Putting the Cloud to Work for Your Business with Microsoft Azure

The cloud has truly come of age.

It’s amazing to see how cloud computing has progressed since the old days, when it  primarily offered a cost-effective, convenient way to store data and provision servers.  

Today, the cloud is driving real business value, streamlining the way companies not only manage IT operations, but also engage customers, develop applications and run entire businesses in a more efficient manner. According to IDC, 60 percent of all IT infrastructure spending and 60-70 percent of all software, services and technology spending will be cloud-based by 2020.

While the benefits seem clear, many companies still need to determine which types of cloud to deploy and evaluate best practices to ensure they’re optimizing the technology at every turn. To that end, here are a few things to keep in mind as the next generation cloud strategy goes under the scanner.

See Why Azure Tops in the Enterprise Business

While Amazon Web Services (AWS) took the early lead in enterprise cloud infrastructure, Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform has been playing a great game of catch up. This past year, enterprise adoption of Microsoft Azure increased significantly from 43 percent to 58 percent, attaining a 35 percent CAGR. Comparatively, AWS adoption increased from 59 percent to 68 percent, according to the RightScale 2018 State of the Cloud Report.

Reasons for the rising popularity of Azure:

  • Microsoft’s Cloud-first Focus: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made the cloud one of Microsoft’s top priorities, taking a “cloud first” approach to the booming technology. Microsoft has developed a huge global cloud network of its own and offers incentives for customers to adopt a cloud-first strategy of their own.
  • Hybrid Cloud Support: 58 percent of companies are now planning a hybrid cloud approach whereby both public and private clouds are utilized strategically to optimize results. Nadella returns to the hybrid cloud topic often, citing Microsoft’s aggressive deployment of its architectural advantage in seeing no big difference between on-premise technology, cloud, and edge. Microsoft is also offering cloud services support with new platforms like Azure StorSimple, Hybrid SQL Server, and Azure Stack, a new hybrid cloud platform product that allows you to bring nearly full public Azure functionality to your own on-premises data centers.
  • Ease of Use: Developing and administering Azure is not a big challenge for those with Windows admin experience. It’s simple to integrate on-premises Windows servers with cloud instances to create a hybrid environment and leverage other Microsoft tools such as SQL databases and Active Directory.

Build New App Development Environments in the Cloud

Companies are increasingly moving their software development efforts into the cloud. In what’s known as platform-as-a-service (PaaS), development organizations can build a private cloud to leverage a flexible, Agile-driven, automated software development platform, speeding time to market for software products and enhancing the overall satisfaction of the developers that create the software (thanks to faster speeds and better availability of resources and development tools). PaaS typically includes cloud-based servers, storage, networking, middleware, development tools, analytics, and databases. According to KPMG, PaaS adoption is predicted to be the fastest-growing sector of cloud platforms,  growing from 32 percent adoption in 2017 to 56 percent adoption in 2020.

Manage and Process Data Faster

In the era of big data, the cloud is becoming a highly efficient, lightning fast platform to process massive amounts of data and derive business benefits. According to a Cisco report, 94 percent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers by 2021, with only six percent being processed by traditional data centers. And with global cloud IP traffic predicted to more than triple over the next five years, companies need robust, proven platforms like Azure to ensure they can keep up with booming processing demand.

Take the Right Security Measures

Keeping your cloud infrastructure secure must be a top priority as well. Just over 66 percent of companies report that the single most common threat they worry about with running applications in public clouds is sensitive data uploaded to the cloud. And with cybercrime on the rise, companies must build a security framework that takes cloud access into account. Fortunately, confidence is high with the security measures taken by leading cloud platforms like Azure. In fact, 62.9 percent of companies still say the public cloud is as secure or more secure than their own datacenter.

The Azure cloud platform is a hot commodity, and for good reasons. That’s why it’s important to ensure your IT and development teams are cloud ready. Azure training that is tightly aligned with Microsoft’s Azure certifications testing is available for Azure Administrators, Azure Developers and Azure Architects. Take this opportunity to build your next-generation cloud strategy today.

About the Author

Stuart RauchStuart Rauch

Stuart Rauch is a 25-year product marketing veteran and president of ContentBox Marketing Inc. He has run marketing organizations at several enterprise software companies, including NetSuite, Oracle, PeopleSoft, EVault and Secure Computing. Stuart is a specialist in content development and brings a unique blend of creativity, linguistic acumen and product knowledge to his clients in the technology space.

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