Microsoft Azure Review

Azure has become a one stop shop for cloud computing and continuing to grow.

What is our primary use case?

Currently we are hosting custom web applications, boxed applications, Azure VMs, Azure files for shared company files, Azure blob storage, Azure Active Directory with Active Directory sync, Single Sign On, and development and testing purposes.

How has it helped my organization?

Creating VMs for development has been huge since we ran out of resources locally. Creating Hybrid solutions provides us with greater confidence in higher availability. Storage has made remote access to files much more painless and easy. Using SSO has also been great reducing the number of passwords and locations required to use them.

What is most valuable?

Customized Dashboard, Site-to-site and point-to-Site VPN, Virtual Machines, Web Apps, SQL, SharePoint, Storage, Test/Dev environments.

What needs improvement?

Pricing is very difficult to guesstimate. With so many a la carte options and individual pricing it can be a hassle to understand. I constantly need to go over the report to find out where I can save money and what is eating up the monthly costs.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No issues with stability. Has been rock solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is Microsofts big advantage. At anytime you can scale up or down your servers or services growing them or shrinking them to your needs. You can even automate this process. I personally do not get into Enterprise solutions but they continue to add larger solutions frequently.  

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

First response is 2-4 hours. Staff is knowledgeable but can often be difficult to understand and slow. Although I do not call about routine issues and bring very complex problems there way. With that said I will say every issue does get resolved.

Technical Support:

I rate technical support 7/10. First response is 2-4 hours. Staff is knowledgeable but can often be difficult to understand. I have also found that a few of them try to e-mail you despite your request for a call. This causes much miscommunication and additional time your problem is not getting resolved.

I only give them an 7 because I have struggled a time or two with understanding their English or getting the ball rolling resolving my issue. This all really depends on the department you need.

I will say that they always get the issue resolved regardless of the complexity of the problem.

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

No I have not, but we chose Azure simply simply because we are Microsoft partners and get free Azure credits to work with.  Microsoft is also a power player in cloud solution and a trusted name.  

How was the initial setup?

Huge learning curve for me. I found just diving in was incredibly difficult. Much lab time required to understand how things work together. Once you get going however it all makes sense.

I also find the GUI to be more intuitive then AWS and feels better.

They are constantly changing the GUI while they continue migrating the ASM model to the ARM model. Since this is a living platform it can change from one day to the next adding features. 

What about the implementation team?

I implemented all the solutions myself with a little research.

What was our ROI?

Microsoft does have special pricing for Development purposes. This does help reduce the monthly costs for our team.

As our local resources reach their end of life, we have moved servers and services to Azure.  It becomes more of an operation expense as apposed to a capitol expense. 

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

We are MS partners. Depending on your partnership you may or may not get Visual Studio Enterprises licenses. Each license allows you to get a $150 Azure credit per month.

This has been great for our developers and I to put in to practice some Azure solutions.

There are many other free credits available as well.  Do some searching.

If you need to purchase Azure they do have a pricing calculator that may help you determine costs.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I know AWS is another great solution, but have not tackled it yet. I do have plans to experiment with Amazons solution to determine for my own the differences. 

What other advice do I have?

The biggest advantage to using Azure over any other cloud solution is the ability to move your domain into the cloud and be completely server free and still have domain services.

I have also found that site-to-site vpn with domain services rack up a good percentage of our monthly costs. These are the fundamentals to move your network into Azure.

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partners
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Add a Comment

author avatarit_user183696 (Manager Enterprise Solutions at a tech vendor)

You have taken right decision, today's world is for scale if you want to grow you need scalable infrastructure and if you do this on premise it is very costly affair to manage this kind of infrastructure.

author avatarit_user70971 (IT Administrator at a tech company with 10,001+ employees)

Microsoft is improving his Azure services but still faild to announce unscheduled outages I experienced site-2-site VPN been down for more than 24 hrs and no update or support available for Open Azure ..

author avatarit_user265281 (Network Manager / Senior Network Engineer at Warnock, Tanner & Associates)
Real User

If the outage was not scheduled was the outage still intentional? If it was not, then how could they announce it? Did you look at the health status to confirm the status of the outage? Please share, I have not experienced this yet.

author avatarAndyLee (InsideView, Inc)

MS Azure is a comprehensive SaaS-based solution provides one powerful interface for web and native mobile applications.