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Microsoft Azure OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Microsoft Azure is #1 ranked solution in top Infrastructure as a Service Clouds and PaaS Services. PeerSpot users give Microsoft Azure an average rating of 8 out of 10. Microsoft Azure is most commonly compared to Oracle Cloud Platform: Microsoft Azure vs Oracle Cloud Platform. Microsoft Azure is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 65% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 29% of all views.
What is Microsoft Azure?

Windows Azure is Microsoft's cloud platform, where developers can create, deploy, and maintain their apps. This cloud application platform allows developers to concentrate on the actual applications, while it takes care of all the elements behind the apps.

Windows Azure works across multiple frameworks and languages. It is fully scalable, localized in that it is hosted globally in many datacenters, and has widespread capabilities with elements of application development, deployment, and management.

Azure is comprised of several different service modules, including Infrastructure; Web; Mobile; Dev & Test; Big Data; Media;Storage, Backup & Recovery; and Identity & Access Management.

Microsoft Azure works as a:

  1. Platform as a service (PaaS)
  2. Software as a service (SaaS)
  3. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Microsoft Azure is available:

  • On-premises
  • Hybrid
  • Multi-cloud
  • At the edge

Compared to its competitors, Microsoft Azure:

  • Has more affordable features
  • Has easier migration for organizations already using other Microsoft tools
  • Has several educational resources available
  • Provides robust support
  • Is ideal for small and large businesses

Microsoft Azure Features:

  • Scalability
  • Stability
  • Flexibility
  • Azure Site Recovery
  • Active Directory
  • Monitoring features
  • Cloud-based
  • Automated tasks
  • Change capability cadence
  • Showback capabilities
  • Information protection
  • Azure Data Lake
  • Excellent portal
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Remote desktop
  • Fast provisioning
  • Data security
  • Data resiliency
  • Speed of service
  • Integrated delivery pipeline
  • Disaster recovery
  • Robust templates
  • Flexible coding languages
  • Virtual systems testing

Benefits of Microsoft Azure:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Because Microsoft Azure is an IaaS, organizations can deploy as well as manage applications easily and quickly. Azure also provides you with the ability to customize the cloud software to meet your specific business needs.
  • Seamless integration: Microsoft Azure is built to seamlessly integrate with existing IT departments via hybrid databases, secure private connections, and storage solutions.
  • Cost-effective: Because Azure can harmoniously exist in your business environment with your data center, it is a very cost-effective solution.
  • Analytics support: Azure is designed with built-in support that is used to analyze data and provide key insights. Azure offers Cortana Analytics, Stream Analytics, Machine Learning, and SQL services.
  • Unique storage system: Compared to other cloud services, Microsoft Azure has more data centers and delivery points, which helps create an optimal user experience and also helps deliver content faster. In addition, Microsoft Azure makes it possible for organizations to exchange content across several virtual machines.
  • Enhanced flexibility: Azure provides extreme flexibility by allowing you to choose any level of functionality you require. It also supports many of the same technologies IT teams and developers usually depend on, making it easier for them to manage.
  • Easy implementation: Microsoft Azure is easy and quick to deploy. If necessary, you can change web apps to Azure with almost zero downtime.

Reviews from Real Users:

"It is a flexible solution that is straightforward to use," says the principal consultant at a computer software company.

OmarJ., future datacenter consultant: Microsoft Azure Cloud at a tech company, adds that "The user interface is very nice and makes everything easy to use."

You can build an environment in minutes. It's very good in terms of being an infrastructure as a service, and I found that really fascinating,” says an information technology consultant at a computer software company.

"I think Azure's level of automation to achieve efficiency or agility is valuable. I also like the change capability cadence, the showback capabilities, and understanding what our costs are," says an enterprise architect at an energy/utilities company.

Marco C., Ing. at Wolters Kluwer, says "The valuable features of Microsoft Azure are that it is cloud-based and has good storage. The storage is completely managed by Azure. We do not need to do any patching of security because it is handled by Azure which is a benefit. The solution is fully compatible with the Microsoft technology stack and is very scalable."

"The most valuable feature of Microsoft Azure is it has everything together in one place. It is one large tool with lots of small tools that are updated often," says the owner of a media company.

Microsoft Azure was previously known as Windows Azure, Azure, MS Azure.

Microsoft Azure Buyer's Guide

Download the Microsoft Azure Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2022

Microsoft Azure Customers

BMW, Toyota, easyJet, NBC Sports, HarperCollins, Aviva, TalkTalk Business, Avanade, and Telenor.

Microsoft Azure Video

Microsoft Azure Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Microsoft Azure pricing:
  • "Pricing of Microsoft Azure services depends on the build of what you prepare to deploy."
  • "It is important to consider ROI when looking at the cost of a subscription."
  • "The cost of Microsoft Azure depends on the services that are used and there can be a discount at a corporate level from Microsoft."
  • "It's a metered environment, and it's pay-as-you-go. That's the big challenge with a metered environment."
  • Microsoft Azure Reviews

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    Principal Consultant at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
    Top 20
    This helps us meet multiple requirements other PaaS solutions do not but there is a lot of room for improvement
    Pros and Cons
    • "It is a flexible solution that is straightforward to use."
    • "Stability can suffer in the context of a large architecture."

    What is our primary use case?

    I work with our enterprise architecture. In my network, there are almost 400 total applications. I have been working here for almost six months on a network migration and in those six months, I have been working with many of those applications that have been included with the involvement of Azure in the migration.   

    We are migrating everything from the old network to a new architecture. There are multiple teams that I work with and people work with me throughout the organization. I review all the target architectures and the deployment and everything that comes along with the pieces of the migration that involve Azure. Any issues, large or small, I have to look into. These issues might be simple certificate issues or they may involve multiple interfaces that need to be used for a solution.  

    Because we have a very complex system, it is not easy to complete the migration. The landscape also has a mixture of different technologies and platforms. If I have to customize, I just get a Terraform script or ARM template from a developer who is assigned to that task. I review all that stuff that they give to me.  

    When we went to the version of Azure that we use now, there are certain solutions that we created. If we had trouble, we worked with Microsoft to create that solution for our organization and the problems that needed to be solved.  

    We define our own solutions with Microsoft that are not available in the open market. Because of the way we have used Azure, we do not really have a very focused end-product. It is a highly customized product that we have built using many tools.  

    Azure is now a mixture of solutions. There are certain applications, which are IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) applications, where we just go and use them. Then there are certain applications that are a mixture of IaaS and PaaS (Platform as a Service). For certain parts, we use private clouds, public clouds, or hybrid clouds. We originally wanted to use more public clouds, but as we proceed, we are moving into more hybrid mechanisms. In the future, I don't know exactly what direction we will take because the technologies and the climate are changing so quickly.  

    But right now, we are only using Azure with images being created from the existing architecture. For Azure, we use private cloud, public cloud, and mixed, or hybrid cloud as needed and all of these work together.  

    In the future, we may go for some specific function-based services or even open-market APIs. We can use open APIs with Azure. API management is also possible. So there are a lot of permutations and combinations that go with each application based on sizing and NFR (Non-functional Requirements) validation.  

