Is Azure the Future Color of the Cloud?
While there is a lot of excitement within Microsoft about it, and while the buzz is becoming louder in the partner community, the general public has yet to learn about a major element of Microsoft’s cloud play: Azure Cloud Hosting. This trend should change over the next couple months as the word gets out, and it will because I believe this offering is truly disruptive.
In short, Azure (pronounced AZH er) Hosting enables any company (or individual) to rent a virtual environment at a very low cost. The intention is to provide an alternative to buying servers to run a company’s business applications—and the word is that one out of every three servers manufactured today is being purchased by Microsoft for their data centers around the world.
Amazon, currently the largest hosting services provider in the world, has a similar, very successful offering. However its customers are renting full servers, and those customers must maintain all aspects of the server as if it were sitting on their premises. The major benefit is that the hardware resides off premises in a 24/7 data center with power backups and all the protections that go along with that.
Microsoft’s Azure hosting provides those same benefits, but they are also providing an array of tools to manage their environments, making them more “user friendly”. In addition, the customer has the ability to turn their environment(s) off when not in use and then not be charged during that time. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility and cost savings in this model as customers can “spin up” an environment in minutes and save them for when they are needed.
Partners like us can now leverage our own “data center” provided by Microsoft. We have already installed many of our in-house applications on Azure and are now hosting some of our clients’ instances of Dynamics GP on Azure environments. Before long, I believe, Azure will be a very well-known and widely used platform, quickly transforming Microsoft into one of the largest cloud services companies on the planet.