What is Azure ?

Last week I read an excellent article on Microsoft Azure about Azure and the death of the data centre. The author of the article, Debra Littlejohn Shinder hit on a point that I have realised as part of my consultancy activities for some time too – that is Azure is one of the most misunderstood product offerings from Microsoft ever.

It is interesting to consider why this is so. Firstly, the materials that Microsoft produce to describe Azure are often confusing. Secondly, there is a degree of paranoia amongst organisations about handing over control of IT resources to a third party as well as the perceived threat to job security of administrators. Those that are vocal, propagate the confusion. This is highlighted in a sample of the comments posted by readers if Debra Littlejohn Shinder’s article. I have summarised a few below:

  • Instead of hogging your server resources Azure will hog your bandwidth resources
  • In the event of problems, Microsoft will blame the ISP, the ISP will blame Microsoft, and no resolution found
  • Microsoft cannot keep HotMail running, what chance Azure
  • I would rather own my own assets and manage them and secure my own data
  • Clouds are unreliable, look how often Amazon AWS is down

All of these arguments can easily be dismissed when one has a thorough understanding of Cloud Computing, and Microsoft Azure. The technology and business benefits and risks can then be considered and an informed decision made. Uninformed comments are harmful not primarily to Microsoft, or Cloud Computing in general, but to the organisations that the uninformed work for. These employees may be holding back their organisations from becoming more agile and responsive to their customers needs, missing business opportunities and losing ground to competitors. Equally, Cloud Computing is not a solution for every business. If you would like to learn more on Cloud Computing and its business and technical benefits, why not consider attending Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course. If you would like to learn more about the details of Azure, Doug Rehnstrom has developed an excellent 4 day hands-on course that will provide you with the skills to use Azure to the maximum benefit of your organisation.

Chris Czarnecki

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