    For Microsoft Azure, we use the product itself as a platform, I work mostly with their services. These can be PaaS services or DNS services, monitoring services, storage services — basically all the supporting services that are available to us with Azure. Anything that is not available, we try to build on PaaS. If the services we want are not available, I have to do a complete fabrication.  

    So we use mostly PaaS services for most of the supporting services and then we work further in solution optimization, which is something we can accomplish through Azure. Ultimately all that depends on the budget. If a company is ready to spend on a cloud solution, an ROI (Return on Investment) model helps. The amount of customizations and the real need for a solution comes out of the realities of the ROI.  

    Our contracts are based on supplying solutions for what the customer needs. If they have selected that a particular application will be available and make this a system mandate which we have to flow, then we have to keep those applications. Azure is one of the tools that we are using to help make these kinds of customizations and to meet their expectations after the migration.  

    How has it helped my organization?

    Azure gives us a different form of PaaS to work with during our migration and helps us to meet multiple requirements that current solutions do not provide in any one product. 

    What is most valuable?

    One of the most valuable things about Azure, I think, is that it is pretty straightforward. There are well-defined processes and it is not a bad product to work with. I only work on Azure right now most of the time. I cannot directly compare it with other solutions in the present situation because it is not always practical to consider every solution. Certain platforms on the market are very strong with other services. For example, Kubernetes on RedHat Openhift is better for working with AWS. But I have to ask from a usability, a complexity and a budget standpoint if that is really required.  

    If I do my work and my applications are sorted out well in advance, I do not have any issues. From a user perspective — not from a cloud architect or enterprise architect perspective — my requirements are being met. As long as these requirements are met, I do not see anything as a showstopper. If there is a showstopper which I think I absolutely can not solve with Azure and I think another solution would handle, then possibly we may go into a multi-cloud scenario.  

    That is also a limitation for our organization. The goal is never to seek complexity. Personally, I think there is no direct comparison between what solution is better and what solution is worse. There are only solutions that work or are capable of doing something and those solutions which can not do it, or were not designed to do it, or do not want their product to do it, et cetera.  

    Part of my place in working with these solutions as part of my process is working with products I am comfortable with. So the more that I use Azure, the more comfortable I get with what it can do as a solution, and the more comfortable I am using it. If I started using AWS more, I would get more comfortable with AWS and maybe incorporate that more heavily in the solutions.  

    What needs improvement?

    There are some small things that could be done to improve Azure. I think they should actually do more to implement function as a service. It is a completely separate capability that they currently do not address. Function as a service can be a completely different scheme altogether than PaaS or IaaS which it does quite well.  

    For an example of a FaaS, I think the Azure product can be stronger in terms of storage. I would like to see it have better management systems as a service specifically for managing documents. Right now they are handled as a more generalized object.  

    Say Azure came out with Microsoft Document Management and it was very strong as a service. It would not have to be deployed as a complete infrastructure. I would be able to use that as a service inside my organization and it is a product that any organization can use.  

    The question is what is the separate USP (Unique Selling Point) that Microsoft will provide to the user that would fit a unique need when making FaaS solutions available. Document management systems have already been proven to be very popular by Google. Microsoft Office uses OneDrive storage. There may be a better way to promote document management in a more general PaaS. Sometimes it is very useful to virtualize a platform or an infrastructure, but in the same way, it is sometimes valuable to virtualize a function. Applications may be a collection of functions.  

    It is this type of branching out of services that Azure can do within the structure they already have.  

    They are targeting Azure into specific domains and not working as much with open-source as they could. That would be helpful. I think eventually this approach will just drive the competition away. If I have a product that is very good for manufacturing as a function — something like is being done with Edge — it might be beneficial for Azure to be able to tie in this FaaS and let manufacturing clients start working with the solution without having to reach outside of Azure. Right now that I do not see that happening and it is an opportunity that Microsoft is missing with Azure.  

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I am responsible for designing our migration, so I have to work with Azure to define the parts of that solution. I had previously been using AWS mostly for personal services so I was familiar with PaaS platforms, but I have now also been using Azure exclusively for the last six months to supplement the functionality we require.  

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product is stable. There are a few qualifications attached to that.  

    I think the stability of Azure varies depending on the workloads. It is more stable from the perspective of how it behaves in a mid-size deployment. For a very, very large implementation, I have yet to see that same kind of inherent stability. I believe it is because of the complexity of the client's system or architecture.  

    You may be able to say that if it is more of a Microsoft product landscape, then possibly it is more stable in general. The more that there is a mixture of technologies, then it will tend to be less stable. No application can be stable in every circumstance.  

    As the project I am engaged in is very large, we have experienced some episodes of instability. We solve the stability problems as we go along to a great extent. But I think there are a lot of situations that have to be dealt with in real-time. Though we have direct contact with a Microsoft team architect, it is difficult for them at times to just jump in and solve an issue. You can not usually solve a problem instantly looking down at it from 55,000 feet when the situation on the ground is very, very complex.  

    At first, they only have generalized solutions to your problem. I think they need an extension of the existing team. This would be like a core team to work with client organizations to do case studies to define patterns in what is causing instabilities.  

    Because Azure is cloud technology and cloud comes with its own problems, these bleed over into Azure stability. All these patterns that contribute to instability have to come out in order to be solved. As Microsoft collects more case studies and more knowledge of where these problems tend to occur, this should enable them to stabilize the product against those issues.  

    Overall, I would say Microsoft Azure is a stable solution, but even as a stable solution, it usually has some bugs or glitches.  

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    As of today, we have almost 1,000 people using the solution. We have a very big migration project that will last for the next four to five years before it is completed. They have many applications and many users for those applications. If the volume of users or applications were to scale, that should not be a problem.  

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I do not really have much direct contact with the Azure or Microsoft support teams. We have a separate team for that. I have a great architect that I work with here (Sweeden). But if an issue comes up, the application team goes to work on it to support the resolution. It is their option to contact Azure to raise that issue or resolve it themselves.  

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I was using AWS before Azure, but I was using it mostly for my own personal needs. I was deploying my own applications. I used it for about two years but not from a company perspective. I deployed my own applications in the public cloud and loaded them there for use at a personal level.  

    In the company right now, I am only using Microsoft Azure. The company itself is using everything, really. At this point, my experience in the company is specialization as the person who is helping to utilize Azure.  

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was simple and it is simple for a simple application. If I want to build with a simple application, I simply go do that. But if I have a very heavy interface-based application, then the choices become more difficult and involved.  

    If I have a WebSphere application, that is easy. A complex platform or a complex interface dependence becomes difficult to implement because of restrictions. If I can not simply go and deploy as it is, obviously it is more complex to deploy in the system.  

    For a small company with a typical landscape of Microsoft technology, it becomes very easy to work with Azure. It is possible to go through that setup by yourself and test your servers and the entire functionality. 

    After deployment, you will require maintenance. We can not simply have a production list and push everything out. You need pre-production, testing, and then deployment. All that has to be done on Azure.  

    There are a lot of things you will have to work out with security certificates. Meanwhile, things keep on changing in the product itself. New upgrades keep on rolling out. If the old version does not support the new upgrade, then you will need to get involved with patching and other upgrades to take care of the issues that are introduced.  

