Sunday, July 3, 2022

Microsoft Azure: Hybrid Cloud Portfolio Review

Hybrid cloud environments are flexible and powerful IT solutions, built using two or more components from private clouds, public clouds, and on-premises architecture. They allow organizations to build on the strengths of every solution, including scalability, control, security and risk management, and costs.

In some instances, hybrid cloud solutions also allow organizations to migrate to cloud solutions using a staged, multi-phase approach.

As one of the most familiar brands in IT since being founded in 1975, Microsoft began building a full-featured, enterprise-ready portfolio of cloud services and solutions in 2010.

See below to learn all about Microsoft Azure’s hybrid cloud offerings:

Microsoft and the cloud market

The current cloud market is dominated by three primary vendors, with Microsoft coming in second place with 22% of the market share. Amazon Web Services comes out ahead with 33% of the cloud market share, while Google Cloud falls behind Microsoft with 9%.

Hybrid cloud portfolio

  • Apps: Develop and deploy applications with consistency across the hybrid cloud environment using Azure Stack, Visual Studio, and Azure DevOps.
  • Data: Analyze, migrate, and manage data using Azure Arc-enabled data services, and benefit from end-to-end backup and disaster recovery in the case of service disruption, accidental deletion, or corruption.
  • Management: Use a single control plane to manage, govern, and secure all IT resources.
  • Security: Gain unified hybrid security management and threat protection with Microsoft Defender to Cloud and Microsoft Sentinel solutions.
  • Identity: Provide users with a seamless, single-sign-on experience with access managed using a unified identity platform and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).
  • Networking: Integrate with existing network infrastructure, connecting distributed workloads and locations using Azure VPN Gateway, Azure ExpressRoute, and Azure Virtual WAN.

Key benefits

  • Secure and manage servers located on-premises, in public clouds, and edge environments through a single control plane.
  • Benefit from Azure services like elastic scale, automation, industry-leading security, and unified management.
  • Modernize existing on-premises infrastructure.
  • Choose cloud computing services from one or more solution providers, focusing on solutions that are best suited for each need or task, and integrate them together seamlessly.

Use cases

Microsoft delivers hybrid cloud solutions to several high-profile, respected organizations, including:

KPMG

When KPMG was planning to roll out their AI-based audit software to customers worldwide, they trusted Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud solutions. With Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud solutions, KPMG was able to efficiently deliver their solutions and offer 24/7 support to distributed clients.

Volkswagen Financial Services

With a library of 80 web applications powering the organization’s brands across 10 countries, Volkswagen Financial Services needed the power of Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud solutions.

Embracing a hybrid cloud approach lets Volkswagen Financial Services rely on cloud speed and scale, ensure high-availability and high-performance, maintain on-premises data privacy and compliance, promise infrastructure stability, and control costs, all while being able to constantly monitor application usage, availability, and performance.

Ferguson

Known as the largest wholesale distributor of plumbing supplies in the United States, Ferguson prioritized the need to streamline and centralize the management of their IT infrastructure. Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud solutions helped Ferguson achieve their goals by striking a balance between utilizing existing IT assets with a staged migration to cloud services that made everything easier and more consistent to manage.

Differentiators

Organizations trust in the experience Microsoft offers. Navigating a complex migration to hybrid cloud solutions is made easier with the tools and guidance provided by the experts available through the Microsoft Azure Migration and Modernization Center.

Designed with the belief that cloud migration is a continuous process that will involve an investment in organizational change management, this resource offers comprehensive and reassuring support through every stage:

Planning

  • Define and document business outcomes.
  • Engage and align project stakeholders.
  • If needed, choose a cloud migration partner.
  • Identify and inventory existing IT infrastructure and assets.
  • Create the requisite business case for migration and modernization.
  • Define the priorities, timelines, milestones, resources, and funding required to begin.

Implementation

  • Prepare for the hybrid cloud migration by building team cloud skills and deciding on best practices.
  • Prioritize the workloads needing migration first, with consideration for possible dependencies and interoperability.
  • Consider the refactoring, rearchitecting, and rebuilding that may be required for existing applications and data as migration begins and evolves over time.

Operations

  • Establish and evolve the policies and configurations that will support, scale, and update workloads, connectivity, and applications.
  • Continue to familiarize team members with the tools available to constantly improve operational efficiencies and security.

User reviews

Microsoft Azure’s hybrid cloud solutions are well rated, with applause for being adaptable, easily scalable, and familiar. Some reviews indicate that the cost may be prohibitive for small or mid-sized organizations, but the return on that investment includes customer service, comprehensive training and documentation, and access to ongoing community support.

Pricing

Pricing details for Microsoft’s Azure hybrid cloud solutions are highly customizable and specific to each organization, with consideration for their existing IT infrastructure, initial requirements, and the amount of assistance required for migration and implementation.

To prepare a cost estimate, organizations can use the provided pricing calculator.

For organizations looking to create business cases for cloud migrations, Microsoft also offers a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator.

Conclusions

Organizations that are already Microsoft-centric will find reassurance working with familiar-feeling tools and resources offered by the Azure hybrid cloud solution library.

That said, decades of experience delivering comprehensive and sophisticated IT solutions, combined with the very concept of hybrid cloud environments, also makes Microsoft a solid choice as a solution for organizations looking to lace together a variety of new and existing technologies into a more structured and easier to manage package.

Microsoft also understands how business works. They know that there are always technical and financial considerations for any transition or transformation. Even before you buy, Microsoft will guide the creation of successful business cases, identify financial considerations while creating budget estimates, offer guidelines and highlight business value, and separate out the need-to-have functionality from the nice-to-have features. This library of support is virtually unparalleled across other hybrid cloud vendors.

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