Microsoft Azure: You’re doing it wrong! With a statement like that, you might think that I will now distill my infinite wisdom and experience with Microsoft products and patiently explain how to use Azure “correctly.” Nope. In truth, part of the beauty of Azure is that there is no right or wrong way to use it. My intent is to define Azure, what it is and what it does in a way that may lead you to use it more than you currently are. Confused yet? It’s okay, stick with me and it will all become clear. By the end of this post, I’m hoping you may rethink your definition of Azure.
The Difficulty of Defining Azure
What is Azure? That is the crux of this post. Most solutions are defined by what they can do for your organization. With Azure, the biggest challenge may be defining how much it can do; its definition is as nebulous as the color for which it is named. Azure is a huge solution with so many possibilities that it is constantly being defined and redefined, even as I am typing this post. A one-page marketing paper explaining what Azure can do would need to have fine print and could be read only through the careful use of the zoom feature on most screens — it’s that wide ranging in possibilities.
At its essence, Azure is a server. Well, it’s a collection of servers, really — a data center with as much processing power as your heart desires (and your pocketbook can afford). Asking, “What can Azure do?” is the same as asking, “What can a server do?” The opportunities are as broad as you can think. The question then becomes, is Azure a cost-effective solution in comparison to, say, adding another server to your racks in your data center?
Applying Azure to Your Challenges
The key, I propose, is to get granular and consider how Azure Workloads fit into the conundrum. Each workload represents a solution that could fix individual organizational challenges within your environment. So instead of asking what Azure can do, let us assume a solution is already available (or coming soon to an Azure region near you) and put situations to the test. Need storage space for an archive system that is filling up fast? Microsoft Azure Cloud Archive could assist. Need an actionable DR plan for an insurance policy? Microsoft Azure Site Recover is there for you. Having information security issues with your Office 365 data? Use Azure Rights Management.
The point is to solve day-to-day challenges. Then you don’t have to worry about having purchased all this “Azure” and you can get on with doing IT.