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By Jen Stirrup
There’s been a swathe of new technological advancements announced at TechEd Europe and Microsoft keynotes. But what does it actually mean for your business? In other words, can it help you to make your boss happy? Windows Azure is becoming a more compelling technology, since there are now clearer messages on how it can solve business needs. Scott Guthrie recently held a Keynote on the new advancements in Windows Azure, and you can see the keynote here. What are the business benefits of Windows Azure?
Large Deployment Strategy - The new revised Windows Azure Portal makes it easier for you to manage large deployments. It supports all the new features, which brings me onto my next point:
Windows Azure supports Virtual Machines - Microsoft offer default VMs, or you can upload your own VMs. Why is this useful to businesses? There are a few use cases that I can foresee. For example, if you are a consultancy, you might need VMs for demo purposes, or just prototyping client projects. This also applies to businesses of any size. For example, Business Intelligence projects are notorious for their failure rate. Therefore, it is presents less financial risk to have VMs in the cloud, rather than purchase hardware that will run the VMs. This strategy allows businesses to prototype projects in an agile way, without incurring a great deal of capital expenditure. You can easily create new VMs, and the new Windows Azure portal means that you can check the resource allocation. If you’re not using it, you can decommission it, or find another way in which the VM can meet the business need.
Windows Azure for Websites - You can create a new web site in Azure and have it ready to deploy to in under 10 seconds. There’s a clear business benefit here since you can have a website up and running super-fast; as a business, you need to spend time growing the traffic, not tending to the IT. A further business benefit is that you can have up to ten websites hosted in a free, shared/multi-tenanted hosting environment; surely getting something free is the most cost-effective business benefit ever?
A key, underlying business benefit is that Azure helps businesses to move forward, without worrying about three month lead times to purchase hardware, for example. It means you can get up and running in terms of using Azure as a permanent solution, or a temporary solution that allows you to prototype. Businesses need to stretch and flex, with minimal preparation. For me, this will always be one of the biggest benefits of Windows Azure. Scalability, elasticity and reliability: all I need is a windows Live ID and a credit card, and I can have servers, websites and VMs running quickly and most importantly, I know that they are controlled and well looked-after.
If you need to get up and running quickly, have huge lead times for hardware purchase, or need to prototype something quickly, then Azure could be for you. Have a think about whether it’s an option that might make your boss happy! Find out more or download a trial.
http://www.copperblueconsulting.com/ Jen Stirrup is a SQL Server MVP, with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and two Masters in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science. Jen is joint owner of Copper Blue Consulting, delivering data and Business Intelligence solutions to global clients. Jen is a veteran SQL Server Developer with over 12 years SQL experience in delivering end-to-end Business Intelligence solution. Jen blogs for SQLServerPedia as well as her own blog. She is very active in many SQL Server User Groups in the UK, helping to run the SQLHerts group in England. Jen's focus is on the Microsoft BI stack, with a specific passion for Data Visualisation.