Over the past few months, Azure has gained quite a bit of steam. It’s especially noteworthy, seeing as it has continued solid growth despite a rather serious outage in November. Azure’s pace has not gone unnoticed, causing Bloomberg BusinessWeek to delve into why it has been successful in closing the market share gap with AWS.

In a recent conversation with ten IT leaders, I aimed to gain a better understanding (and share with you) why many people are choosing Azure for their cloud platform. By asking the same questions to CDW customers, a pattern started to emerge. See 5 Tips for Getting Started with Microsoft Azure.

The questions were simple: How long did you evaluate a public cloud? Was Azure your first choice? What made you ultimately choose Azure? Finally, do you see Azure growing in your environment? You’ll notice these were open-ended questions, so you won’t be getting any cute infographics in this post.

Here are my findings on each question:

How long did you evaluate the public cloud?

This question received the most standard answer, with most people answering “three to nine months,” even without any sort of scale. There seems to be something magical about that time frame, though I don’t know what it is. What is interesting is that four people went on to mention that most of their concerns were answered rather quickly and that the delay in moving production workloads was simply due to the unknown.

Was Azure your first choice?

Three people said “yes,” five said “no,” and the other two implied that they didn’t really have a first choice. I’ll stress here that all ten customers eventually chose Azure as their primary public cloud. So it’s interesting to note that most of them originally planned on going with another partner.

What made you ultimately choose Azure?

For most people, the decision was made because Azure had better all-around tools for development. A few customers described the ease of the migration, noting that SQL in Azure is nearly identical to SQL locally. Other answers provided were the ability to easily migrate away, which does speak to a fear that’s pervasive these days: nobody trusts a single platform. Every customer we talked with had a secondary cloud provider. Though Azure was their preferred product, hedging bets seems to be the name of the game.

In my opinion, that’s where Azure’s strength truly lies: Microsoft sees the offering not as a replacement for everything, but a way to create a hybrid environment. That’s a bold step to take in a market dominated by claims of superiority across all talking points. Lastly, I want to mention that seven customers noted that the first workload moved to the cloud was test and development through the Microsoft Developer Network or MSDN.

Do you see Azure growing in your environment?

The answer to this was a resounding “yes.” Especially with the impending Windows Server 2003 EOL challenges, Azure is seen as a simple way to migrate away from aging systems. For more information on that topic, see our previous post regarding the Serverpocalypse.

Learn more about cloud computing with a visit to The Tailored to Fit Cloud landing page.