- [Instructor] A common struggle for organizations is to determine whether or not a cloud-based solution is the right solution for them. Is Microsoft Azure the right cloud-based solution for them if they've decided to go to the cloud? We looked already in this course at how to estimate the cost of a cloud-based solution, specifically deploying solutions in Azure. However, there are more costs associated, and there are more implications associated with moving to the cloud. So let's take a look at some of the business cases, or some of the reasons why an organization might want to decide to move to the cloud.
The first and most obvious reasons why most organizations are interested in implementing a cloud-based solution is having a readily available testing environment that will allow individuals in your organization, specifically the IT department or the developers in your organization, to become familiar with new operating systems or enterprise applications. The ability to create a test environment for your line of business applications, and even to create a learning environment for your development teams is a great resource and great usage of a cloud-based environment.
Imagine the ability to deploy quickly a network and have that network be accessible, completely in a separate silo than your internal network, ensuring that it will never affect or impact the ability for your users and your network to operate successfully. So a testing environment is definitely a business case, a good business case, for a cloud-based solution. Now, another great obvious way to move over to the cloud is when it's time to replace your hardware, or maybe your operating systems are out of support.
For example, Windows Server 2003 is an operating system that's now out of support for Microsoft. A lot of organizations are still running Windows Server 2003 mainly because of legacy application. You need to replace the hardware, you need to replace your operating system, you want to do it quickly and efficiently and maybe you don't have the time to wait for those long procurement cycles to be able to purchase additional hardware. One of the huge benefits of a cloud-based solution is the ability to reduce your capital expenditures by reducing the amount of money that you're investing in hardware-based solutions.
However, you are significantly increasing your operational expenditures, where it is the cost that you are spending on a monthly basis or a yearly basis to maintain your operations and to maintain your network. So, definitely it gives you the ability to quickly deploy those new servers. Instead of waiting for the hardware to come in, you deploy virtual machines, you deploy enterprise applications on those virtual machines and you make them accessible to your users. Whether you're establishing a virtual private network, or you're using the remote connectivity to those servers directly by using the public IP addresses, you're giving a quick solution to your network to be able to access those new resources that you've deployed to the cloud.
Also, you no longer need to support and manage the hardware layer, where now you have your servers that are running on the infrastructure of Azure and they're not running on your own servers that you've had to purchase and have to purchase support agreements for as well. So definitely those capital expenditures are reduced, but keep in mind that your company's accounting department will be very interested to establish some practices around of operational expenditures. If you deploy new branch offices in your company, if you deploy additional offices, maybe they'll be through acquisitions or through organic growth of a company, those users of those additional offices will need to access your company resources.
Now, a cloud-based solution is a great way to provide resources for those users without having to establish a direct link to your company's main office. You're also providing for those users the ability to access resources that are safely backed up in the cloud and that are reliably accessible as well in the cloud. You don't need to deploy servers, data centers, or resources for the smaller branch offices when you can just provide a set of resources in the cloud directly.
Again, a more efficient way to deploy an office and a quicker way to get to a final solution. If you're deploying a new organization, maybe you're establishing a new network from scratch, maybe this is a brand new company that's starting up, maybe you're in a true startup mode in terms of establishing the needs of your users and your user population, well, if you want to have the ability to scale based on this new network starting up small and probably getting big, the cloud solution will provide the ability to scale up in terms of the type of machines that you'll be running and scale out in terms of the number of virtual machines that you'll be running and the amount of resources that you'll be making accessible to all your users.
As well, if you're starting up and deploying a new network, you no longer have to look for the expertise that is required to deploy a physical network infrastructure. You'll still be depending on your telecommunication links to ensure that you have a solid and reliable connection to Azure. However, the data center requirements are no longer going to be there if you decide to deploy a cloud-based solution for your network. Remember that you'll still need the expertise required to deploy the specific services. For example, if you decide to deploy SharePoint or SQL into Azure virtual machines, you'll still need to have administrators or expertise that is able to manage those SharePoint servers or those SQL servers.
So definitely you'll be able to save on some resources, but other resources will still be very essential to the proper functioning of your end result application. Another business case that allows you to pace yourself in the way that you deploy your cloud-based solution is by first implementing a recovery and high availability solution in the cloud. You can use your on-premises infrastructure and deploy a hybrid cloud, and we've discussed hybrid cloud in other videos in this course where the on-premises solution can coexist with a cloud solution, so you can deploy a hybrid cloud where you have the high availability component of your on-premises solution that is stored in the cloud.
For example, if your data center fails and you have a cluster that has a machine or a node that is available in the cloud, your users may be able to access the data and the services from that virtual machine if your entire data centers becomes unavailable. You may want to use this solution as a pure high availability recovery solution as opposed to a operational access. So you may not want your users to readily access those virtual machines in the cloud. You only want them to use them in the event of a disaster, in the event of a major failure.
So, by deploying your highly available virtual machines in the cloud first, you are testing new waters, you're becoming comfortable with the management tools, and you're becoming comfortable with implementing a level of cloud-based interaction. As well, many organizations have decided that they need off-premises backup. They need to have backups of their servers that are stored somewhere else. This has been common and this has been around for many, many years, even before cloud-based solutions became very popular.
Now, this off-premises backup can now be stored in the cloud. So you can backup your on-premises servers and have the data of those backups be stored in the cloud. Remember, that the cloud-based solutions will allow you to pay for your usage based on the amount of data that you'll be storing. And we've seen how Azure can provide an agent that will then allow you to push your backups up to the cloud and even recover from those backups that are stored in the cloud. Now, there's many other types of solutions and business cases that touch on pieces of Azure that we have not looked in this course.
Azure is a huge product and there are many, many solutions in Azure that we can implement and provide services for our users. We didn't look at SQL databases. And SQL databases can be stored natively in Azure or we can have our own SQL servers stored in virtual machines on which we can configure our SQL databases. There's also support for additional types of databases that are non-Microsoft databases, such as Oracle or even the NoSQL database. Machine learning solutions as well is a huge benefit of the cloud-based solution that aggregates the computing resources of thousands and thousands of servers and puts them together to be able to perform high computing actions.
And if you need a large amount of computing resources to perform specific actions, a lot of them that are very popular would be around business intelligence, then you can use some of the Machine Learning resources that are stored in Azure. We also have analytics, insights, and remote apps, solutions that provide us more insight into our applications and also give us the ability to push out applications to users without having them install anything on their client computers. So there's many, many solutions that are available in Azure that go beyond what we've looked at in this course, but are all relating to the cloud computing solution.
Again, the ability to use these resources that are not stored internally on your network, that are stored in the Microsoft data centers and that are only used on a subscription or a leasing-based model.
- Understanding Azure subscriptions
- Managing Azure with portals and PowerShell
- Configuring Azure web apps
- Deploying virtual machines
- Configuring virtual machines for high availability
- Managing Azure Active Directory
- Creating Azure virtual networks
- Implementing a VPN
- Performing Azure backups