Microsoft Azure Review

Can be used to modernize environments and reduce the time spent on building infrastructures

What is our primary use case?

We have been using it to modernize customers' environments. We propose that the customers consider moving a number of things into the public cloud instead of building and maintaining everything on-premise. 

How has it helped my organization?

The organization can focus more on real business problems instead of IT problems. It can also reduce the time spent setting up the infrastructure. This then makes the organization more agile and, in a lot of cases, more reliable. With the public cloud, if your design is okay, the chance of running into a serious outage is, in most cases, lower than that when relying on your own on-premise IT infrastructure, particularly in the case of companies with 50 to 500 people that typically don't have very big IT budgets.

What is most valuable?

I think the most useful feature has been the remote desktop. It has been very helpful when customers have old applications that are not architected to run remotely.

What needs improvement?

In my opinion, what could be improved is making the actual costs more predictable. It is very difficult to estimate the cost or the budget you are going to need to run your environment in Azure Cloud. You have to be a specialist to understand how you will be charged, which constantly changes.

As for additional features, it would be great if the pricing could be cheaper for those trying to study and use the cloud. Having a discounted pricing scheme or even a free usage scheme, like a sandbox that is free to use on a continuous basis, for those who are studying would help them to actually generate more business later on. The more people learn to use the clouds, the more business they will actually attract.

They will start pushing solutions into the cloud, but if they have no time or opportunity to learn to use it, they will not be confident in proposing cloud solutions. So until they have been able to validate it in a test environment or a learning environment, they won't take the risk and propose a cloud solution.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been involved with this solution for one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I think Microsoft Azure is fairly stable. It also depends on how you set up your design.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As advertised, the scalability should never be an issue. The only thing that would stop you from scaling would be that your application has an architecture that is not scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

For public clouds, customer service/technical support is okay. In general, the documentation is very good.

How was the initial setup?

For those who are familiar with Azure, the initial setup is not that complex. However, for those who are using Azure for the first time, it's probably a bit more involved because they may need to create their own virtual data centers in the cloud with the necessary security measures. I think that often this is a bit underestimated mostly because of a lack of knowledge on the part of the new customer.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Software licensing models can be expensive depending on what you need compared to open source solutions, for example. However, if you don't have the technical skills, you may be better off paying for a license and support instead of trying to use open source solutions.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Microsoft Azure at eight on a scale from one to ten. 

I would advice others to take the time to study it carefully because there's a lot to understand and a lot to know before putting a solution in the clouds. Don't underestimate the complexity.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: partner
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