Cloud-based solutions for organisations and businesses have become increasingly popular over the last few years, helped by vastly improved Internet speeds, the accessibility of data and the standard of security built into the services.
Up until recently, businesses have had two primary choices when looking to set up their IT infrastructure. Either the server equipment was purchased outright and hosted on premise, or it was rented and hosted in a traditional data centre. With both of these solutions, as data growth occurs, the more power and equipment they need to use, leading to additional hardware/rental costs. Additionally, along with the maintenance and cost commitments for hardware, plus the need for a constant, steady Internet connection, if a company wants to expand, a lot of planning and thought, (and budget!), is needed.
However, with Cloud-based software solutions, these issues are largely taken away.
With the accessibility of the Cloud and the speed of Internet connectivity, a company doesn’t necessarily need to keep an extra room in the building to house all their servers and have the storage units maintained. Cloud computing has enabled business owners to minimise the purchase and storage of physical hardware and instead have access to Hosted Cloud services offered by global organisations such as Microsoft.
Microsoft Azure is a Cloud computing platform – a set of Cloud services designed to help your organisation meet its business challenges. It includes remotely hosted and managed versions of proprietary Microsoft technologies and open technologies and gives you the freedom to build, manage and use applications on Microsoft’s massive, global network using industry standard tools and frameworks.
How does Azure work?
Think of it as being like your electricity supply – with a Cloud based service such as Azure, you only consume and pay for what you need, when you need it. There is far less physical evidence of technology located in your office and you don’t need to worry about the maintenance of it either. Therefore it doesn’t take up any space and you only pay for the services you use.
What does Azure provide?
Microsoft Azure offers a multitude of solutions and products for organisations but probably the most beneficial services for almost every company are:
1. Backup and Restore – the most basic service provided by Azure, and a great way to ‘dip your toe in the water’ with Cloud Technology. Used purely for backing up files and data, it protects your data and apps no matter where they reside. Individual files and folders can be simply and easily restored at the click of a button.
2. Site Recovery – a cost effective way to allow in-house servers to instantly “fail-over” to the Azure Cloud service in a DR situation, should the local server be impacted. This could be for hours/days/weeks/months or forever. There is a small monthly fee for the service to run in the background, and this only increases if you ever require to use the data in a DR situation.
3. Hybrid Server Solution – a consolidation of servers which retains some services in-house on a small physical server providing important local functions such as domain authentication, networking and print services etc. The remaining functions and data can be retained in Azure providing greater accessibility and DR, whilst minimising both CapEx and maintenance in-house.
4. Virtual Server – providing all you need to run your business but without the need for an on-site server, flexible and scalable as your needs change, but not suited to everyone.
5. Software Apps - quickly build, use and scale business web, mobile and API apps on any platform whilst using a fully managed platform to perform infrastructure maintenance.
Microsoft Azure Cloud services are a great solution for growing companies looking to find the right balance of infrastructure and services.
If you are interested in Microsoft Azure, our IT support team in Surrey can help you to scope your requirements, put together a solution that works best for your business, cost it out and supply it. Please contact your account manager on 01252 235 235 and find out how this cloud based solution could help your organisation to grow and meet its business challenges today.
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