The most valuable feature is the possibility of using Microsoft and non-Microsoft services on one environment. For example, Windows servers, Linux servers, backup solutions from Veeam, etc.
There is no one special feature for me, as it makes sense as a complete package. I would mention container services as well, as this is the most modern concept of bimodal IT. For example, doing development in companies without the need of building development servers. You can just using some special parts as micro-services and putting them together like Lego pieces. This is the real benefit of cloud and Azure.
Improvements to My Organization
This product helps companies to build their own infrastructure in the cloud without the need of any physical server. This is nice for new, small companies. For big companies, there are services like containers, docker, and infrastructure as a service for making their environment less heavy and saving some costs, using hybrid infrastructure and service concept.
Room for Improvement
There should definitely be some improvement in the UI. It is lacking in terms of where the end user has to click on other icons and go back to the main menu to change some small settings and then go back through many options to the main request. This is something which Microsoft is constantly working on, but still it needs improvement.
Monitoring options should be more sophisticated, as there are dashboards on which a end user is able to pin a lot of charts and a number of web parts, but for example, I would love to have some option like in Operational Management Suite. For instance, some queries and filters Maybe those are already there, but I have not been able to find them. I have to combine the Operational Management suite for Infrastructure, PowerBI for subscription and Application Insight for applications.
Alternatively, I can create a PowerBI dashboard for everything, but this is not for everybody, as it is not always so easy.
Managing of separate subscriptions if you have more than one and in separate domains, it is not so easy to manage. I can’t merge all of my subscriptions, as I am able to have only one enterprise subscription in one account.
Use of Solution
I have been using this solution since the beginning of its release, as well as for example Office 365, which was also placed in the cloud.
There have been no stability issues. I have some problems related to subscription management, but this is because I have more than one subscription and there were some problems related to merging those into one management.
There were no issues related to scalability at all.
Customer Service and Technical Support
Technical support is provided by ticketing system in the portal, so you can create a ticket and a few hours after that, the support guys will contact you, and will try to call you during business hours and will help you immediately. I had really specific problems a few times that needed longer discussion with support, but standard tasks were quickly resolved.
Nice and smooth since the beginning.
Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing
Related to pricing and licensing, you have to be careful how you operate with the concept. You would like to set some automation rules for automated shutdown and start up your virtual machines so that they are not consumed costs, etc. So it is about the logic of using this solution.
Other Solutions Considered
We evaluated Google and Amazon.
Prepare everything before implementation. Make your plan and calculate what should be the best solution or alternative for you.
This solution is at the top of what you can get at the moment on the market. There are huge amounts of separate tools and scenarios from infrastructure monitoring and administering, to hybrid scenarios or quick service creation and maintenance. The main benefit is the possibility of creating quick services, which you can select from many Microsoft and third-party service providers as well.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am a Microsoft MVP, so I have some relationships with Microsoft from technical point of view.