    We have a dedicated team for maintenance. We know we need to do testing and that is why we created tasks for that. But, generally, I think complexities in the setup depend upon what applications you are building. Simple applications and simple systems make for simple deployment.  

    What about the implementation team?

    We are working with the vendor directly. We also have contacts with Microsoft. Microsoft directly provides us all the tools and information we need for implementations.  

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The pricing of Azure depends on the build of what you prepare. You can optimize everything, and with Azure, you can optimize your utility and costs. For example, say you create a subscription and you want to do more backups and you want a private cloud for that. This will affect your cost differently than if you do not add the backups with Azure or if you add the services with a public or hybrid cloud.  

    We have very good, large contracts with big organizations. We do very high-level analytics and modeling to predict outcomes. For example, we may show that a certain solution that we implement with Azure will be likely to reduce a company's cost from the current level to 50% over the next five years. That, to me, is important when considering the cost of a subscription. It is not just the cost perspective that is important, but the ROI as well.  

    What other advice do I have?

    I would definitely recommend Azure as a solution because it is a popular product by a major brand and it is very easy to use. I think those people I would recommend it to should normally be those who understand the cloud and the advantages and disadvantages. I use it for a lot of things and I do not see any problems. I love it now as a solution so I would recommend it. But if I have a different experience with another very large migration project using a different product, I would have to compare Azure with that. I may get more comfortable with the other product for reasons I have not discovered yet.  

    On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate Microsoft Azure as a seven-out-of-ten. It is a good product and I love using it but it could do even more and has a lot of possibilities to grow as part of a relatively new technology. The future is more open than closed to the possibilities.  

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Hybrid Cloud
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Assistant Manager at a computer software company with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Optimized cloud solution with reliable recovery and fail services
    Pros and Cons
    • "Microsoft Azure is an optimized solution when we compare it to any other particular cloud solution."
    • "There are multiple DevOps solutions and tools available in Microsoft Azure, but most of the time they are either in the build mode, meaning you don't get complete support for them because they are either making changes, or changing the names of the particular services. Sometimes, services vanish from the portal. We are not able to see that. I think they actually change the names of the services."

    What is our primary use case?

    I am a technology consultant and pre-sales cloud solution architect.

    What is most valuable?

    These are the features I have found most valuable with Azure. For any particular cloud world, when we talk about the cloud computing model, it is all about agility, availability, how you are trying to scale up your environment, how you're providing high availability, your disaster recovery mechanism, and what is the service availability matrix that you're following? We then talk about the workloads which are being supported on the Microsoft platform. Then we come to the commercial side of those workloads. For example, if we are trying to migrate the Windows workload, then Microsoft Azure offers a lot of benefits for Windows and SQL licenses. We can include that in the picture while we are trying to draw a comparison between different providers. Because AWS does not provide that DAM facility, though there is something that they provide, but you need to put it on the installs, not on RDS. Make it easy to install.

    The second thing about Azure is that if we talk about Gartner, IDC and Forrester, although AWS is leading the chart in the leader's quadrant, when we look at the recent growth and what companies are acquiring and how much business they are pulling in year to year, there is a greater spike in the Microsoft Azure growth as compared to AWS.

    I have worked as a cloud solution architect in India and Microsoft Azure works on data centers. They have three different geographical locations where they put the data centers. So as per the ISO 27001 BSI compliance for DR, disaster recovery mechanism, you need to make sure that the primary and secondary data centers are separated by a geographical zone - which Microsoft Azure adheres to. That definitely makes it a good choice for the client who wants the data to be in India and to also follow the BSI compliance.

    Other factors include the Azure Site Recovery. The ASR one-stop DR solution provides RPO and RTO. It also gives you failover and failback scenarios. AWS did not have that kind of platform earlier. They had DM, DMS and SMS for small scale and medium scale app and database migration, but they didn't have a one-stop DR solution. They recently acquired cloud in their platform. Microsoft Azure also recently acquired cloud. They have built that particular platform into their Azure Migrate, which is their cloud feasibilities function provider. If we need to do a feasibility assessment or dependency mapping, we can use that particular tool or the Azure Migrate. It's a very good tool. I use that tool for multiple things.

    I am trying to draw a comparison between the two leading cloud providers.

    When we try to do backup scenarios, Azure Site Recovery is supported with all kinds of platforms. But it is not capable when you are trying to do recovery of a database or a recovery of an application server which are already on HA, high availability. HA would mean that you have only done the clustering. If there was clustering there, then definitely the ASR does not support it. But if you don't have HA, if you don't have the clustering done, then definitely ASR would be supported in that particular scenario. You can also do big database migrations with the Azure Site Recovery if there is a single database. Otherwise, you can use native database solutions to migrate them to cloud. For example, SQL Enterprises uses the Always On, where you introduce a new machine into the clustering. Then you try to put that as a secondary, and then you migrate.

    Otherwise, if you have SQL Standard, then you can use a log sheet mechanism, which can be used to migrate the data. For SAP HANA, you can use HSR, HANA Service Replication, and for Oracle you can use the Data Guard, the negative solutions supported, but definitely Azure is doing that, as well. When we talk about a typical DR scenario, the cost that you are giving within Microsoft Azure would be storage, then the Azure Site Recovery cost, and then the network readiness. Microsoft Azure is an optimized solution when we compare it to any other particular cloud solution.

    What needs improvement?

    In terms of what could be improved with Azure, I would like to see something like what Google has created with their cross-platform solution, Anthos. I would like to see some features like Anthos has. Secondly, there are multiple DevOps solutions and tools available in Microsoft Azure, but most of the time they are either in the build mode, meaning you don't get complete support for them because they are either making changes, or changing the names of the particular services. Sometimes, services vanish from the portal. We are not able to see that. I think they actually change the names of the services.

    For example, they had advanced data analytics in Office 365. They actually removed it and they now include all those features in Windows Defender. 

    One more thing that I would like to say is that AWS works on availability zones. You have multiple availability zones in a particular region, which means that in that particular region you have more than one data center. If any of their single data centers fail, they can do a failover to the next immediate data center, which is in the same region. But in the case of Azure, if the data center fails for one particular region, they need to do a failover to different region altogether, which is separated by a geographical distance. That will be a kind of DR scenario.

    Microsoft should focus on the higher availability of data centers where they can have more than one data center in a single region. I think they have implemented that kind of solution in the USA. They are going to do it soon in Europe and other countries as well, but it still is an upcoming feature. It's not completely built. They need to build that. 

    The second thing which I feel regarding Microsoft Azure in India, is that they have less case studies when we talk about SAP on Azure as compared to SAP on AWS. There are fewer numbers of case studies on the portal. You can't find any. Whereas when you go into the India section for AWS, you will find plenty in terms of SAP and cloud.

    Case studies are not there. If you have case studies, good case studies of large banks or any kind of government sectors, those case studies would definitely help to build customer trust on that particular platform.

    There is one more thing which I would like to talk about in terms of costing. When you talk about AWS, they have three different types of costing models - partial upfront, no upfront, and all upfront. Azure has two models, all up front and no upfront. But also in these costing models, AWS has multiple other payment modes in terms of one-year or three-year. Azure does not have that. It lacks that particular costing mechanism, which it needs so there are more costing models. There is a lack of pricing flexibility, and I would like to see more costing models and licensing.

