Cloud Computing. We all hear about it, and a good portion of us have already adopted some form of it. And if you haven’t, there’s a very good chance you fit into the category of “when we adopt” versus “if we adopt”.
Ok, so we know there are providers out there, with the two biggest players being Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Both are great platforms, so much so that many of the products you use personally at the consumer-level are being hosted within these environments.
It’s no secret that Microsoft has set its sights to dethrone Amazon to become the new cloud platform champion. They’ve invested extensive amounts of resources to their data centers and partner community. These investments are proving to be working; its cloud revenue has increased over 60% over the last 12-months.
So why is Microsoft doing so well lately? Here are a few initial thoughts:
Their Investments in Their Infrastructure
Microsoft has and continues to spend billions of dollars into their infrastructure. They have 58 data centers across 148 countries, though it’s said that number could be higher since these don’t include top-secret locations not for public-knowledge. In any event, with the increase in customer demand, plus their offerings in other areas such as Office 365 and even Xbox Live, this number makes sense to sustain their operations.
Piggy-backing on the amount of investments, this would also include the money they spend on physical- and technical- security measures for these locations. This makes a lot of sense with the amount of data that flows to and from their data centers. A little-known fact is that Microsoft employs roughly 3,500 security professionals to protect their customers, making them one of the largest security companies that nobody has ever heard of. They also have extensive partnerships with other security companies (even those they compete with) to ensure they mitigate risks from every threat vector.
(Almost) Seamless Transition
The vast majority of companies already use Microsoft products in various capacities, so by design integration was made to be made much easier. Even licensing was taken into consideration; if you have an Enterprise Agreement approaching renewal, moving towards their subscription model (CSP, but that’s another discussion) makes a lot of fiscal sense. Have Software Assurance? Then you very likely have Azure benefits you can leverage. Using System Center Configuration Manager? Then you can configure that with Microsoft InTune to give you a holistic approach to managing your infrastructure.
We live in a digital world which is empowering us to do more. Accessing our data from any device anywhere to using mobile applications to shop, almost all of these capabilities have some element of cloud attached to it.
The famous terms of Capital Expense vs. Operational Expense. Let’s face it, software and hardware are depreciable IT assets. Just like automobiles, these assets lose their value over their lifecycle. Most underlying hardware infrastructure lasts 5-7 years; and with software continuously evolving, hardware has its challenges keeping up. The success of software subscriptions (i.e. Office 365), it also shows that paying-as-you-go/paying-for-what-you-use can be cost-effective. It’s a CFO’s job to mitigate their organizations fiscal risk, which is why moving to the cloud a no-brainer.
While there are many more compelling reasons why public clouds like Azure are so attractive, it’s important to understand that just moving there is only the beginning of a cloud transformation journey. Once in Azure, you’ll now want to find the best practices to not only operate, but innovate in the cloud.
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Senior Account Executive