Azure Virtual Machines: Why they are essential to modern businesses.

The paradigm over the past decade from on-premise to cloud computing has been a tale of immensely fast adoption, even for large organisations. We take a look at how Azure virtual machines are leading this trend in today’s digital economy:

Adoption of Cloud

In 2008, cloud computing was still a bit of a buzzword. A mere two years earlier, the term started getting traction after Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, used it in a press statement. Two years later, the industry was sitting at an annual revenue of about $5 Billion USD.

Fast forward 10 years later and the term is ubiquitous throughout all sectors, from small businesses to enterprise. At the time of writing, the market is now generating $150 Billion USD in annual revenue. That is an increase of 2900% in just 10 years. What’s even more impressive about this is the rate at which large enterprises have adopted this new technology.

Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines Increase in Cloud Market Size

Cloud Computing for Business

So if you are still wondering what the difference is between the old way of business server management, or on-premise, computing is and cloud computing, you are not alone. While the widespread adoption of cloud computing for enterprise has been significant, over 57% of businesses worldwide still use on-premise solution. Source

Azure Virtual Machines vs On Premise

On-Premise Solutions are costly and inefficient

That begs the question, which is better for your business? Traditional on-premise solutions or running all of your business applications in the cloud? What does cloud for business look like anyway? Let’s take a look at the differences:

 

On-Premise: This is where a company or organisation stores all of its data in its own data center, typically a server room. This requires not only IT staff to maintain the software stack, it also requires technicians and other expensive human resources to maintain the hardware. Furthermore, redundancies need to be catered for in the event of a disaster, which often requires physical drives to be handled and stored at the company’s expense. Security is also a concern, as you’ll need to hire security experts to maintain your software security layers, a frightfully expensive resource as well.

 

Cloud: Moving your data and computing to the cloud simply means that you no longer rely on your own infrastructure but rather have all of your data and processes off-site, through a cloud vendor, such as Microsoft Azure. What this means is that you no longer have to worry about maintaining any servers. Everything is hosted for you on Virtual Machines, maintained by these vendors.

 

Vendors such as Microsoft Azure employ some of the industries leading minds to assist their customers in security, data management and other services. This means your business benefits from the very best infrastructure and human resources available and you you only pay a fraction of the cost of what it would take to have that on premise.

 

The time it takes to deploy new infrastructure is also greatly reduced. In an on-premise scenario, you’d have to wait for the machines to be ordered, installed, configured and then integrated into the existing systems to begin operating, a process which can take weeks or even months in the case of large bureaucratic organisations.


In a cloud scenario, all of that is reduced to a few minutes and can be done by one person at essentially the click of a button. This is one of the main reasons for the rapid adoption of cloud computing over the past 10 years.

 

Virtual Machines on Microsoft Azure

 

For enterprise and even for SMME’s, the obvious choice when it comes to which cloud vendor to choose from, is Microsoft Azure. The reasons for this include:

 

  • Ubiquity of Microsoft products in business:
    • We use Microsoft products on a day to day basis in business. Whether it’s Outlook or Excel for administration and communication or SQL Server for databases, the widespread use of Microsoft products in our work lives is undeniable. As of June 2018, Microsoft market share in operating system was still sitting at 88%. Microsoft Azure already connects seamlessly with Microsoft business applications.
  • Reliable, scalable infrastructure available worldwide:
    • Microsoft’s Azure datacenters are best of breed, easily some of the most readily available and reliable in the world.
  • Cost Effective:
    • Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines are offered via pricing that gives you the control from the start. In most scenarios, you only pay for what you consume. This gives businesses the ability to control and plan their costs as they expand their IT infrastructure.
  • Improved Security and Compliance:
    • Data is arguably a businesses most valuable resource. With Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, data can be protected with multiple layers of security and redundancies that ensures not only security but also compliance with many regulatory bodies requirements for data security. Some of these points include:
      • Identity and Access Management: Microsoft Azure uses Active Directory to ensure your Azure Virtual Machines can only be accessed by the intended users. This helps enhance security while simultaneously making access to the correct individuals seamless and efficient.
      • Encryption: Azure Key Vault allows you to import or generate FIPS 140-2 Level 2 validated HSMs effortlessly from your Azure Dashboard.
      • Compliance: Azure Trust Center is there for you to ensure that your businesses is compliant with all regulatory laws in your territory. An example of this is GDPR, the lay enacted in May of 2018 that requires all EU citizens’ data stored by companies to comply with storage and access principles. This might have been a huge undertaking if your business was storing data on-premise, but with Microsoft Azure, it is seamless and easy. Read more about GDPR and Azure here.
      • Backups and Disaster Recovery: Azure backups is the best way to secure your data and prevent either malicious players or unintentional human error from compromising your business. Read our post on Azure backups here.
  • Bonus: African Businesses – Microsoft Azure data Centers available in South Africa.

 

Conclusion:

 

In our opinion, the case for preferring cloud over on-premise is a no-brainer. The cost reduction, improved security, rapid deployment and far better reliability of cloud far outweighs anything on-premise can offer.

 

If you would like to make the transition from on-premise to cloud, talk to one of our consultants today and move your business forward.

 

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