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What is Microsoft Azure?

With the recent end of life of Windows Server 2003, instead of just moving to Windows Server 2012 R2, you should also look into taking advantage of Microsoft Azure (IaaS). 

Azure is an open and flexible platform that provides all the building blocks to quickly build, deploy, and manage cloud-based solutions. Azure offers a wide range of usage-based services across applications, compute, storage, and network. You can build applications using any language, tool, or framework. In addition, you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

3 things you need to make hybrid cloud model work.

  1. First of all, you need cloud options on demand. You need to be able to extend to the cloud when it makes sense for your business and according to your own company’s needs. Your datacenter today is configured to meet the specific needs of your business, and your cloud solution should meet that same standard. Think about consistency across clouds, management of heterogeneous resources, and workload mobility.
  2. Next, you need to reduce cost and complexity. There’s a common misperception that moving to hybrid cloud is going to increase the burden on IT. You need to take advantage of innovation in the right way—meaning real-world solutions to old problems.
  3. Finally—and most importantly—you have to be able to deliver a rapid response to the business. Transforming the datacenter has to make you faster. So whatever resources you add or whatever changes you make, the standard is: has it enabled IT to deliver services more rapidly?

What does Microsoft offer?

With the Microsoft product set, you can have a datacenter without boundaries, which means you have the ability to go beyond the resources you have on-premises. You can easily access cloud resources when it makes the most sense for your business:

  • To build new applications or websites that require global scale in a snap
  • To scale infrastructure at a moment’s notice to meet the most demanding business requirements
  • To reduce storage, backup, and recovery costs

And you get a consistent experience across datacenter and cloud deployments so that you can use existing skills to take advantage of the new hybrid model. With more hybrid cloud options available, you can take advantage of Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services using the same virtual machine format as Windows Server.

Then you want to be able to take advantage of cloud innovation everywhere. Microsoft's Global Foundation Services organization supports over one billion customers and two hundred billion businesses running on Microsoft Cloud Services in 76 markets worldwide.

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And then really the most important piece of all is dynamic application delivery. The goal of creating all this infrastructure is to make you faster and more agile when responding to the needs of the business. That means you need to master automation and use it wherever you can to get routine tasks out of your way. Microsoft lets you provision, deploy, monitor, and manage nearly everything—applications and infrastructure—from a consistent platform across clouds so that you can provide the best possible service to the business.

Let’s look in more detail at each of these three areas.

  • Once you have pooled resources or a private cloud in place in your own datacenter, you can take the next step and expand outside the datacenter—connecting to Microsoft Azure or a service provider cloud. This gives you a nearly endless set of resources to draw on as needed. The main question you need to consider is where and when to leverage public cloud resources. Think about workload mobility, workloads with unpredictable demand, or just look at where you could reduce costs with cloud resources.
  • Microsoft Azure offers an ideal platform to extend your own datacenter capacity. You can easily access Azure resources when it makes the most sense for your business: new applications or websites that require global scale in a snap, infrastructure that needs to scale at a moment’s notice to meet the most demanding business requirements, or cloud economics that let you reduce your on-premises costs for storage, backup, and recovery. And you get consistency across clouds so that when you’re taking advantage of the new hybrid model, you’re not adding a lot of complexity to the process. 
  • In a recent IDC Cloud Survey, 60 percent* of customers polled said that the cloud solution provider (CSP) they work with needs to be somebody they have a trusted relationship with in order to make them their vendor of choice. In addition, approximately 65 percent also said that the CSP should be able to offer to move their cloud solution back on-premises if needed. Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services uses the same virtual machine format as Windows Server. Both are running Windows Server 2012, giving you the flexibility to move your workloads where you need them. And unlike other providers, Microsoft charges you only for what you use, by the minute not the hour, and we financially back all of our SLAs.

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