Microsoft Azure Review

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

What is most valuable?

The fully integrated capabilities of a PaaS service.

How has it helped my organization?

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

What needs improvement?

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

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution 3 years.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

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

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

None so far.

How are 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.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

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.

How was the 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.

What about the implementation team?

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

What was our 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.

What's my experience with 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.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

AWS and Elastic Beanstalk.

What other advice do I have?

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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