    The third thing I would like to say, is that Azure was pretty bad in terms of the recent service off-time for Microsoft Azure and AWS. They didn't complete 99.99% of service they provide to the customers as compared to AWS. AWS data centers have also gone out recently, I think, four or five service interruptions, but definitely Azure should be keeping that in mind. I think with the help of clustering data centers in a single region, they can achieve that.

    I do not want to take any credit away from Azure or AWS, but definitely Anthos is a big plus point for DCP. Azure should also build that kind of platform. Secondly, they can work on creating more data centers to build the regional availability,  which AWS already has across geography. The third thing they can work on is their costing models and the RI models - make them a bit more flexible for the client.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working on Azure for the past seven years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Regarding stability, Azure is doing well in terms of IES portfolio. They need to progress on the implementation of more data centers in a single region, which would increase their service level agreement by a little. They definitely need to work on their DevOps services. AWS' DevOps services are pretty good. If you go into ratings, the leading raters or the leading magazines, Forrester or Gartner or IDC, rate AWS services much higher compared to Azure. So, they need to increase on their service.

    The third thing on the stability factor is that they publish more cases on the core infrastructure migration, the mission critical applications like SAP migration or Apple migrations. Putting the case studies on the portal would alleviate the doubt that Azure is stable. Azure is stable, but the case studies have to be there to support that.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    When we talk about scale and scale out mechanisms, this works pretty seamlessly in Azure. For example, if I need to use the spot instances that AWS has (spot instances are those instances which are actually created at times when you need a high memory or a high CPU for some time) you can configure a spot instance and the spot instance occurs, and it does the load checkpoint. Azure does the same thing with scaling out. However, one thing regarding RI is that AWS does not support that, but when I am in a particular RI, for example my family is the DS series, I am in DS3 or DS4, if I want to scale up, I can scale up with the same RI, but if I need to scale down, I cannot scale down unless I remove that RI and create a new one. I cannot scale into a different family altogether.

    Cross-family scaling is not there. Cross-family scaling would help because sometimes being on cloud machines which are in RI, those machines have been used for one year and are currently a very small application host or they are hosting applications or IA services, etc... Now, that particular application has been, or is getting decommissioned, and the company wants to leave the same RI machines for a different application altogether for which they want that particular application to perform on a higher computer issue. For that particular thing I need to cancel that RI and with the remaining my budget, and with the call deduction that Microsoft does, I need to purchase a new RI. If the cross-family RI is there, then it is definitely smoother, and the priority won't be there. So, it will not be an economic blow for the company.

    How are customer service and support?

    When you open a normal case, Azure has a response matrix. They don't have a resolution matrix - at what particular time that will be resolved. The maximum resolution matrix is not there. But when we talk about the premium support, then Azure has a response matrix and a resolution matrix, and they also have the escalation matrix.

    When I was working in Progressive Infotech, we had the advanced support subscription with Microsoft Azure Support. We were given multiple hours of advanced support. We were also provided with other things. I felt then that when you're opening a support ticket, and the support ticket priority is less or if the ticket that you opened is not in the premium bracket, the resolution will be late and the support matrix won't follow the time. They have a response. I think the response matrix is there for basic support and for advanced support. Premium support has the resolution matrix, as well. But the support center needs to have a service level agreement, which has the response matrix, the resolution matrix, and escalation matrix. That will build more trust from the partners in the OEM. AWS actually does not have that, but their response and resolution are pretty good because all the cases that you open in AWS are paid.

    How was the initial setup?

    Azure materials are pretty good compared to AWS, or any other platform materials. Azure has multiple platforms, and MS Learn is where you can learn about the platforms and the services. Then you have Docs.Microsoft.com, which you can use as a troubleshoot document or understanding of how to implement that solution. With the help of Microsoft Azure, the Microsoft platform, you have multiple types of cases which you can open in the Microsoft Portal. The premium cases are there. Then you have support cases, as well. Azure is pretty good there. Their support matrix is pretty good. The materials are there, the support matrix is there. So, that is pretty good.

    What other advice do I have?

    Microsoft Azure has multiple levels that an organization can take. Once they had the silver, bronze and the gold partnerships, and in terms of the productivity there is the Office 365 suite or the Azure suite, and they have specialty certifications, as well. You have the premium certifications. If you are also providing support to the client, then as a manager you can join Microsoft as an expert MSP. I think there are 50 or 55 in the country. It started at 15, and it grew to 55. Because many companies who are putting out tenders or an RFP or RFQ, mention in the PQ criteria that the partner should be MSP certified.

    It would definitely help. It would act as a USP for you because there are multiple companies in India, more than hundreds and hundreds of companies in India and outside India. The customer would know the first company which is an expert MSP and the Microsoft partners would also give the lead to those export MSPs. Currently, you can also elevate the level by being on a fast track team, which is a one-stop team for Microsoft implementation and support for the Office 365 platform. The fast track team can be a very good asset because you can get a faster certification and then you сan be on the fast track board. You can actually make money when you do a successful implementation or support for a particular client. So the value is there.

    On a scale of one to ten, I would give Microsoft Azure an eight.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Azure. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2022.
    563,780 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Business Development Executive, Managing Partner at a tech services company with 1-10 employees
    Very reliable IaaS and DaaS, but quite complicated inside.
    Pros and Cons
    • "In terms of scalability, it is perfect."
    • "Microsoft Azure is so complicated inside. If you should do something internally, if you have to configure something, the opinion about Azure is that it is a little complicated inside. That's why the end users and clients are looking for help and why we help them configure and do anything inside of Azure. That is why we offer other tools to optimize the Azure environment."

    What is our primary use case?

    I know Azure. We have the tools for optimized Azure infrastructure. As a partner, as an active integrator, I am looking only for plays to make the deal. I am not an end user, prospector or client. I use it in my projects but I am not buying any solution from Microsoft for ourselves. I am the seller.

    When I talk about the Infrastructure as a Service from the Microsoft, I am referring to a hybrid infrastructure. We are talking about the moving of virtual machines and workload from on-premise system to the Cloud. This is my main topic when we are talking with the client. My technical team worries about the details of how we do this. I am not so good in the technical details.

    In terms of our customers' use cases, in our last project, the customers migrated the SAP system from on-premise to the Azure with SQL as a database. We helped the customer to compare on-premise infrastructures and Infrastructure as a Service in Azure, and to help them migrate the machines, the tech, and the servers from on-premise to the Cloud and to have the tools from the Quest to help them optimize because they did not want to pay so much. They only wanted to pay by use. We are looking for the perfect tier from Azure to finish the project. This was our job. That's why I like the Azure.

    There is not too much perfect information out there about how to optimize the infrastructure. Microsoft is looking for the bills where the sky is the limit but the customer is looking for the real cost. We help the customer and we have the answers regarding which tier or which configuration in Azure is proper for them.

    What needs improvement?

    Microsoft Azure is so complicated inside. If you should do something internally, if you have to configure something, the opinion about Azure is that it is a little complicated inside. That's why the end users and clients are looking for help and why we help them configure and do anything inside of Azure. That is why we offer other tools to optimize the Azure environment.

