I understand there may be some apprehension with utilizing an outside infrastructure to host applications and services . However, I also understand the need to continue to reduce infrastructure costs as well as offer your company and your customer’s scalable and reliable services. Is it possible to do both? Yes it is! With Windows Azure there are a variety of infrastructure and service options available.
Let’s briefly look at each available option in Windows Azure:
Whether if it’s a simple html web page or a multi-tiered ecommerce website with media content, using WEB SITES offers you the capability to upload and store your existing code and run your critical web applications.
With VIRTUAL MACHINES you have options. Options to move your VMs or create new VMs in Windows Azure and build highly available clouds with availability sets, Windows Azure Virtual Machines are the way to go.
MOBILE SERVICES offer you a place to host your mobile apps, data, and authenticate users to Azure and external authentication providers such as Facebook and Twitter.
CLOUD SERVICES is where you’ll create highly available application services. With a 99.95% monthly SLA, can your datacenter do this?
With SQL DATABASES you have a ready to use database that provides scalability well beyond what most in-house managed datacenters offer today. Need to move that old tier 2 or 3 database out of your datacenter to Windows Azure? Check out how to do this here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/cbernier/archive/2013/09/11/move-your-sql-server-databases-to-windows-azure-sql.aspx
STORAGE… Let’s be realistic, planning for and purchasing storage is time consuming and costly. I have yet to speak to a business who feels they have a firm grasp on their storage needs. How about approaching storage this way; continue to use your storage, peel off non-essential data and store that in Window Azure or better yet, how about moving SharePoint or other content into Windows Azure? Did you know you can do that?
Are you tired of encoding media content? Do you have a lot of media content and don’t know where to place it? What about global access to content? How finding content you know you stored somewhere? MEDIA SERVICES can assist with resolving all of those issues and much more.
Do you have concerns about losing touch with applications stored in a “CLOUD” service? How about those existing applications that have dependencies within your datacenter today? SERVICE BUS gives you the option to create application communications between Windows Azure and your data center.
I love CACHE, don’t we all? Seriously though, are you worried about application latency? Windows Azure Cache provides you the option to create a distributed caching layer so access to your application data tier can scale efficiently.
One of my favorite features within Windows Azure is RECOVERY SERVICES. Why? Because you can create automated plans to assist with recovery processes using Hyper-V replica (which is standard issue with Windows Server 2012). Recovery services also offers simple, agent based, backup services for your Windows Servers and System Center Data Protection Manager.
Have you ever set up a SQL Reporting server? How about eliminating that and using SQL REPORTING within Windows Azure? Why, because you get enterprise grade business analytics for your Windows Azure AND for applications hosted within your data center.
NETWORKS… What about connecting your Windows Azure infrastructure back to your own data center or better yet how about plugging Windows Azure into your MPLS network with AT&T? Do you host with Equinix? Great you can plug into Windows Azure from there too. (look for details about AT&T and Equinix during the first half of 2014)
TRAFFIC MANAGER allows you to load balance incoming traffic across multiple hosted Windows Azure services whether they’re running in the same datacenter or across different datacenters around the world. By effectively managing traffic, you can ensure high performance, availability and resiliency of your applications. Traffic Manager provides you a choice of three load balancing methods: performance, failover, or round robin.
Need monitoring and alerting for the services you’re hosting in Windows Azure? MANAGEMENT SERVICES provides this capability. Need expanded monitoring and alerting capabilities across your applications and services? System Center Operations Manager offers that.
Need to integrate with your existing Active Directory infrastructure? How about providing single sign-on for your applications? What about additional security using multi-factor authentication? Windows Azure ACTIVE DIRECTORY provides these capabilities and more!
Don’t have the time to code a new application? Need to utilize a data service? That’s ok, find an application or data service via the Windows Azure Store via ADD-ONS and deploy it.
Head into SETTINGS to work with management certificates, add administrators, create affinity groups (keep your services in one data center), or view your usage.
There are additional services (marked with red arrows) I didn’t mention in the picture below.
Notification Hubs provide a highly scalable, cross-platform push notification infrastructure that enables you to either broadcast push notifications to millions of users at once or tailor notifications to individual users.
Windows Azure BizTalk Services is a simple, powerful, and extensible cloud-based integration service that provides Business-to-Business (B2B) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) capabilities for delivering cloud and hybrid integration solutions. The service runs in a secure, dedicated, per-tenant environment that you can provision on demand.
Windows Azure Solutions
Windows Azure Services
I’m so excited by what Windows Azure offers today and will offer going forward. Here is the challenge I present to you:
Go out to Windows Azure today and sign up for a trial account or if you’re an MSDN subscriber, utilize the hours granted to your subscription to try out the enterprise ready features offered in Windows Azure: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/
Is doing nothing the right move for your business, how about your career? What will you do next?