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Microsoft Cloud and Azure: The Ultimate Solutions for Scalability and Flexibility 

Scalability and flexibility are vital to growing a successful business. Without a scalable business model, you reach a ceiling where you cannot grow any further.

However, scalability allows you to take on more customers, employ more people and invest in technology while maintaining or increasing efficiency. On the other hand, flexibility is also a critical component of business success. You must adapt quickly to changes in customer demands, technological advances and new developments in your marketplace.  

To be scalable and flexible – as well as the right business model and effective leadership – you need an IT infrastructure in place that enables you to boost efficiency and quickly change tack. For these purposes, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Cloud are ideal. As an Azure user, you should be discovering a wide range of benefits already. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into Microsoft Azure and Cloud and show you ten ways they help you achieve that all-important scalability and flexibility. 

1 – Understanding Microsoft Cloud and Azure 

Microsoft Azure is the cloud services platform that gives you the scalability and flexibility your organisation needs in today’s world. Microsoft Cloud is a suite of cloud-based solutions allowing you to gain the biggest benefits from your presence on the cloud. Including tools like M365 and Microsoft Security, Microsoft Cloud keeps your organisation producing at an optimal level.  

Now you’re running your IT systems on the Azure Cloud, you’re no longer tied to outdated, on-premise infrastructure. In addition, the Azure price structure makes it easy to add and remove resources as conditions demand. We’ll look at these points in more detail in the next section. 

You’re probably also discovering a wide range of further benefits, including: 

  • Cost savings – With no upfront costs for physical infrastructure, your Azure migration reduces your need for capital expenses 
  • Resilience – Running your IT in the cloud (with the proper security measures) makes your organisation more resistant to unforeseen disasters 
  • Performance – Advanced cloud-based collaboration tools make your organisation more productive 

2 – Leveraging Azure for Scalability 

As an Azure user when designing systems, your teams have access to capabilities that aren’t easily accessible in traditional architectures. Applications can take advantage of pre-built systems that allow applications to be scaled up and down as usage changes. This can mean that for infrequently used systems the ongoing cost can be very low, but the systems will remain available when needed. At the high end, systems can be scaled up on-demand to meet the highest peaks of usage without having to keep that capacity available all the time 

For example, Azure apps allow for autoscaling (1). This is the automatic allocation of resources to match your organisation’s performance requirements. So, if you suddenly take on a lot of new employees or customers, Azure dynamically allocates capacity to keep you up and running. If demand slackens and you no longer need that capacity, it automatically de-allocates, which has the extra benefit of reducing costs. 

Azure Load Balancer is an Azure service that helps keep your network stable. Should you get a sudden influx of traffic (2), Azure Load Balancer enables you to scale your services without compromising performance.  

3 – Achieving Flexibility with Microsoft Cloud Services 

When it comes to flexibility, Microsoft Cloud services allow you to iterate and adapt faster and more effectively than ever. Here are three examples: 

Flexibility is all about moving quickly, but when you go for speed you can sometimes compromise on security. Microsoft Entra ID (3) (formerly Azure Active Directory) is a secure access control solution that allows your people to move about the apps they use every day without constantly entering passwords, while allowing you to control who has access to what, and how they get there. 

Azure offers developers multiple serverless options that allow them to concentrate on building their code without worrying about operationally managing infrastructure. These options include Functions (4), Logic Apps, Container Apps, Azure Kubernetes and App Services. 

If you’re still maintaining some legacy parts of your infrastructure, Azure Logic Apps is the cloud service that helps you run automated workflows that connect your old and new systems seamlessly. What’s more, it’s simple to use with a visual designer and pre-built workflows (5). 

4 – Designing Scalable Solutions With Azure 

With a wide range of capabilities available out of the box, Microsoft Azure Cloud allows organisations to innovate faster than they could with traditional methods, with much more scope. In competitive industries, time-to-market is everything. Now, as an Azure user, you have the opportunity to set up systems that give you that edge. 

Microsoft Azure keeps everything you need in one place for easy development and deployment: 

  • Azure App Service – The platform to create and host your apps 
  • Azure Databases – Build your applications with smart, limitless, secure databases 
  • Azure Storage – Secure, high-performance storage for your essential data 

It’s good to remember that a forklift of existing systems might not be cheaper than operating traditionally. In addition, re-engineering your solutions using cloud-native technologies allows ‘scale-to-zero’ for spiky applications and massive scale when needed. 

5 – Enhancing Flexibility with Microsoft Cloud Solutions 

Microsoft Cloud Solutions helps teams work faster and more collaboratively so you can adapt when needed.  

The Microsoft 365 suite of products is the centrepiece of the Microsoft Cloud offering, containing all the productive apps you use daily, like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. However, when you dig deeper, there are multiple other valuable solutions, including: 

  • SharePoint – The platform that enables seamless content sharing and collaboration within your organisation, accessible from anywhere on any device 
  • Dynamics 365 – Smart CRM connecting your teams, workflows and data across your entire organisation 

Being on Azure puts these powerful tools at your fingertips, whether in one location with everyone in the office, or spread out across the globe with hybrid and remote workers. 

It’s also worth remembering that Azure is only part of the broader Microsoft ecosystem and that having a single sign-on in Entra ID makes it simple to integrate non-Microsoft systems into Azure-hosted applications. As a result, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. 