    Microsoft makes the space for such tools because it is a little complicated and end users know it. That's why we sell these tools to optimize the Azure. I think the Microsoft team knows this and they create the space for other third party partners.

    I know all the points about how the Cloud is so beautiful but if somebody starts to do something inside the Azure, it is a little hard to understand. Many services are so complicated to configure out. That's why sometimes clients are obviously confused inside the Azure. That's why they are looking for help with it and why they are looking for a Microsoft partner with the knowledge of how to connect this software into one solution. From my perspective, I like Azure because it makes me money from the end user clients. But for the customers, their opinion is, "Oh, my god. The AWS is easy."

    It is well-known that Microsoft is not so easy for the end users. Maybe it's because there is a note of everything changing. They add new features and new functionalities. Azure is growing. From my point of view it's okay. From the customers, it's also ok, but they are looking for someone who understands how to configure it.

    From the beginning, the first move to Azure as a solution, it's a long journey with many, many services to find the final configuration for the customer. But it's okay for me.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of scalability, it is perfect. If you are a rich partner or a rich company and you have a lot of money on your credit card, the scalability and the possibility of using Azure is a perfect play. If you want two servers, if you want 200 servers, it's one click. From the marketing point of view, it's the perfect place to spend the money. I think the customers are really worried about the cost. If you request a lot of machines, it's only one click in the setup but the bill for that is so huge. They ultimately worry about how to prepare their production environment just for us. Not for the sky is the limit but for our requirements to help. We have tools for monitoring consumption of the Azure and we can switch virtual machines off when at the end of the day. Customers are happy that we offer that because they are a little worried.

    For example, if you buy one huge service for your on-premise project, you pay for that one service. But if you put a development team on the project and they request a lot of virtual machines because it's so easy to deploy, someone should pay for that. This is literally one big worry from the client side.

    The calculator from Microsoft for Azure is very basic. This tool only shows what you consumed and what you will pay. There is no answer if you want to know how big a credit card you need to run the project. We make money answering exactly how much you really need for your project. We save the budget for the customer. We find opportunities for Microsoft but when the customer is worried, we help them. It's also good for Microsoft because they run the project.

    How are customer service and support?

    We have support but Microsoft is trying to cover only Azure as an infrastructure.

    They are not interested in talking about current applications or current systems from a customer perspective. This is the job for the partner. Microsoft covers only the chief environment. The job for the partner is caring about the customer's real needs. That's our job.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    We only have experience with AWS because for us it doesn't matter whether we run virtual machines on AWS or Azure. If the client is only looking for power servers, then the machine they are looking for is AWS. If they are not only looking for IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, but are also looking for the DaaS or Database as a Service, they are looking for Azure. It is exactly the same way for customers that are using SQL Server. The first choice is Azure.

    If you are looking for Oracle, they're thinking about AWS. Of course, if we are talking about the containerization, about the Kubernetes, AWS is also the first choice for our clients.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup depends on the project. Because we are the Microsoft partner and we have some money for our internal tests we do the setup part. We use Azure infrastructure for our demo when we show our virtual demo machine. For my colleagues, it's not so complicated but we are using only a very small part of Azure.

    When we talk about the real project, it is not so easy. We are using a very basic functionality, but I know from the other projects that it is not so easy to implement, run, test, et cetera because it's always a little complicated. Maybe it's okay. It depends on the current customer's needs.

    What was our ROI?

    ROI is a very tough topic because with the first step, every customer is trying to compare what they pay on the infrastructure and what they will pay in Azure. This is never the same number.

    The challenge is to show to customers the added value because Azure is not only a different type of data center, but is also a place where you can make the innovations and add some new services. It is much easier than on-premise. We have a lot of ready-to-use functionalities on Azure, but the magic is how to use it.

    Sometimes, the customer does not have the knowledge to create new value for the business using the ready-to-use functionality on Azure from the Microsoft offer. This is the challenge.

    Moving the one virtual machine is easy but knowing how to run your business application for the customer, this is the main challenge.

    What other advice do I have?

    My advice to anyone considering Azure is if they want to make jumping to the Azure or to the Cloud easier, they should focus on and discuss what the steps are. When you are on premise, figure out the development and how to configure it to the Azure. I have had so many marketing presentations from Microsoft saying, "Oh, it's easy. You have the Advisor. Blah, blah, blah." This is pure marketing. The clients know it is only a commercial about Azure. If Microsoft wants to really get customers, they should help them step by step by showing them how it is easy and how to control every step of the project. They should care more about the customers during this type of project. If you did 10 project delegations, the next one is much easier, but the first is really not so easy. That's why customers are afraid about migrating to the Azure. "What about the bills? What about how to administrate? How long to build the infrastructure?" There are a lot of questions from the customer side.

    On a scale of one to ten, I would give Microsoft Azure a seven. That is because there is always space for improvement. For me it's okay. It's reliable and it really works.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Future Datacenter Consultant: Microsoft Azure Cloud. at a tech company with 5,001-10,000 employees
    Great environment assessment tools and monitoring features with pretty good scalability
    Pros and Cons
    • "The user interface is very nice and makes everything easy to use."
    • "Support could be improved. If you pay for a higher plan, it's okay, however, the lower plans don't offer as good of a service experience."

    What is our primary use case?

    The solution is basically a platform as a service for web applications, virtual machines, Azure identity, et cetera.

    My day-to-day is to migrate servers using Mover or some other app to access on-premises data centers. We then use Azure Migrate to move the servers in order to take advantage of the new functionalities and things like that.

    What is most valuable?

    The solution offers good monitoring features that allow us to configure items better in the customer environment. The monitoring is really awesome.

    Occasionally, clients have specific requirements for their applications and we can move them onto Azure services or apps. 

    Overall, it offers a better way to move the applications and monitor or configure the applications with higher availability. For example, there are load balancers, different types of layers that load balancers use, traffic managers, Front Door, and things of that nature that are available to us and the client via Azure.

    Overall, I like how the solution works. It offers everything I need, for the most part.

    The user interface is very nice and makes everything easy to use.

    The power share modules have been improved, and the AC module was introduced - which has been great. There are ten or 15 more regions on the way as well.

    The tools on offer are excellent. It has some really great environment assessment tools as well.

    What needs improvement?

    There are preview features we are waiting on. When I contact Microsoft support, there is no timeline given or clear information about when those preview features are going to be on GA, general availability. It would be ideal if they could finally give us at least an estimation of how much longer we have to wait.

    Support could be improved. If you pay for a higher plan, it's okay, however, the lower plans don't offer as good of a service experience. It also seems as though each different tier doesn't talk to the other. they should be able to communicate and share details internally with each other so that they are learning from each other instead of staying siloed.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using the solution for the last few years. I would estimate it's been about five years at this point. It's been a while. I've definitely been using the solution over the last 12 months.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In terms of stability, for me, it works. However, depends on the type of project that's happening. If you're going to have just a virtual machine running there then it can fail. That said, the platform offers a lot of options to improve the capability, so it depends on how much money a client wants to invest.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability works just fine. I've had some issues before with Azure App Service, with an App Service environment allocation, however, Microsoft has improved that, making a bigger rack. Since then, I haven't seen issues with scalability. That was maybe a year ago.  

