What actually is Microsoft Azure?

what is microsoft azure
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This article is Part 1 in our Microsoft Azure series.

When it comes to Microsoft Azure people overcomplicate it.  The reason it gets overcomplicated is simply because it does so many things that you can’t really sum it up in a few sentences.  You have to take a narrower, focussed view.

In essence, Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that is flexible to your needs.  You pay for what you need and you can integrate it with your existing technology.  Everything you need is safe and always available to you in the Cloud and when we say Cloud we mean a data centre in Ireland or very soon in the UK.  Don’t worry, your data is not floating around in the air, we promise.

You still need a narrower focus to understand what Azure can do for your business and that is why ACUTEC has chosen to focus on a specific service from Azure and that is Backup and Site Recovery.

With Azure Backup you don’t need to worry about tapes or USB Hard Drives or Network Attached Storage Devices.  Azure takes all of your files and folders, your Exchange Server and your Windows Servers among other applications and stores them in the Cloud.  It’s a scaleable service where you only pay for what you need, providing significant cost savings.

Meanwhile, Azure Site Recovery is a cost effective solution in which you can recover individual servers or your whole site to an offsite location.  Azure allows for the orchestration and automated replication and failover to Azure, or to a secondary on-premise site.  We like to describe it like a pilot light on your boiler.  You buy the boiler but you can only turn the pilot light on when you need it.  With Azure you are buying a service but you only pay for recovery when it is needed.  Furthermore, the cost of recovery will more than likely be covered by your insurance.  We have even seen our clients’s insurance premiums dramatically reduced through this form of Disaster Recovery.

The trick to Microsoft Azure is to see it as many different things that can be chosen from one service, in a similar way to how you may use Word from your Office Suite but not Excel.  They’re both tools with a variety of different functions and you wouldn’t want to explain them both at the same time.

For more information on Microsoft Azure Backup and Site Recovery, you can check out our case study of the very first full Site Recovery in the UK here.

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