Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud-management platform enables businesses to easily virtualize some of the top collaboration tools. For IT professionals with adequate BizTalk or SharePoint training, using Azure can help companies place information on the cloud, potentially reducing IT hardware expenses.
According to WindowsIT Pro, the price of Azure hosting has dropped considerably as Microsoft attempts to compete with Amazon in the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) market. The source noted that Azure Virtual Machine (VM) prices dropped by 21 percent recently and its cloud services were cut by 33 percent.
Simple to manage
Azure comes with a VM setup wizard that makes it easy for users to manage various virtualized services, reported WindowsIT Pro. Microsoft providers a number of VM templates that customers can choose from which include sizes from just 768 MBs to 56 GBs, making for a very adaptable service.
Owners of Azure are also able to use space on their own IP addresses, which makes configuring networks much easier. The source said addressing the setup is similar to the process associated with establishing and operating a Virtual Private Network.
Benefits of virtualization
IT workers with the right Microsoft training will be able to help their businesses realize some of the benefits of placing applications on IaaS servers. An IT professional who can help cut costs will likely catch the eye of a CIO.
As TechRepublic notes, procuring IT hardware is one of the biggest expenses associated with managing data. IaaS providers allow for easy virtualization, which reduces the need for businesses to purchase servers because most data is placed offsite. Paying small monthly fees for hosted servers is much more cost-effective for many small companies. Also, many of the professional providers have dedicated teams that manage their servers, which can ultimately reduce downtime and make clients more productive.
Backup is a breeze
The source also stated that backing up files is easier with VMs, as they can be moved from between servers more rapidly than operations on physical desktops. Additionally, entire data sets can be backed up on outside devices.
Snapshots help testing
By using snapshots, or virtual copies of stored data, companies can easily test new products or services on their virtualized machines, according to TechRepublic. If the process fails and ends up crashing a system, a previous snapshot can be used to restore the platform. By doing this, businesses can eliminate lost productivity that results from downtime in the wake of a crash.