    We currently have three clients on Microsoft Azure.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    There is room for improvement with technical support. I work with premium support and therefore don't really face issues. We have good engineers. There are some issues when you get a new support person. They have a lot of rotation in their personnel. They train people for a couple of months. They're trying to help however, it's not the same as getting a seasoned professional. It really depends on the support line you buy. If you go for a lower tier, you're likely to get less experienced assistance.  

    How was the initial setup?

    For the most part, the initial setup is straightforward. It was not overly complex. I worked with a Microsoft support engineer. I had contact with the product group and know the technical advisors and technical matters, which made it very easy for me.

    For example, in comparison. I tried to use Amazon Web Services by myself, and I got confused as I didn't have that level of support. With Azure, the interface is nice, and it's pretty straightforward. Anybody with a little bit of technical knowledge about working, virtual machines, or similar items can use it with little to no problem. The implementation is pretty good.

    The time it takes to deploy the solution depends on the customer environment. If they have 25 servers versus five there will be radically different deployment times.

    Typically, we use Microsoft strategies as a foundation assessment. We'll look at the customer environment and be in the background for a couple of weeks to pull some data so we can have a better understanding of the customer environment. After that, we create a plan to start migrating the servers. Each client is unique.

    What about the implementation team?

    I worked alongside a Microsoft support engineer who assisted in the process.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    You do need to pay for technical support and there are different tiers of support you can get. The higher the tier, it seems, the better the service you can expect.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I haven't used AWS or Google Cloud, therefore I don't really ever compare this solution to them. I don't say "this platform has that and I like how this works". For me, Azure just works and it's fine and I don't need to go in-depth and look at other options.

    The company I am working at new does use AWS and we're planning to introduce new cloud technologies as well. 

    I'm not a salesperson, however, I can say that we would move the client to whichever technology made sense to them after doing an evaluation of their requirements. That, of course, is handled by a different department.

    What other advice do I have?

    We are a reseller and a Microsoft Gold partner. We are a CSP, a Cloud Solution Provider. We offer managed services to our customers. We are moving data centers to Azure, however, we are a managed service provider. We have access to the customer's environment in order to pull analytics data to help them with consulting services, and things like that.

    My basic advice to those considering the solution is that planning is essential. Microsoft does a good job of advising their customers at the outset to ensure they get what they need, however, it's helpful to go in and understand deeply what it is your company needs overall. 

    That said, Azure is a strong cloud and its technology is great. Microsoft offers good implementation with service legal agreements and good practices.

    Overall, I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    Marco Cenzato
    Ing. at Wolters Kluwer
    Real User
    Top 20
    Limited maintenance, good interface, helpful support
    Pros and Cons
    • "The valuable features of Microsoft Azure are that it is cloud-based and has good storage. The storage is completely managed by Azure. We do not need to do any patching of security because it is handled by Azure which is a benefit. The solution is fully compatible with the Microsoft technology stack and is very scalable."
    • "The solution should improve the shared cache. For the shared cache, Microsoft uses RADIUS third-party services. We have a lot of trouble with RADIUS and I suppose that is due to the fact that is not owned completely by Microsoft."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our target markets are advisors and all the staff they need to manage for their customers, such as regulatory information, accounting tax, tax income, tax regulation, accounting, balance sheets. We have also targeted different niche countries. It's a very regulated market and these are our principal customer.

    At the corporate level, we have another division. That does not produce or sell software, but content, normative content, educational content.

    For the software division, we work with advisors and payroll consultants.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Microsoft Azure has helped organizations because they no longer need to do a lot of server maintenance.

    What is most valuable?

    The valuable features of Microsoft Azure are that it is cloud-based and has good storage. The storage is completely managed by Azure. We do not need to do any patching of security because it is handled by Azure which is a benefit. The solution is fully compatible with the Microsoft technology stack and is very scalable.

    All the Microsoft Azure's interface for managing the portal is very good and responsive.

    What needs improvement?

    The solution should improve the shared cache. For the shared cache, Microsoft uses RADIUS third-party services. We have a lot of trouble with RADIUS and I suppose that is due to the fact that is not owned completely by Microsoft.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Microsoft Azure for approximately five years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Microsoft Azure is highly stable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Microsoft Azure is scalable in my experience.

    We have approximately 400 customers with many terabytes of data. We have some customers that are using this solution that has 400,000 customers.

    At the moment our product is intensively being used by the advisors that are onboarded because our software is the primary tool for the advisors.

    How are customer service and support?

    If we have a problem with Microsoft Azure we open a ticket with Microsoft and they respond very quickly and are very helpful.

    Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

    I have previously used other solutions but nothing comparable to the Microsoft Azure cloud solution.

    We chose Microsoft Azure because it's tied to Microsoft technologies. We are already working with Visual Studio and other Microsoft technologies, such as .NET, and other on-premise products. The migration path is all shorter and our corporation suggested using Microsoft Azure.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is difficult because when you move into a fully managed cloud environment with a lot of services, you change your mind completely about how you operate and in the first month we had to learn a lot of tasks.

    Looking back to the past the difficulty was not the interface of the solution, there was a lot of information to know and to have knowledge about concepts for cloud service that took time. There was a lot of documentation and finding the correct one can be difficult sometimes. When I used Google to find something, I can find a lot of information but the problem is to find the current information or the most effective information.

    There is a lot of different elements you need to set up or configure, such as the environment, monitoring, deployment of applications, preparing the dashboard for monitoring, and the continuous development integration by clients.

    We have two kinds of deployment, a continuous integration deployment when we don't change the database schema. This is fully unattended and can be done online with no problem for the users. It takes approximately 30 minutes but the time can vary.

    Once a month, or less, there is a major release. In this case, often we modify the database schema. This requires stopping all the applications, no user can have access while the modification to the database is taking place. The operation takes from half an hour to an hour and a half depending on the database schema and the types of modification required. When we change the structure of tables we have hundreds of thousands of records that can take a lot of time.

    We are moving to a more continuous development strategy. We are trying to have more applications because at the moment we have approximately seven web apps and a lot of services, but they are too tightly bound to the database. They're trying to divide them for more flexibility and to have continuous deployment. We had no continuous deployment. Normally we deployed some minor releases once or two a week, and there is a major release once a month. We are moving to have more continuous deployment.

    We are working this year on test automation from unit test integration. They're investing a lot in this because we managed numbers for the tax declaration. Regulation can be problematic.

    What about the implementation team?

    We are producing, maintaining, and are selling solutions for our customers, such as Microsoft Azure. We do not use an integrator.

    We have a two-person team that does the implementation and maintenance of the solution. Once you prepare the infrastructure, sometimes we have to improve by changing some things. Recently we had to prepare for the disaster recovery from Europe to Europe, and we had to invest time in the pipelines and deployment.

    What was our ROI?

    When you have on-premise solutions you have to manage lots of aspects, such as security, patching, large expense, and acquiring hardware and servers. With Microsoft Azure, you have the ability to activate a lot of processing power and then dismiss it when you do not need it. It saves you a lot of money not have to have the infrastructure or the maintenance. 

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    The cost of Microsoft Azure depends on the services that are used and there can be a discount at a corporate level from Microsoft.

    What other advice do I have?