6 – Security and Compliance in the Cloud 

When you move your IT systems to the cloud, making them available from anywhere, it’s natural to worry about security. You might believe that your systems were more secure when they were physical hardware in a room on your premises.  

However, Microsoft Azure Cloud delivers a wide range of built-in security tools, helping protect your cloud environment and comply with regulations (6). These include: 

  • Defender for Cloud – Identifies vulnerabilities in your cloud setup and helps the organisation handle threats of all kinds 
  • Microsoft Sentinel – Cloud-based threat intelligence and cyber analytics to help you move fast to prevent threats  
  • Application Insights – Performance management to spot anomalies in usage that may be suspicious 

Of course, while the Azure platform has capabilities available to help you identify governance and security issues, being secure relies on the active management of the platform throughout its lifecycle and as new threats emerge. Security can never be ‘set it and forget it’. You always need to be vigilant. 

7 – Managing Microsoft Cloud and Azure after Migration 

So far, we’ve mentioned a wide range of tools in the Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Cloud platforms that help you become more scalable and flexible – and there’s more to come. While the Azure platform is simpler to run and scale than any on-premise solution, it’s still a complex web of different tools that you need to get running in the right way, integrated and sharing data with each other. 

If you trusted a managed service provider (MSP) to handle your Azure Cloud migration, why not outsource the running of your platform to an MSP too? Your MSP will be able to help you get the best results from your Azure Cloud environment, setting up all the tools to drive scalability and flexibility. If something goes wrong, they’ll be able to fix it. In addition, it’s their job to stay ahead of the technological curve, so if there’s something new available that aligns with your organisation’s goals and could help you achieve more, they can advise you on implementation. 

8 – Monitoring and Optimisation in the Cloud 

By closely monitoring your Microsoft Azure Cloud environment, you can identify ways to optimise your setup, boosting performance, making you more cost-efficient and enhancing security. 

Microsoft Azure Monitor (7) is a wide-ranging solution that collects and analyses data relating to the performance of your cloud environment. When you identify issues to fix or areas to improve, you can respond manually. You can also program Azure Monitor to react automatically to specific events in the system.  

But how do you know what you should be looking for? That’s where Azure Advisor comes in (8). Azure Advisor is a personalised guide to Azure’s best practices that helps you: 

  • Optimise workloads 
  • Take fast action to remedy issues 
  • Assess how well set up your workloads are 
  • Set up notifications with tailored recommendations 

9 – Embracing Cloud-native Development with Azure 

Cloud-native development is the design, building and implementation of applications that live in the cloud and take advantage of the benefits the cloud offers. In essence, they’re scalable and flexible by design, easily expanded, contracted and adapted when conditions demand 

Microsoft Azure provides an open, flexible environment for cloud-native development, allowing you to move fast and bring solutions to market quickly. Available features include: 

  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) – The fastest way to begin developing and implementing cloud-native applications in Azure, harnessing the powerful Kubernetes platform 
  • Azure Functions – An event-driven programming system integrating a range of programming languages 
  • Azure DevOps – A suite of tools that help you employ Agile methodologies to plan new tools, collaborate on their collaboration and track progress 

10 – Continuous Innovation and Updates in Microsoft Cloud and Azure 

The great thing about Microsoft Azure is that it’s constantly innovating. After all, Microsoft is in stiff competition with Amazon AWS to deliver the world’s favourite cloud services – and you can bet if it stands still, it will get left behind.  

For example, Microsoft is currently rolling out Copilot, its AI-powered assistant, across the M365 portfolio of products. As an Azure and Microsoft Cloud user, there could be substantial productivity benefits here for you. 

As an Azure user, you should do your best to stay up-to-date with the latest developments on the platform, so you can further enhance your scalability and flexibility. 

Conclusion 

Now you’re up and running on Microsoft Azure, it’s your mission to dive deep into the environment and discover how it can boost your scalability and flexibility. With features that enhance collaboration, help you develop better solutions and keep your architecture secure, Azure puts you in a position to build that all-important competitive edge and grow your market share. 

However, getting the most from your Azure Cloud setup is a significant job. Why not outsource it to an expert managed services provider (MSP) like Doherty?  

It’s always worth enlisting a specialist’s help when beginning your Azure journey. At Doherty, we’re a long-standing Microsoft Solutions Partner for Infrastructure in Azure. This accreditation shows our deep expertise in helping our clients design, build, deploy and manage secure, scalable and reliable cloud solutions on the Azure platform. We know the potential pitfalls and how to navigate around them. Your MSP is your guide on the path to cloud success, from the first step to the last – and beyond.   

To find out more, visit our Microsoft partnership page.  

Sources: 

1: Microsoft – Autoscaling – https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/architecture/best-practices/auto-scaling 

2: Microsoft – Azure Load Balancer –https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/load-balancer/load-balancer-overview 

3: Microsoft – Entra ID – https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/business/identity-access/microsoft-entra-id 

4: Microsoft – Azure Functions – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/products/functions 

5: Microsoft – Azure Logic Apps – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/products/functions 

6: Microsoft – Introduction to Azure security – https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/security/fundamentals/overview 

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