Windows Azure SQL Database Marketplace
In my role on the Windows Azure team, I get two questions all the time from our enterprise IT customers. For the ones who haven’t gotten comfortable with the cloud yet, they ask “why do I want this?” For those who have, they ask “but who should I trust when implementing a cloud platform?” The good news is that there are straightforward answers to both questions. For the first – why should enterprise IT change the way they’re doing business and adopt the cloud – the answer is rooted in history. In the past, enterprise IT has been about IT bringing technology to its employees, and working hard to develop a stable and predictable computing environment. But the last few years has changed all that, and those of us with enterprise IT experience know the tremendous pressure we’re under to respond. Now, we’re seeing a wave of mass change, this time because of developers who are finding it easier and faster to work with cloud infrastructures than traditional models. These developers are delivering immediate solutions for the business with server infrastructure via cloud providers, claiming equivalent or better security, performance and scalability – and as a result, IT needs to accommodate the new trend or else be left behind. When it comes down to it, there are three chief driving forces behind the move to the cloud -- Speed, Scale and Economics. We all know these words, but in the last few years their definitions have changed radically. Speed equals minutes, not weeks or months. Scale equals global, on-demand and in real time. Economics equals the ability to pay for what you need when you need it instead of over provisioning for insurance purposes. So what’s an enterprise customer to do with the cloud? Find ways to enable the cloud and foster innovation rather than block it or you will wake up one day to realize that the cloud is being used at your company even if you didn’t approve its use. Become the conductor on the train, who helps people get to their destination… don’t let the train run you over. As to the question about which vendor to select, take stock of your assets. You will need a solution with staying power -- ones that takes the best of what you have today, and can grow with where technology is going. Does it feel like a big leap of faith? Well, exhale because you are not alone. In a recent IDC Cloud Survey, 60%* of customers polled said that the cloud solution provider (CSP) they work with needs to be somebody they have a trusted relationship with in order to make them their vendor of choice. In addition, ~65% also said that the CSP should be able to offer to move their cloud solution back on-premises if needed. Let’s think about that for a minute. How many vendors have a trusted relationship with your company that spans decades of computing, is delivering for you today and is innovating for tomorrow? How many vendors have solutions that give you choice and allow you the flexibility to run in your datacenter AND in the public cloud or both? Who can provide the ability to move workloads between datacenters, securely and reliably? Finally, who builds products with security as a core development principle, has massive global reach and is a trusted partner who has been with you through many technology evolutions? I don’t mean the latest trend, this is tried and true durability and reliability of products, many products that power your business ahead of your competition. At the end of all these questions, I suspect you have a very short list to work from. At Microsoft, we have designed Windows Azure to be truly enterprise class.
It is the only platform that is fully cloud enabled, supporting both platform services (PaaS) to eliminate complexity and infrastructure services (IaaS) for flexibility. Use PaaS where you can, and IaaS where you need to. With Windows Azure, you can use both together and independently – you can’t do that with other vendors. Windows Azure integrates with what you have, including Windows Server, System Center, Linux and others. It supports heterogeneous languages including .NET, Java, Node.js, Python, and data services for No SQL, SQL and Hadoop. Whether your developers want to use Team Foundation Servers or GitHub, Windows Azure can be used with these developer tools. Windows Azure is secure and highly available by design, with enterprise grade SLAs and Support options that include deep technical staff ready to work directly with you. You’ll always know the status of Azure services as we aim for transparency via our Service Dashboard. Azure provides a number of ways to take your business to the next level.
Need a secure place to store your valuable data? Windows Azure Storage+ StorSimple, Windows Azure Online Backup or SQL Availability Groups allows you to store, backup and recover your data in the cloud at a cost that is lower than using SAN technology, with scale and global reach that is unparalleled to any other cloud storage solution. Going mobile? Windows Azure Mobile Services lets you streamline common development tasks like structuring storage, integrating push notifications and configuring user authentication, while fully supporting Windows Store, Windows Phone 8, iOS, Android and HTML5 development. Need to develop and test at the speed of business? Windows Azure platform services can be used to create applications that can be managed by Microsoft to reduce your complexity… or, if you need to be more hands on, IaaS can be up and running in minutes using a pre-built Virtual Machine images. Need to tap into the power of big data? Simply pair Azure Websites with HDInsight to mine any size data and compelling business analytics, to make adjustments to get the best possible business results. Azure also lets you respond to business needs much more quickly. For example, say that your marketing team wants to rapidly develop, run and shut down their advertising/promotional campaigns. It has to get done fast, nobody knows how fast it will grow, but it has to scale quickly – well, Azure has you covered. Whether it’s a .NET app development or using an open framework like WordPress or Joomla, your developers get an out-of-the box experience that can start up quickly and grow as big as needed with no headaches for IT.
So the great news is that you’re not alone in facing these challenges. Microsoft is with you on the journey just as we have been for decades – and we have enterprise-class solutions available today.
It’s time to transform your datacenter, foster innovation for your developers, unlock the key insights from any data you collect and evolve IT. Get started with an Azure free trial today. Business everywhere are innovating on Windows Azure; to see how, check out our case studies. And in the meantime, don’t forget to exhale.
Bill HilfGeneral ManagerWindows Azure
(*Source: IDC’s CloudTrack 2012 Summer Survey, Part 1: Cost Savings in the Cloud, Doc # 237693, November 2012)