    In the next release of Microsoft Azure, they will be addressing the problem of the continuous  ETL workload to continually extract the data and ingest it in a docker analysis database. This will be released in the next version released in 2022. Microsoft Azure is continuously improving the solution for the market.

    It is important to know that cloud services work differently than on-premise solutions.

    I was talking with our colleague in the internal department to let me test the scalability of his system because we have a process from our application to the online shop. They are having a problem with the scalability test because of their hardware. They have hardware that they can't scale the testing environment. Using Microsoft Azure we do not have these issues because it is on the cloud.

    I rate Microsoft Azure a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Flag as inappropriate
    Information Technology Consultant at a computer software company with 201-500 employees
    Extremely scalable with the capability to build an environment in minutes and offers good automation
    Pros and Cons
    • "The product scales extremely well."
    • "They need to make storage easy and offer more interconnectivity between solutions."

    What is our primary use case?

    I primarily used the solution for hypothetical cases. I used the solution to look at the 2019 active directory environment, some remote SQL storage, and storage access from on-premises to the cloud.

    What is most valuable?

    There's a feature for automated tasks. As an administrator, handling administrative-type tasks, it's quite useful. For example, I was spending lots of money when I would spin things up. I'd spin up a SQL server. I'd spin up different types of things. They cost a lot of money. I would get distracted, walk away, and go to bed. I'd get up in the morning, and I'd see I'd have a bill. Therefore, I spun up an automated task and wrote a PowerShell script, put it in an automated task, and it would run at seven o'clock every night, and delete all my resources. It saved me money.

    You can build an environment in minutes. It's very good in terms of being an infrastructure as a service, and I found that really fascinating.

    All the devices they have up there that replace existing devices in the real world like load balancers or F5 are helpful. I'm not sure how they relate or how they form compared to F5, or the firewalls compare to the ones that are in data centers, however, they looked all right to me.

    The solution is mostly stable.

    The product scales extremely well.

    What needs improvement?

    It's a bit of a mystery how the storage is going to perform. For example, when you've got a storage device like Hitachi or NetApp, you can run reports on that storage and you can do all this good stuff. I'm not sure if that's the case with Azure. A lot of the stuff is kind of proprietary, at the moment.

    The cost is quite high.

    You can't control the data as much as you would like to. When it's theirs, it's theirs. With Hitachi, Hitachi has its own policies. You can move data around based on how much it's used into lower-cost discs and whatnot. You might be able to do that with Azure. However, I can't verify that.

    The initial setup is complex.

    They need to make storage easy and offer more interconnectivity between solutions.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've used the solution for about a year or so. Maybe a year and a half at most. It hasn't been that long.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    In terms of stability, I've seen it go down twice now. They've had two problems with the active directory. That said, I would describe it as stable. They have different sites, regions, and whatnot, where you can move your data around in case you lose a data center or you lose a region. However, if you lose the active directory, that can take everything down.

    It's not any more stable than an enterprise environment, to be honest. Maybe a little bit, however, if you lose a network connection to it, that's not stable.

    I worked in a bank, a huge 50,000 employee enterprise. I saw their infrastructure go up and down about the same, once or twice a year. That's about the same as Azure, therefore, it's not anything different than an enterprise. You can make an enterprise resilient if you have lots of domain controllers and you do lots of redundant paths. 

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The solution is very scalable. It's one of its great selling points. If a company needs to scale, it can do so with ease.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I've never been in touch with technical support. I can't speak to how helpful or responsive they are.

    How was the initial setup?

    For a layperson or someone who is not trained, it wasn't an easy initial setup. It had some complexities.

    I've personally gotten used to the process. The deployment, for example, wouldn't take that long now. While in the beginning, a deployment might take a month, now that I am more comfortable with the solution and more familiar, I can likely do it in a few days. 

    That said, it depends on a company's plans and its own unique environment and complexities. It can vary. Most people seem to struggle with all of the connections they had before.

    The number of people you need to deploy or maintain the solution really depends on the size of the environment. After implementation, you could probably scale back your employees from 10% to 50% with Azure.

    What about the implementation team?

    I can handle an implementation myself. I'm getting better and faster at it.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    I've found the cost to be a bit high. You also get dinged for extra things along the way.

    The charges are also unpredictable. Even if you think something is a relatively static item, they'll charge you for it and it will change your expectation of the cost.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    I've looked at other solutions, such as Hitachi and Netapp.

    The biggest struggle a person would have these days, as an architect, is to determine what the cost-benefit of going to Azure would be rather than going to a storage device such as a Hitachi or a NetApp. Which has better value? What's going to be better in the next couple of years? You can really get screwed if you're going to be pulling data down from the cloud. If you pull a lot of data from the cloud, it's going to cost you. You don't get charged for putting it up. You get charged for pulling it down.

    What other advice do I have?

    I basically used the solution to study.

    I used a few different deployment models. I made an on-prem environment, Hyper-V environment, on my laptop and I connected it to the cloud.

    I'd advise those considering the solution to not put all of their eggs in one basket. By that, I mean, it's a good idea to go hybrid and not full cloud. Going hybrid covers that network loss that you could suffer if you lose the network. If you lost a data center or a region, you could still have your on-prem server running an image of the cloud onsite.

    I'd give the solution an eight out of ten. I haven't had a chance to study AWS or Google, however, I like this solution very much.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Cloud Architect at a legal firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    A classic solution in jeopardy of losing its flexibility due to becoming SaaS
    Pros and Cons
    • "If you're interested in going with Microsoft, my advice would be to do it. Everybody's using Microsoft."
    • "The support, the cost, the way they have the tiers, this could all be improved."

    What is our primary use case?

    I work for a Naval Shipyard. We build fighter ships for fighter aircraft. The Navy is our sponsor. Everything that we do is Navy or Navy-related. A lot of what we do is classified; however, I can say that we do some robotic AI work. 

    Microsoft is our corporate authentication piece, so everything has to authenticate to Microsoft Azure. Everything in the whole entire company has to authenticate there. Even if you're building something, you have to be leading up to the point where it's going to authenticate to Microsoft. They are the vendor of choice, as far as authentication, but they're not the vendor of choice as far as all things at the shipyard. 

    Our entire organization uses this solution. Size-wise, we're similar to a small city.

    What is most valuable?

    No features really stand out in particular. The reason that we use Microsoft Azure is that Microsoft has left us no choice — that's what I would say. If you use Microsoft, you've been curtailed in your on-prem data center. There are certain things we can do with Azure on-prem that we can't do on the cloud. We're now fully in the cloud. But even most of the Office products, which are in Office 365, are still on-prem. I came to this company to do cloud, but the company isn't ready to go to the cloud. It sounds like upper management is going to be changing some of the business structures. The better information I can give upper management, as far as our features and capabilities, will help them to make better business decisions. That's kind of where I am currently.

    What needs improvement?

