Skill Level Intermediate
- [Narrator] So, let me start by introducing you to George. George is the IT manager for H + Sport. H + Sport is a small company making sports supplements, and active wear. And they've been trading for nearly 15 years. They're a small company with two offices, and around 150 employees. To support their business H + rely on several different line of business applications that they host themselves on premise. Now I wouldn't call this a data center as such, but they do have a rack of servers in their main office that hosts things such as their accounting system, Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Exchange, and some production management software that's essential to the day-to-day operations of their business. In addition to this, they also have a website that's hosted for them by a third party hosting provider. So what's the problem? Well, there are actually several problems, and it's got to a stage now where the current IT infrastructure is starting to impact the business in negative ways. First up, there's the infrastructure. The company isn't keen to make a capital investment in new IT equipment. Many of the servers are several years old, and the cost of maintaining them is starting to mount up. And it's not just the hardware that needs maintaining, the software too need regular updates and daily management. And while George tries his best, he's struggling to keep on top of it. Some applications are several years old, and shortly coming out of support. This burgeoning IT system is also impacting the business in other ways too. The management would like to have tighter integration between the website and the CRM system. And a major customer has recently announced plans to move to a digital ordering system. And they want the company to expose an API to enable them to do this. Now, the situation at H + isn't as unusual as you might think. You see, small companies typically start out with a server tucked away under a desk. And as the business grows, they pile more and more infrastructure and services around it. The trouble is that the business then becomes so reliant on the IT that it can actually become a barrier to the core aims of the business. Remember, H + isn't a software company, they make and sell sports supplements, and that's what they'd like to focus on. So, what's the solution? Well, they could make a big capital investment in new infrastructure. They could fill their racks with new servers, and load up the latest versions of the software. They could employ more staff. Spend money on training. That sort of thing. There are two problems here though. Firstly, there's the investment. As the business, they really want to be investing in the profit centers, the parts of the business that generate income. Secondly, it's a short-term fix. The hardware will still need replacing in a few years time. The licenses will still need renewing. And the servers still need maintaining. But there is another option. Instead of hosting all their software and services themselves, H + could migrate their infrastructure to Microsoft Azure. Now I know what you're going to say next, "What's Microsoft Azure?" Well, there are several ways I could answer that question, but let's try and keep things simple to start with. Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform. Now there are several cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. Azure is the offering from Microsoft. Now, you can think of the cloud platform as a collection of services that your company can use to drive your business. In fact, Azure offers over 200 distinct services. Now, using a cloud service such as Azure allows you to benefit from huge economies of scale. Microsoft provide the data centers, and all of the infrastructure, and you, along with many millions of other customers, pay for the services you use, typically on a consumption model. That is, you only pay for the processing time or storage that you consume. Many services are even free, up to a certain point. And there are many tools available for cost management. Now cloud services fall into three categories. Firstly, you have infrastructure as a service. Here we're normally talking about virtual machines. Azure offers Windows virtual machines, Linux virtual machines, and a range of container services. There are also many other services in this category too. Such as networking, firewalls and security. What we're doing here is essentially renting a piece of infrastructure. Microsoft looks after the physical hardware and networking, but you're responsible for installing and maintaining the software that's installed on the machine. I'll talk about this more later on in the course. You then have Platform as a Service. Now with Platform as a Service, Microsoft is still responsible for the hardware and networking side of things, but this time they also look after the operating system side of things as well. Now I'm deliberately simplifying this, but essentially with Platform as a Service, your only responsibility is the actual application or code that you run on that service. There are many applications that sit under the banner of Platform as a Service such as Azure App Service, which is used for running web applications. Service fabric, which is a platform for hosting discreet web services at scale. App Servers Mobile apps, which can be used to provide backends for pairing mobile applications. We also have services like Azure SQL, which is a managed SQL server offering. Cosmos DB, which is a powerful, and highly scalable database. And Logic Apps that allow you to build powerful integrations between your different apps and services without writing any code. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more services. But hopefully this gives you a sense of what's available. Finally, we have Software as a Service. Now think back to H +'s software. They run Dynamics CRM and Exchange on their own infrastructure. They maintain the hardware and the software, and they pay for all of it. Now both Dynamics CRM and Exchange can be purchased on a Software as a Service model, as well as software like Microsoft Office, which is available through Microsoft Office 365. With Software as a Service, it's like a subscription. You don't have to worry about the hardware or the software updates, maintenance, or any of that. You don't need a big upfront investment either. You just pay for what you use. And it's typically licensed on a per-user basis. Now this course is all about how a company like H +, or perhaps a company like your own, can migrate their existing applications, and infrastructure to Azure. And it's not nearly as complicated as you might think. It does however require a little bit of planning. And thankfully, Microsoft provides some excellent tools to help us do that. So let's take a look at those next.