Microsoft Azure Review
The management console needs work but we would not be building the Healthcare IT application if it were not for Azure.


Valuable Features

The fully integrated capabilities of a PaaS service.

Improvements to My Organization

Basically we would not be building the Healthcare IT application if it were not for Azure.

Room for Improvement

The management console needs work and the pricing calculator is truly user hostile.

Use of Solution

I have been using the solution 3 years.

Deployment Issues

We have some issues with functional differences between Azure Active Directory and how Ad is implemented on a standalone server.

Stability Issues

We have had a few outages with Visual Studio Online – though they have not been a major work impact.

Scalability Issues

None so far.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service: Mixed. Microsoft still has too many support queues and if you end up in the wrong one you can spend hours being bounced from one to the other. OTOH once you figure out how to get to the Business support queue – response times are fantastic for “business outage” issues.Technical Support: When in the right queue – the understanding is unparalleled.

Previous Solutions

I have previously used AWS and Amazon Elastic Beanstalk. Azure is a PaaS whereas AWS is a server stack environment and thus AWS does not provide the OpEx cost reductions that Azure does. Elastic Beanstalk is a PaaS but it is not as fully developed as Azure.NET is.

Initial Setup

Very straightforward. In fact almost too much so. Its easy to try and overthink the setup and waste time looking for things you don’t need to be looking for.

Implementation Team

Combination of in-house and vendor. Vendor team was new to Azure.

ROI

Full ROI on the current project is still to be determined as we are not shipping yet. But I would estimate a 100% cost reduction over the traditional way of building a server based app.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

Our monthly dev costs for infrastucture are running $300-$500 for the initial work and we expect to have full OpEx costs of $1,000-$3,000/mo once we are launched.

Other Solutions Considered

AWS and Elastic Beanstalk.

Other Advice

Have a team that understands .NET development and particularly someone who understands Active Directory very well
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.

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