We’ve been hearing about Azure for the past few years now. The reaction most of us have is that it’s not for me, because of the usual arguments “I need my data with me”, “I need my data secure”, “I need my servers really safe against hackers”, “The performance is too slow”, “I don’t want the extra trip”. I’m not saying that Azure is for everyone, however, I think that most of us can benefit from it quite a bit. In my case there were a lot of things I didn’t know, and once I did I started to consider Azure more strongly.

I’m usually the kind of guy that likes to create a list of pros and cons, but sometimes that’s not everything. In my case I was treating all pros and cons with the same importance and weight. But recently I worked with a client who decided to not have a datacenter, and instead to load everything on Windows Azure. This forced me to really take a detailed look at Azure, and really squeeze all the juice out of it.

In this blog I’d like to simply list out the strategy behind Azure, and how an organization can see an opportunity to save, whether money, time, risk, hardware, etc. In my case I saw it very quickly. Now that I look back, I can easily see how this organization benefited from Azure. Here’s my list of Pros and Cons.

Azure Cons

  • Require internet access to access/manage
  • Higher risk, because malicious access potentially has the same reach I do into the cloud
  • Everything is virtual. This is good and bad. Bad because resources are distributed dynamically, and the user doesn’t know the load is distributed among all virtual servers
  • If used as hybrid (cloud/on premise), the trips are longer and require encryption

Azure Pros

  • Ready to be used hardware
  • No need to order more hardware and wait
  • No need for a physical datacenter
  • No need for a physical DR or colocation site, multiple geographical locations available
  • No need to worry about network outages, ISPs, room temperatures, hardware repairs, UPS replacements, hardware monitoring, firewalls, routers, etc.
  • No need to have service agreements and contracts with hardware manufacturers
  • Easy distribution of resources based on need/load, such as bandwidth, disk storage and CPU
  • No need to go to the datacenter room to perform any kind of manual work
  • Many geographical locations available for redundancy, latency and high availability
  • Many server classes available, for regular use or high-performance and high-throughput

I think that there is no real answer to if this is for everyone. If one of the points listed in the cons list causes a veto, then there isn’t much you can do, however, in most cases I would argue that it can be a little challenging in the beginning, and maybe some unconventional processes need to be put in place, but it is eventually well worth it.

I’ll be getting into more details in every area of Azure in the next few weeks, so follow my blog for more!

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