Azure is Microsoft’s Infrastructure as a Service offering. This provides servers, storage, bandwidth and services in the cloud that you connect to over the internet. These servers form part of your company’s network in just the same way as if they were located on your premises, and your staff will perceive no difference. The differences for you as a business though are that:
- It is an operational expense rather than a capital one
- It includes all the Microsoft server software licensing
- There are no upfront costs and no termination fees
- You only pay for what you use
- You can easily scale the servers up or down and add or remove servers
- All the infrastructure is managed by Microsoft so you don’t have to
- Microsoft provide 24×7 support
There are many good reasons for moving some or all of your servers into the cloud, but the two most common reasons our clients have are flexibility and cost savings.
By flexibility we mean the ability to simply and quickly increase or decrease the size of a server, or to create a new server. You might be adopting a new piece of business software that needs a server to run on, or you might have won a large contract and be employing more staff which means your servers need to be more powerful. These operations can be performed in minutes vs the weeks and months it can take to specify, procure and install new servers yourself. Also once you’ve bought a server you can’t give it back or make it smaller.
The Capex costs of owning and operating your own servers are: purchase of the server hardware, purchase of the server software (e.g. Windows Server 2012, SQL Server 2008), purchase of the backup device. The Opex costs of owning and operating your own servers are: electricity to power and cool, hardware maintenance contract, software maintenance contract, floor space, ongoing server management (either in-house time or a cost with a support company).
If you move the same server into Azure, then all the above costs are replaced with one Opex cost, without any termination fees and you only pay for what you use.
Microsoft’s datacenter heritage
Microsoft has been building and managing datacenters for over 25 years. Today, the company’s cloud-scale datacenters provide the core infrastructure and foundational technologies for its 200-plus online services, including Bing, MSN, Office 365, Xbox Live, Skype, OneDrive and Microsoft Azure. The infrastructure is comprised of a large global portfolio of more than 100 datacenters, 1 million servers, content distribution networks, edge computing nodes, and fiber optic networks. This portfolio is built and managed by a team of experts working 24x7x365 to support services for more than 1 billion customers and 20 million businesses, in more than 90 countries worldwide.
Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure by the numbers
- 1989: The year Microsoft opened its first datacenter on its Redmond, Washington campus.
- 1 billion-plus customers, 20 million-plus businesses: The number of customers and businesses in more than 90 countries that use the Microsoft cloud.
- 200-plus: The number of online services delivered by Microsoft’s datacenters 24x7x365.
- $15 billion-plus: Microsoft’s investment in building our huge cloud infrastructure.
- 1 million-plus: The number of servers hosted in our datacenters.
- 100-plus: The number of datacenters Microsoft has in its global cloud infrastructure portfolio.
- 30 trillion-plus: The number of data objects we store in our datacenters.
We offer a variety of services to get you up and running in Azure quickly. Whether you just want to back up some on-premise servers, host an application or two, or migrate a large complex infrastructure into Azure, we can design, implement and manage it for you. See a short video case study of how one of our customers is using Azure.