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Azure vs on-premise: Why you should choose the cloud

Before the cloud, on-premise storage was the only option for most businesses.

However, the times are changing, with many companies adopting a ‘cloud-first’ attitude.

According to Computerworld’s Tech Forecast 2017 survey of 196 IT managers, 79 percent are now committing to cloud projects. Not only that, 58 percent of those using a cloud-based system say they are delivering real business value.

Don’t get us wrong, on-premise solutions have their uses. They keep business data and applications secure onsite and give companies the opportunity to retain complete control of their IT environment.

However, there are a few key drawbacks that are throttling business innovation:

  • Lack of scalability. On-premise storage can hamper your business growth due to a lack of scalability. Updates usually require modifications to software and hardware. This is a slow and difficult process which takes up a lot of your IT departments time that could be better spent elsewhere.
  • Too expensive. On-premise systems have a large up-front installation cost. Not only that, businesses need dedicated IT teams to look after their systems and reduce downtime. They also need separate infrastructure for backup and disaster recovery, which takes a lot of time and money to implement.
  • Security risks. Apart from the usual risk of cyberattack, when you have physical servers you take on ‘real-world’ risks including damage, destruction, natural disasters, fire, water damage or simply hardware ‘wear and tear’.
  • Staffing requirements. An on-premise storage set-up requires IT administrators or support teams to manage their local server and their Local Area Network. With the cloud, you don’t need the same level of support staff available.

In our humble opinion, when it comes to the cloud, it doesn’t get better than Microsoft Azure. After all, its cloud-based services are specifically designed for business. Organisations have the option to go full cloud or follow a hybrid approach, with a gradual transition from on-premise to cloud.

Here are five reasons you should choose the cloud and switch to Azure.

1. It’s much faster than on-premise solutions

When it comes to deployment speed and speed of scalability, Azure is well ahead of on-premise.

With an on-premise solution, if you want to expand operations or optimise workloads, you need new hardware, software updates and a team to implement them. Of course, that’s also assuming you have enough cooling capacity, power and physical storage space.

With Azure, you can use services like Azure AutoScale to dynamically scale apps to your changing demands. This allows you to scale up and down automatically based on any metric. For example, if you anticipate that your traffic will skyrocket in a week, you can tell it to add 10x more virtual machines in advance to handle the load.

No matter what you need, in a matter of moments Azure can scale to meet your business demands. This is what makes it much more adaptable and efficient than on-premise solutions. 

2. Azure VM makes you more productive and agile

Azure Virtual Machines give you a greater level of control over your computing environment with on-demand, scalable resources. However, you need to set them up in the right way to really reap the rewards, ensuring the configuration is optimal and all software is installed correctly and regularly updated (5). One of the most powerful features in Azure is Azure VM (Virtual Machines). It allows you to create your own customised virtual machines within seconds by defining an operating system, language, and workload. This is something that is not possible with on-premise, as you need multiple machines for multiple operating systems.

This allows your businesses to experiment more. By working on different virtual machines, you can test, develop and get feedback faster. This provides more flexibility as your teams can do more with their machines. The ability to switch between Linux or Windows on the same machine, with a different set of tools and applications, is a powerful feature for employees.

3. Azure is cheaper than on-premise solutions

This is one of the biggest concerns for businesses, the ultimate question – does investing in cloud solutions make financial sense for your business?

In most cases, it does and by a good margin too. With Azure, you don’t have to invest in new machines, infrastructure, or replace aging servers. You also don’t need to make space for infrastructure and servers.

Azure, offers flexible expenditure, which means:

  • You pay according to your needs.
  • You pay more to get more.
  • You save on energy, space, and cooling costs.

Not only that, you have certainty in your recurring costs as Microsoft charge per user for their Azure cloud services.

4. Azure is more secure than on-premise solutions

For many businesses, security is the key reason why they want to stick with on-premise. With locally hosted data, some people believe that they have better data security compared to cloud-based storage.

But this is nothing but a myth. Services like Azure Active Directory are another advantage Azure has over on-premise storage solutions.

Active Directory is a multi-tenant, cloud-based directory and identity management service. It allows IT admins to give employees single sign-on (SSO) access to multiple cloud SaaS applications like SharePointOffice 365 and more.

In addition, it offers an extensive suite of identity management services which include:

  • Device registration.
  • Multi-factor authentication.
  • Role-based access control.
  • Self-service group management.
  • Application usage monitoring.

These services keep your business secure, ensuring only relevant users have access to your most sensitive information.

Not only that, but by rejecting physical servers for the cloud you also eliminate the risk of physical security as you don’t have on-premise servers to take care of in your building. Between that and your virtual security, Azure helps secure your business on two fronts.

5. Azure isn’t just storage, it’s a business tool

Azure is not just about easy access to data, security and cloud-based storage – it offers much more to businesses. It offers a complete delivery pipeline to organisations, which include:

  • Source control
  • Unit testing
  • Integration testing
  • Delivery
  • Live tools and applications

Azure is recommended not only because it is popular, but because it makes sense for your business. It has better security features and offers greater speed, reliability and scalability compared to on-premise solutions. No only that, but it’s cheaper as well.

You don’t even have to worry about upkeep. Microsoft handles everything – Azure infrastructure, security, physical servers, patching, redundancy and updates.

If you’re not comfortable fully committing to the cloud, there are also hybrid options. These are a combination of cloud and on-premise storage. Microsoft handles this for you too, offering sync tools to create a bridge between on-premise and Azure.

So, would you choose Azure or On-Premise?

We realise this is a big decision for businesses and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Every business has different needs, but don’t let that make you complacent. You may think that your current on-premise solution works, so why would you change it?

This ‘it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it’ attitude is understandable. But, these days, when it comes to your business IT, it pays to be pro-active rather than reactive. Especially the security of your business data is involved.

Keen to learn more? Check out our free guide to achieving more with Azure and discover how your business can make the most of its cloud investment.

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