even further with the capability to create specific schedule-based rules that automatically increase or decrease what you are consuming based on past trends, whether that be demands for time of day, weekends, or seasonal activity.
Microsoft Azure is inherently secure, with enterprise-level features included at every step. Supported by over 3,500 security experts, there is an array of built-in services available to deliver security across data, hosts, and network.
These tools see that you can unify security management and enable advanced threat protection across both hybrid and cloud environments, as well as other areas of your organisation.
There’s also extended security to protect development environments, and the flexibility to manage cloud security posture across Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud with Azure Defender.
Azure Secure Score is also available to provide a numeric view of your security posture, to help you assess real-time risk and identify and potential fallibilities.
To realise the full value of the data and applications your business holds in the cloud, they must be highly available.
Microsoft Azure delivers on this front, with an approach built around a desire to not just prevent failures but minimise the effects to keep the system operational.
Any data stored within your chosen Azure region is replicated three times by default. Should any of these versions become inaccessible or unavailable, you will automatically be able to access one of the other copies to ensure availability.
You can also choose specific VMs to be stored across multiple physical racks within the data centre with specified Azure Availability Sets, avoid the impact of data centre failures by isolating VMs in Azure Availability Zones, or shift your entire environment to a different region with Azure Site recovery.
With your business producing more data than ever before, it’s never been more important to ensure that this data is backed up appropriately and is ready for you to recover should the worst happen.
This can include everything from minor incidents such as accidental deletion of files, to more critical issues such as the inaccessibility or corruption of larger areas of your cloud environment.
Microsoft Azure includes end-to-end backup and recovery as standard, allowing you to quickly and easily recover any data lost through deletion or service disruption. Any deletions are automatically classified as soft deletions and made available for a 14-day period so that these can be recovered quickly once identified.
Azure also allows integration with existing business continuity or disaster recovery platforms, whether that be your own on-premises environment, or specific backup solutions for services like Office 365 and Microsoft 365 from providers such as AvePoint.
Last but not least, the intuitive Azure Portal allows you to easily and effectively manage your environment from a single application.
Delivered via web browser you can build, manage, monitor and deploy every element of your environment from one place.
By pinning the metrics that matter most to your business you can create a personalised management dashboard that helps you review and manage the performance of your workloads without signing into multiple portals. It means your IT team spend less time on admin and more time innovating.
The five features outlined above are just a glimpse into the amazing functionality available with Microsoft Azure. However, getting the most out of the environment can only be achieved when the right foundations are in place. Crucially, this means right-sizing and optimising your Azure infrastructure so it continues to deliver for your business.
Whether you’re planning your migration, or you’ve already undertaken a simple lift and shift of your on-prem estate, download our short cloud guide – Cracking the cloud conundrum – to discover how we can help you rationalise your existing infrastructure and create an optimised environment with Microsoft Azure.