If you've been considering adding a new server to your business, Microsoft Azure may have come up in the conversation. But to decide if Azure is right for your company, you need to know what it offers and how it can benefit you.
Let's take a look at what Microsoft Azure is, and how it might be the right choice for expanding your company's infrastructure.
What Is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service intended for business use. As we discussed in our explanation of "the cloud," cloud computing simply means that computer processing is done on an offsite machine.
So instead of installing a physical server onsite, you outsource what would be that server's job to a remote Microsoft server. There are dozens of possible uses for an Azure server, including hosting virtual machines, handling networking, storing data, application development, database management, security, backup, and many more.
— Microsoft Azure (@Azure) October 30, 2017
Depending on your business, you might use Azure to replace an email sever, file server, or even a terminal server for remote access. But why would you want to do this?
One of the major benefits to using an Azure cloud server instead of a physical one is the ease of scaling it. If you purchase a physical server, the hardware inside is set unless you upgrade it, which is costly and can be time-consuming.
That's not the case with an Azure server. You pay as you go with it, and you can instantly scale your usage up or down. Say you're a travel agency and you host your company's website in Azure. If you get a lot more traffic in the summer when people are traveling more frequently, you can improve the server's performance only during these peak times.
A few mouse clicks to upgrade a server when you add more users or employees or grow your business is a lot easier than upgrading physical hardware. And it's reversible if you end up not needing the extra resources.
Servers aren't cheap. Implementing a new physical server can cost well over $10,000. Plus, they're expensive to replace when their usefulness runs out.
Azure isn't dirt-cheap, but it allows you to pay for the use of a server month-to-month instead of all at once up front. The scalability mentioned above also provides an opportunity for more savings. If you have a more powerful server than you need, you can save money by scaling it back.
Azure doesn't charge any termination fees, and you don't pay anything up front. You only pay for what you use, which is great for businesses with varying usage needs.
Not having to worry about a physical server is also a benefit of cloud solutions. Physical servers take up space in your building, and it also costs you to cool and power them.
But it's not so with an Azure server. You don't have to worry about a power outage taking you down or natural disaster destroying your hardware, since it's all remote. Plus, if your office's internet connection goes down for an extended period of time, your employees can still access the Azure server from home.
Is Azure Right for You?
Of course, Microsoft Azure isn't the perfect solution for every business. Though Microsoft does employ strong security measures for Azure, there's always a risk when storing your data on another company's hardware. Companies in highly-regulated industries also might have privacy concerns keeping them from using Azure.
But for everyday use, Azure cloud servers provide lots of benefits over physical hardware. Scalability means that you don't pay for more than you use, and your costs don't come all at once. It's a wise move for a lot of companies.
If you'd like to hear more about the services Houk Consulting provides, we invite you to schedule a free consultation.