What Is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft Azure is a growing collection of cloud services that were traditionally handled by on-premise servers. Instead of hosting their own servers, businesses can run off Microsoft's datacenters dedicated to the task.
A common example is replacing a physical server in your wiring closet with a server hosted by Microsoft. Management of the server is the same. The difference is that there is no physical hardware present at your office.
Most of the time an Azure server can do the same tasks that a local server can do, including hosting of a file server, a line of business application, or terminal servers/remote desktop servers.
Why Consider Microsoft Azure for Small Business?
With an Azure server, you no longer have to maintain a physical server or replace the hardware every seven years. If the power or internet service goes down for a long time in the office, you can work from home. This can be a big deal if either of these utilities are less than reliable.
The costs of the server are spread over time instead of being paid for up front. A typical server implementation can range from $8,000 to $15,000. You can turn much of that cost from a capital expense to an operational expense by paying for the monthly Azure service instead of buying hardware.
While an Azure server may require upgrades, such as migration to a newer server operating system, the hardware itself is scalable. This means that if you need more horsepower to speed processes up, you can upgrade the server with a few clicks of the mouse. Physical servers are typically more difficult to upgrade and have limitations on the extent of upgrades available.
What Are the Risks?
Azure servers are not the best choice for every situation. Highly-regulated companies must to confirm that a cloud solution like Azure meets regulatory requirements. Internet speed can also be a factor because instead of accessing the server on your local network, you access it through the internet. With Azure, you trust your server and its contents to Microsoft. This may create some privacy concerns for your company.
For our managed services clients, we weight the pros and cons of moving to a cloud solution through an evaluation process during each server project. Through our analysis and discussion, we will help choose the right direction for you.
If you would like to hear more about our services, please contact us and we'll provide you with a free consultation.