Microsoft Azure: A Guide for Decision Makers

The innovation problem

Information Technology is key to the success of nearly every business. This is particularly true of large enterprises who, as they try to meet (and anticipate) customer needs, and meet or exceed Wall Street’s expectations, depend on IT to provide strategic solutions and add value.  To, in a word, innovate.

There is, however, a problem.

For many organizations, the demands of operations or, ‘keeping the lights on,’ take precedence over innovation. CIOs and their staff find themselves running on several high-speed treadmills at once:

  • Maintaining existing software and integrating new software into a complex technology stack
  • Patching, fixing, and upgrading servers
  • Data retention strategy
  • Disaster recovery strategy
  • Monitoring system health and security
  • Meeting industry-specific regulatory and compliance requirements
  • Helping the business achieve new objectives and attract customers using technology
  • Crafting budgets that make all of the above possible while showing value to justify that budget

The pie chart below, although a quite few years old, still reflects the situation for many organizations.
Cloud Journey
(Source: RackSpace Blog)

It’s unavoidable that operational demands create a perceptual barrier between the concerns of technologists, the lines of business they’re supposed to be helping, and the customers it should be attracting, retaining, and serving. CIOs find themselves in what looks to be a no-win situation: operational reliability requires a go-slow approach (and often, becoming the team that says no for a variety of reasons).  Business demands, on the other hand,  require speed and flexibility.

How can these two conflicting worlds be brought together?

Your best hope is by becoming a cloud-enabled organization that minimizes operational overhead and emphasizes solutions.
This applies to a range of cloud platforms, but I’m going to focus on Microsoft Azure as an example.
Microsoft Azure

Applications and Development

Application Development
Your customer-facing web application (often, one of the most business-critical applications in an organization) can be cloud-enabled by migrating it to Azure Web App Service. Imagine no longer being concerned with the server infrastructure hosting the web application (which is where the business value actually resides).  This is the power and value of the app server offering, available in one of our Hands-on Labs.

Servers

Servers
Azure virtual machines are, like the VMWare virtual machines you’ve no doubt used for years on-premises, very useful. They can be configured in highly available configurations such as availability sets and scale sets. The public cloud, however, offers new and powerful options that were previously unavailable such as Platform as Service products like Azure SQL. This provides the software you consume—in this case, database services—without the operational overhead created by server maintenance (physical or virtual).

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of business continuity. It’s critical that your key systems—both internal and customer-facing—remain available and robust if something goes wrong with one or more of your facilities. To address this need with cloud-native methods, Microsoft created Azure Site Recovery (ASR). Instead of spending money on full duplicates of your data center or traditional colocation arrangements, you can utilize Azure as your DR site.  This provides the DR function without the infrastructural overhead.

These services only scratch the surface of what’s possible with Azure, which should form the heart of your cloud transformation effort.

Of course, training for technologists is the key to success. According to this September 2017 Network World article, a recent survey reveals how a lack of cloud skills is costing companies money.

This is where Cloud Academy’s excellent portfolio of Azure courses closes the gap.

You’ll vastly increase your odds for success with the proper training and a commitment to the following:

  • Minimizing operational overhead by using cloud-native methods
  • Responding more quickly to business needs
  • Building solutions instead of technical debt
  • Closing the gap between your technology stack and your customers

Good luck with your cloud journey!

Avatar

Written by

Dwayne Monroe

I'm a technologist. I know that sounds a bit general (like saying you love people or enjoy sunshine) but it's true. I started my career in the hectic world of client/server based infrastructures when that was shiny and new. Little did we know, as we laughed at the mainframe monks, that we were building an equally massive monolith made from servers and siloed applications. The cloud era is breathing new life into IT and I'm excited to be here, at the beginning, yet again.