    The support, the cost, the way they have the tiers, this could all be improved. For example, our company has been purchasing Microsoft Office 365 cloud licensing for approximately five years, and we do not have any production. We have five divisions and these divisions have different classification and levels of data. This company has changed hands over the years. We now lead the was as far as IT, but the corporate office didn't do a top-down infrastructure. It's a long story, but the way that we do things is not the way that everybody else does things. Just because others are moving to XYZ doesn't mean we're going to go there today. We might look and see how everybody else is doing everything, and once we decide we're ready to go, then we'll go. It might be 10 years later. It might be next week, but we don't follow the crowd. We follow the Navy.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been working with Microsoft since the very beginning.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Although I am not the administrator, there are some things that are kind of quirky. The biggest problem is that we're a really, really, really big SharePoint user. Everything that's 100% SharePoint online, is not a one-for-one into the SharePoint that we have on-prem. 

    Security is a problem, that's why we only allow web products for Office 365. SharePoint doesn't give us everything that we need. These are a few of the drawbacks for us.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Scalability is complex, but only because our company is complex.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Support depends. For the professional services, they're usually pretty good.

    For other divisions, the support hasn't been that good. Anytime we have problems and we try to ask for support, what we paid for is one thing and what we're getting is another thing. Because of this, we often have to renegotiations with Microsoft. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is very complex because we're a complex corporation.

    The review board has actually approved all of the Microsoft Office 2016 products and applications. We have the licenses, however, we're not using them.

    Teams is the one collaborative product that everybody wants to use. We've approved Microsoft Teams on the web only. Because of our security constraint, we don't want our users to use every feature that's actually on Teams. We don't want to allow third-party vendors to use that application in order to get into our environment. 

    For example, you can share your screen, but I can't share my screen. I can share an application if it's been approved, but I can't share my screen. The only way I can actually talk to you is if we talk about topical issues that you would read about in the newspaper or something like that. I can't tell you anything that's company proprietary.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Right now we're looking at Microsoft TFS, Azure on DevOps. However, all of the features have to be configured by someone. It's not that ADO can't do it, it's just that it would take a lot of time — we'd have to have someone physically come in and do it. That would require Microsoft Professional Services which costs a lot of money. Often, people can just buy stuff off the shelf when they want to use another product. For example, all the ALM tools actually integrate with TFS. So, if we have a product that already has that capability, why are we purchasing those new products? Why are we doing a POC for that? So that's what kind of hat I wear here.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you're interested in going with Microsoft, my advice would be to do it. Everybody's using Microsoft.

    Overall, on a scale from one to ten, I would give this solution a rating of seven.

    The problem is that I'm an old Microsoft engineer. I like to build it the way I want to build it.  I don't want it to be SaaS. I liked the fact that you could build your servers in the AWS environment and build out the servers the way you want. They're actually taking away a lot of the applications. More and more companies are switching to SaaS or IAS, etc.

    Now, the structure is going towards SaaS. I think I have a three-year lifecycle on my licenses and then I will have to drop or either migrate my data to SaaS. It's probably cheaper for people to go that way, but it gives you less flexibility. There's probably more security, but you're depending on the vendor's security or however they have that set up. You lose a lot of your flexibility when you go into SaaS.

    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
    Enterprise Architect at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 20
    A scalable cloud computing service with valuable automation features
    Pros and Cons
    • "I think Azure's level of automation to achieve efficiency or agility is valuable. I also like the change capability cadence, the showback capabilities, and understanding what our costs are."
    • "We like that they have the new capabilities, but sometimes they're deprecating capabilities faster than we can handle. If we had to improve it, we would want to stay on some of these older capabilities a bit longer."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our use cases are basically cost agility and efficiency.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Microsoft Azure really enforces the automation capabilities of our workforce. It drives us towards a new operating model in terms of delivering services more quickly and more automatically.

    What is most valuable?

    I think Azure's level of automation to achieve efficiency or agility is valuable. I also like the change capability cadence, the showback capabilities, and understanding what our costs are. We don't have that in our on-premise environment. That whole showback capability is very interesting for us. It helps to hold the stakeholders accountable for our spending. 

    What needs improvement?

    Talking about improvement is like a double-edged sword. We like that they have the new capabilities, but sometimes they're deprecating capabilities faster than we can handle. If we had to improve it, we would want to stay on some of these older capabilities a bit longer. It's a brilliant platform for our staff to be more agile and more efficient but probably doesn't match with us in terms of maturity.

    For example, they offer this tagging capability, but they keep introducing new platforms without it. We've become heavily reliant on tagging, but in the case of NetApp, they introduced it into the environment, and now we're not able to get the showback off of that. 

    If they introduce new capabilities, they have to have all the features and functions on that new capability. They're not very good at that. If they introduce new capabilities, all the feature sets on these new capabilities should be available immediately. From my perspective, that's where they need to improve.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Microsoft Azure for about a year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    Stability is very good.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    Microsoft Azure is very scalable. Our data center staff are using the solution, and then the application teams are engaging the data center staff to use that solution. We've just had a few use cases in there, and now we're just gaining experience.

    Like with any new technology, we're currently re-skilling staff. It's the way we're approaching it on a six to 12-month journey before we start to get to the product and the benefits.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is average.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup isn't straightforward. You need to bring in an experienced system integrator to help you with the knowledge transfer. That's the approach we took.

    What about the implementation team?

    We brought in an experienced system integrator that helped us build the environment and did the knowledge transfer into our workforce. I think that's a requirement. We had a very positive experience with our system integrator. The setup, we call it the Azure landing zone, and it's the data center. To set up the foundational build was a three-month engagement.

    The system integrator is the intermediary between Microsoft and us. That's the value proposition of a system integrator. The system integrator helps cut through some of that. Microsoft is a big organization, and it's sometimes very hard to get to the right resources with the right knowledge. The challenge with Microsoft is that they have multiple solutions, and it's up to you to pick the right solution path. That's very hard for most organizations to do.

    What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

    It's a metered environment, and it's pay-as-you-go. That's the big challenge with a metered environment. The challenge is optimizing how you use that to reduce your meter costs. It's like your children have to be good at not leaving the lights on in their bedroom to save on the power bill. That's a cultural change. 

    You have to change your consumption patterns, and that's hard to do. You can get a very big bill because your consumption patterns aren't very good. We're no different than any other organization that's gone to a public cloud. You get these surprise bills, and then you've got to figure out how to manage them down appropriately.

    For us, the additional cost is connectivity to the Azure data center. They said that we had to set up an Equinix data center to get from our location here in Regina, Saskatchewan, to Toronto down East. Those are some big new communication charges that we didn't have before.

    That adds a significant cost to that. Private internet connectivity to a cloud is a big expense. That can be a very big cost, especially for remote businesses that are co-located to cloud data centers.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    Microsoft Azure was a strategic choice. We wanted to go with a multi-cloud model, but we felt like we didn't know enough about clouds. We just kind of thought Microsoft was one of our strategic partners and decided to go with them and learn before we took the multi-cloud approach.

    What other advice do I have?

    The advice I would give potential users would be to focus on their cost management skills and metering skills. It's all about managing your consumption. You've got to understand your consumption patterns and then learn how to manage consumption patterns going forward.

    It's a really good product. In terms of leading hyperscalers, they offer very competitive features, functions, and rates compared to AWS and Google. They continue to advance their technical capabilities as rapidly or more rapidly than the other two hyperscalers. So, I would rate Microsoft Azure very high.

    On a scale from one to ten, I would give Microsoft Azure a nine.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Public Cloud

    If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

    Microsoft Azure
    Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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