What is Microsoft Azure?
When it comes to Cloud Computing solutions, there are many to choose from and one size rarely fits all. Integrated Cloud services that are flexible and that can be used to deploy, develop and direct applications such as Microsoft Azure can help your organisation get ahead in the Cloud.
Microsoft Azure is formed of an array of integrated Cloud solutions including Infrastructure and application services that developers and IT professionals alike use to create, deploy and manage a series of applications throughout a global network.
What are the business benefits of Microsoft Azure?
Easy deployment and migration
Microsoft Azure can be deployed anywhere and helps facilitate Digital Transformation within your organisation. Azure’s automatic software updates means that the latest version of Microsoft Azure is deployed in real-time with a 100% uptake. By using the latest Cloud technology available, your organisation will have the ability to build, test and deploy the latest IT Infrastructure and applications faster.
The Microsoft Azure stack is also fully compatible and has full integration with applications that your organisation already uses including Microsoft Office 365, Outlook, SharePoint and more which will save your organisation both time and money. In addition to this, Azure utilises the same Virtual Machines (VMs) that organisations already use that are on-premise.
Top level Cloud security
Password security is an ever-present issue for organisations that have large amounts of users. Microsoft Azure’s Single Sign-On feature helps eliminate problems that surround this by offering secure and seamless logins. Azure Single Sign-On also means that all users can easily access their relevant platforms without having to remember a complex password. By doing this, your organisation is significantly reducing the risk of having select accounts hacked and enabling more gradual controls, such as making them location and device specific.
Azure has unified security management and advanced threat management across Hybrid Cloud workloads. Microsoft is the first Cloud provider to adopt the new international standard ISO 27018 and with data centres located in London, Durham and Cardiff, your business data is stored locally and securely.
Microsoft Azure is also compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as functionalities built into Microsoft Azure includes Azure Information Protection which helps ensure your data is identifiable and secure, which is a key requirement of GDPR. Information Protection also enables you to classify, label and track the usage of business documents that are stored. Azure’s compliance Data Factory and Azure HDInsight which serve as enablers for GDPR. There is the ability to collaborate on documents securely on any device and work seamlessly with other employees from any location.
Flexibility in Infrastructure
One of the major business benefits of Microsoft Azure is that its also fully scalable, so Azure is free to move with the demands of the business and you only pay for what you consume. Using the Cloud model, this also means that your employees can work securely from anywhere on any device that is connected to the internet which leads to increased collaboration throughout your organisation. This leads to a change in company culture, like that of an organisation which is on the journey to Digital Transformation.
Investing in new IT Infrastructure can be costly and take up a large chunk of an organisation’s budget and time. With Microsoft Azure this is no longer a problem. For example, instead of replacing a server every five years, your organisation is renting a server from Microsoft for a smaller and more affordable monthly cost – making it similar to the Microsoft 365 pricing model so Microsoft Azure benefits organisations of every size.
High availability Backup and Disaster Recovery
Using a Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery service such as Azure Backup replaces traditional on-premise or off-site backup solution. Azure’s backup solution resides in the Cloud and offers multiple components that you can download or deploy on the appropriate computer or server.
Azure Backup includes unlimited scaling which uses the underlying power of the Azure Cloud to deliver a 99.9% availability service that has no maintenance or overheads. Microsoft Azure offers two types of backup replication: locally redundant storage and geo-redundant storage.
Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) makes three copies of your data in a storage scale unit in a data centre and all copies exist within the same data centre region. This is a low-cost option for protecting your business data from local hardware failures. Geo-Redundant Storage (GRS) however is the default and recommended replication option as it replicates your data into a secondary region, located hundreds of miles away from the primary backup source. GRS provides a higher level of durability for your data, even if there is an outage in the primary region.
What is Microsoft Azure SQL?
The Microsoft Azure SQL Database is a fully managed, intelligent Cloud-database that provides seamless migration of your SQL Server databases without having to change the applications that run your organisation. Organisations who implement the two types of the Azure SQL Server Databases, due to the flexibility, security and scalability they offer compared to alternatives on the market.
What are the two types of Azure SQL solutions?
There are two main options for running SQL workloads in Microsoft Azure – the Azure SQL Database that is a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and an SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) that falls under Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
The differences between these two solutions are that these can be run as either a hosted infrastructure (IaaS) or run as a hosted service (PaaS). Many of our customers choose to implement the Azure SQL Database as this has significantly lower administration costs but has minimal development costs for migrated applications. The Azure SQL Database reduces overall management costs to the minimum, meaning that your organisation does not have to manage any virtual machines, operating system or database software.
With IaaS and PaaS, Microsoft administer the underlying Azure infrastructure and automatically replicate all of your organisations data so that Microsoft Azure forms part of your disaster recovery and backup solutions. This configures and upgrades the database software as well as managing load balancing. Rest assured, that if there is a server failure within the data centre, the server will automatically perform a transparent failover to prevent any delay in recovery of the data.
As both solutions are hosted in the Cloud, they do not require the purchasing of hardware.
Infinity Group are Cloud Computing and Digital Transformation Consultants, as well as being one of the top 200 Microsoft Gold partners in the UK. If you are interested in implementing Microsoft Azure or want to upgrade your existing solution, please get in touch to find out more.