What is Azure used for?

What is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform. As Microsoft says, “more than 200 products and cloud services designed to help you bring new solutions to life – to solve today’s challenges and create the future.” Or as we like to say, “if you’ve got a clear business objective, Microsoft Azure helps you Reimagine Everyday and transform your business.”

In simple terms, Microsoft Azure provides Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Serverless compute, that can be used for services such as analytics, application development, virtual computing, storage, networking, and more. It can be used to replace or enhance your on-premise servers. Azure also delivers on key business outcomes such as increased security, improved compliance, cost optimisation and greater agility.

Azure can provide your organisation with an evergreen infrastructure, that is always up to date without the limitations of your existing on premises environment.  You can develop, deploy and maintain applications both internally or for your customers on a global scale, with the tools and frameworks of your choice.

Benefits of Microsoft Azure

Here are the most common reasons our customers transition from on-premise to Azure, or the hybrid cloud: 

  • Flexible – increase or decrease compute resources as needed
  • Open – supports almost any OS, language, tool, or framework
  • Reliable – 99.95% availability SLA and 24×7 tech support
  • Global – data housed in geo-synchronous data centres around the world
  • Economical – Only pay for what you use, when you use it

To explore the business case for transitioning to Azure for your organisation, book a Microsoft Cloud Assessment here >

How can Azure help your organisation? 

Azure is used by organisations across multiple sectors, for example: 

Healthcare – Azure meets security and compliance requirements for organisations with large quantities of sensitive and confidential data.

Education – Azure can resolve hardware issues allowing schools to offer BYOD programmes or use lower cost hardware with less computing power, as the processing power comes from Azure. 

Financial Services – Azure facilitates PCI-DSS compliance. Azure maintains a PCI DSS validation using an approved Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) and is certified as compliant under PCI DSS version 3.2.1 at Service Provider Level 1. If you want to develop a cardholder data environment (CDE) or card processing service, you can rely on the Azure validation, thereby reducing the associated effort and costs of getting your own PCI DSS validation.

Legal – Azure reduces the risk of cyber threats and data breaches. Multi-layered security ensures the chance of a successful ransomware attack or data breach is minimised. 

Regardless of the industry, deployment of Azure can bring a plethora of benefits to many businesses. 

Azure versus on-premise costs

Cloud computing solutions like Microsoft Azure, use a OpEx cost model instead of the traditional CapEx. Below we detail the costs associated with each for deploying and running your IT infrastructure. 

CapEx IT infrastructure costs

The following shows the relevant costs associated with Capital Expenditure (CapEx):

  • Upfront cost on physical infrastructure
  • You need to plan your expenses at the start of a project or budget period.
  • CapEx computing costs:
    • Server costs – server clustering, redundant power supplies, and uninterruptible power supplies.
    • Storage costs – centralised storage and fault-tolerant storage for critical applications.
    • Network costs – cabling, switches, access points, routers, wide area networks, and Internet connections.
    • Backup and archive costs – backup maintenance/processes and consumables like tapes.
    • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery costs – recover from a disaster and continue operating using backup generators. 
    • Datacentre infrastructure costs – costs for construction, building equipment, cooling, power with redundancy.
    • Technical personnel – technical expertise and workforce to install, deploy, and manage the systems in the datacentre and at the DR site.

OpEx IT infrastructure (Azure) costs

The following shows the relevant costs associated with Operational Expenditure (OpEx):

  • No upfront cost, you pay for the service/product as you use it
  • OpEx is particularly appealing if the demand fluctuates or is unknown
  • OpEX computing costs:
    • Leasing software/hardware and customised features – remove the Azure resources when they aren’t in use so that you can minimise costs.
    • Scaling charges based on usage/demand instead of fixed hardware or capacity – whether its seasonal requirements, or weekly off hours, increase of decrease your Azure resources around your budgets.
    • Billing at the user or organisation level – using budgets and cost centres you can tag all resources to bill to the correct department or team.
  • The cloud vendor also manages the cloud infrastructure, so you don’t have to.

Start your Azure journey

Whether it is for the security, flexibility, scalability, cost optimisation or access to the latest tech developments, Azure presents a host of flexible solutions around your business. 

If you’re thinking about moving to Azure we recommend a Microsoft Cloud Assessment as the first step on your Azure journey. This service helps you visualise what your workloads would look in the Azure cloud, understand the costs of migration and provides you with a roadmap for a successful digital transformation project. To find out more, click on the link below or contact our team directly >

How much does Microsoft Azure cost?

Thinking about migrating to Microsoft Azure? Our blog will help you understand how to estimate your Azure costs and use Microsoft’s Azure Pricing Calculator.

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