British companies that were once wary of using cloud services are now warming to the idea of trying Microsoft Azure because it can be integrated with existing on-site IT and signing up to a long-term contract to start using it isn’t necessary.
The integrated services Microsoft Azure offers could make a big difference to the success of many organisations in the South East.
While some cloud providers make companies choose between using their own data centre and using cloud services, Microsoft Azure doesn’t. It can be integrated with your existing IT environment through a large network of secure private connections and hybrid database and storage solutions.
Gary Jowett, from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, says: “Many companies aren’t yet familiar with Azure but we think it’s worth considering even if it’s just to ensure your website doesn’t crash when there’s a surge in demand from customers. The advantage is that you can choose from a wide range of different service levels and only pay for what you use.”
Integrated cloud services
Whether it’s databases, computing, networking, storage or data analytics, Azure supports all aspects of your IT.
If, for example, you opt for its virtual machines service, your laptops and PCs will be quickly connected to Windows Server and Linux technology in Microsoft’s private cloud. From the very basic level, up to the top tier, what you pay for depends on the disk size and RAM you need to support your business.
In addition, there’s the App Service which helps you create apps for any platform and any device. At the basic entry level, it supports free development and testing of up to 10 web/mobile and API apps. At the other end of the scale, you could choose the premium service and have the ability to do unlimited development and live launches of apps.
Elastic database management
Another attraction is Azure’s SQL Database service. It’s ideal for managing a number of databases more efficiently using elastic database pools. You don’t have to manage individual databases, just their collective performance. So, if there’s lots of demand for one database, overall performance can be adjusted to meet that demand.
While Microsoft Azure can be purchased by anyone, it’s difficult to set up without help from an experienced IT consultant who will have worked with other similar organisations and can help you decide how to maximise use of the integrated cloud services available.
Gary Jowett explains: “As you can start using Azure for a minimal cost, it’s really worthwhile considering – whatever the size of your business or charity. It could save you a lot of capital expenditure in the future and make it easier to forecast ongoing IT costs. At the same time, it helps companies serve customers more efficiently and interact with business partners more effectively.”