Related Posts

Avatar
Guy Hummel
— December 12, 2019

Google Cloud Platform Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2019, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the second consecuti...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 10, 2019

New Lab Challenges: Push Your Skills to the Next Level

Build hands-on experience using real accounts on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more Meaningful cloud skills require more than book knowledge. Hands-on experience is required to translate knowledge into real-world results. We see this time and time again in studies about how pe...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • hands-on
  • labs
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— December 5, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: AWS Solution Architect Lab Challenge, Azure Hands-on Labs, Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security, and Much More

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the craziness of Black Friday has died down, it's now time for the busiest season of the year. Whether you're a last-minute shopper or you already have your shopping done, the holidays bring so much more excitement than any other time of year. Since our...

Read more
  • AWS
  • AWS solution architect
  • AZ-203
  • Azure
  • cyber security
  • FCCS
  • Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— December 4, 2019

Understanding Enterprise Cloud Migration

What is enterprise cloud migration? Cloud migration is about moving your data, applications, and even infrastructure from your on-premises computers or infrastructure to a virtual pool of on-demand, shared resources that offer compute, storage, and network services at scale. Why d...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Data Migration
Nisar Ahmad
Nisar Ahmad
— November 12, 2019

Kubernetes Services: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud

Kubernetes is a popular open-source container orchestration platform that allows us to deploy and manage multi-container applications at scale. Businesses are rapidly adopting this revolutionary technology to modernize their applications. Cloud service providers — such as Amazon Web Ser...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud
  • Kubernetes
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— November 6, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: AZ-900 Exam Update; MS-100 Exam Prep; PRINCE2 Foundation; Azure, Kubernetes, and Google Hands-on Labs; and Much More

This month, our Content Team really kicked it into overdrive with tons of new content. If you're Team Azure, then you'll be amazed at the number of Azure Courses and Hands-on Labs we published this month alone!  At any time, you can find all of our new releases by going to our Training ...

Read more
  • AZ-900
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Kubernetes
  • MS-100
  • New content
  • PRINCE2
  • Product Feature
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— October 30, 2019

How to Get Hands-on Experience on AWS, Azure, and GCP: Lab Challenges

Meaningful cloud skills require more than book knowledge. Hands-on experience is required to translate knowledge into real-world results. We see this time and time again in studies about how kids and adults best learn — doing the actual learning task is key. Hands-on Labs and Lab Challe...

Read more
  • AWS Labs
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Hands-on Labs
Avatar
Cloud Academy Team
— October 23, 2019

Which Certifications Should I Get?

As we mentioned in an earlier post, the old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and compan...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Certifications
  • Cloud Computing
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— October 1, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: ITIL® 4, Microsoft 365 Tenant, Jenkins, TOGAF® 9.1, and more

At Cloud Academy, we're always striving to make improvements to our training platform. Based on your feedback, we released some new features to help make it easier for you to continue studying. These new features allow you to: Remove content from “Continue Studying” section Disc...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • ITIL® 4
  • Jenkins
  • Microsoft 365 Tenant
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming
  • TOGAF® 9.1
Avatar
Jeremy Cook
— September 17, 2019

Cloud Migration Risks & Benefits

If you’re like most businesses, you already have at least one workload running in the cloud. However, that doesn’t mean that cloud migration is right for everyone. While cloud environments are generally scalable, reliable, and highly available, those won’t be the only considerations dri...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Cloud Migration
Joe Nemer
Joe Nemer
— September 6, 2019

Google Cloud Functions vs. AWS Lambda: The Fight for Serverless Cloud Domination

Serverless computing: What is it and why is it important? A quick background The general concept of serverless computing was introduced to the market by Amazon Web Services (AWS) around 2014 with the release of AWS Lambda. As we know, cloud computing has made it possible for users to ...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
Alisha Reyes
Alisha Reyes
— August 30, 2019

New on Cloud Academy: CISSP, AWS, Azure, & DevOps Labs, Python for Beginners, and more…

As Hurricane Dorian intensifies, it looks like Floridians across the entire state might have to hunker down for another big one. If you've gone through a hurricane, you know that preparing for one is no joke. You'll need a survival kit with plenty of water, flashlights, batteries, and n...

Read more
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • New content
  • Product Feature
  • Python programming