If you want to learn one big idea in IT for 2018, this is that idea. And it’s BIG. Close your door. Mute your phone. Set Skype to Do-Not-Disturb. You’ll need five minutes, but it’s going to be well worth it. Let me explain this to you in the simplest terms possible.
Simply put, Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform which includes an ever-expanding set of cloud services that give you the freedom to build, manage, and deploy workloads on a massive, global network.
It is an absolute game-changer and is the future of just about every business in the world. In five years or less, all things being equal, you will not own your servers. You will subscribe to compute, network, and storage services on-demand.
Microsoft Azure is an entire ecosystem delivered around a simple idea: instead of spending a lot of money upfront buying servers, switches, firewalls, storage, backup, and DR, etc., you simply subscribe to what you need for a monthly fee.
When done right, most firms will save loads of money by adopting Azure versus replacing their on-premise infrastructure with more on-premise infrastructure. But how?
Simply put, you only pay for what you use. When you buy a local server, you pay for it when it’s in use and when it’s not in use. Since you probably don’t often work from 12am-6am, you are wasting money. In its essence, Azure allows you to turn servers off when you don’t use them.
This means you get to stop paying for the unused compute, storage, power, backup, and even software licensing you currently pay for – saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars per year depending on your firm’s size.
We used to buy a device (i.e., a new server) with a mind for “accommodating future growth” – these days are dead. Microsoft wrote the obituary. It was a solemn service. Today, our compute and storage resources are elastic. They shrink and expand with actual use.
Azure has Fortune 500 level security baked right in. Armed guards, secure data centers, geo-redundancy, encryption, you name it. They exceed any of the standards you need to comply with: ISO, HIPAA, PCI, IRS 1075, etc. Not even with a million dollars could you replicate the kind of security.
Your office resides in one geographic area. If your power or internet goes down, all things being equal, you go down. What if you have multiple offices and spend mega-money replicating services between the sites? Still inferior. We can setup redundancy and replication between fault domains, zones, regions, even continents.
If you lose one or 100 employees, your bill goes down by an equal magnitude. Are you hiring like crazy? Little extra effort or paid consulting is required – your Azure site scales to the exact size needed. Nothing more, nothing less. Pay for what you need, pocket the difference.
But it’s even more than that. Setup right, you can guarantee a particular performance standard for all users, regardless where they reside. Opening an office in Beijing? Easy. We click the mouse a few times and Chinese users are working from China North datacenter instead of East US.
Your Remote Desktop users are experiencing some lag? No problem. We’ll create a rule that spins up a second RDS server as soon as CPU utilization spikes over 80% for more than 5 minutes. When utilization drops again, that server disappears (this is called auto-scaling).
We can scale up (make your RDS server go from 10 cores to 50 cores), scale down (make that server go from 50 cores to 5 cores), scale out (duplicate your server 10 times to meet demand), and scale in (remove a quantity of server instances when not needed) – all automatically.
Ok. You have a mission-critical application hosted across a dozen servers. Users login from West US and East US simultaneously. It is essential that users get the performance they need. No problem. We set up what are called load balancers and availability sets. Users are automatically assigned to the best machine.
Yesterday you bought five rack-mount servers and had them installed in the rack in your server closet. You spent more than $50,000 in equipment and were charged another $10,000-$20,000 in consulting. The joy! But in five years, you’ll be doing it all over again… Or will you?
Pay this same consulting fee today to migrate to Azure and in five years, when you usually go to replace your servers, go ahead and take a nice trip to Europe. You won’t be spending that money on a costly, physical implementation of new equipment, data migration, testing, and deployment. You’ll already be on the newest equipment and software.
We had a 150-employee financial firm pay us to take them to Azure. We set up ten servers and everything else that goes with it. Fast forward six months. They landed a new client and need to hire 70 new bodies, ASAP. The client calls Accellis.
After the call, my service manager pours a cup of coffee, logs in, and in less than two hours, the new servers, storage, backup & DR, and networking are ready for use. Five years ago, that would have cost $10,000 or more in consulting alone. The hardware would have been another $50,000-$100,000.
The deal would have to be registered, the equipment would have to be quoted at best possible price, once approved it would have to be ordered, 2-6 weeks later it would arrive, another a week later an army of techs would be onsite poking and prodding and nudging and fidgeting for several days.
Do you know we ended up only charging them $300 for our time? And the equipment? Since Azure prices everything right on their website at the lowest possible price, there was no haggling and no shopping. This post scratches just the Surface (terrible Microsoft pun fully intended) of what Azure can do for you.