Microsoft Azure - A Huge Set of Services and Abilities, so Just Start With a Small Bite.
March 08, 2021

Microsoft Azure - A Huge Set of Services and Abilities, so Just Start With a Small Bite.

Matt Varney | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Azure

[Microsoft] Azure has a large amount of services and capabilities, but we're using it primarily for Identity (Azure Active Directory), Networking (Application Gateways, ExpressRoute), as well as some basic Compute (Virtual Machines) and some web and storage. Also, as big Office 365 customers, we use [Microsoft] Azure in conjunction with some of these services such as storage (backups) and some media services (videos). Additionally, some Azure AI and security services are used in conjunction with some of the O365 services for DLP (digital loss protection) and other security services. Of course, we also use the Azure Portal to manage all of this. All in all it is a very nice and integrated (and expandable) solution for a total and cohesive set of common business problems like we just described. We flat out could not do much of what we do now without Azure AD (MUCH better than on-premises Active Directory). There are some learning curves and potentially some cost barriers, but again, since the "total" Azure solution can be implemented in parts and expand as needed, it still makes an excellent way to address immediate problems (whatever you feel is most important) while simultaneously positioning your business to succeed in the future as you are able to add on services and shift older legacy solutions to the cloud.
  • Azure Active Directory is the top of the list. No organization can be without a robust and capable identity management system for the users. having the identities managed in the cloud means that your people can potentially be authenticated to more systems everywhere, allowing more work to get done more securely.
  • Azure in general is strong because of how it can scale - not only in terms of scaling up capacity of an individual service, but also scale out to include more connected services to drive more value and solve more problems in the business. The scaled-out solutions with other products will just flat out work with the rest of what you already have in Azure, making the journey easier.
  • During our initial stages with Azure (years ago), we had several hybrid scenarios going, where we had portions of a service on-premises while other portions were in Azure. Active Directory was a good example. The Hybrid story got better and better and made "jumping to the cloud" less of an abrupt jump and more of a careful walk. The Hybrid ease has probably only gotten better since then.
  • While not unique to just Azure, the truth of the matter is, no on-prem data center at any organization can match the power, speed, and expandability of a cloud service like Azure. If you are a Microsoft shop with lots of Windows, Office, and other related systems running already, moving to Azure (and Office 365 as well) is worth considering.
  • I know cost is a barrier for many organizations. The retail prices may seem high and may be out of reach now, but with careful planning and negotiation, along with a realistic sense of what you can do now verses what you could be doing in the future, the costs should even out.
  • The Learning Curve. While possibly daunting and new, the general concepts of "the cloud" can be easily mastered. Diving deeper into any given service will provide a normal amount of learning challenges (high, but can be overcome). The biggest thing about the learning curve is learning about all the changes and the speed at which those changes are happening. Managing any of the Azure services is different than managing the equivalent on-premises service. There may be some slight differences, but the pace of change and enhancements and capacity of the Azure equivalence can be very difficulty to wrap your mind around. "Keeping up" is probably a better term than "learning curve" here.
  • Although getting better, there is still a sense or fear of an organization "putting all their eggs in one basket", with a single vendor handling so much technology. More support for integration with other cloud services is ramping up, which is good.
  • It has taken a few years of planning and growth (which continue), but we've been able to successfully budget and plan for ever increased capacity by starting first with some Virtual Machines and factoring in on-prem maintenance vs cloud constant improvements. VM (server, compute, networking) costs even out quickly over time and will show savings very soon.
  • Because of Azure Application Gateways (which cost very little to set up and maintain), we were able to build a state of the art single-sign-on hub for all of our users and other enterprise platforms (mostly non-Microsoft and non Azure systems), reducing the amount of time to switch among these for workers and increasing overall productivity.
  • With Azure Active Directory, we do not need to maintain separate identity systems and can more easily integrate our organizations credentials into authorization for access to other systems.
AWS and [Microsoft] Azure are in a class by themselves, no matter how you look at them or what sub-area or service you focus on. No other cloud provide can match the breadth and ability of these two. Nobody else has the market share either (for a reason). That being said, while AWS has a somewhat larger market share and is perfectly fine, Azure will work better for organizations and enterprises that are already invested with Microsoft. The Azure solutions are the next step and complimentary pieces to Windows and Office 365.

Do you think Microsoft Azure delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Microsoft Azure's feature set?

Yes

Did Microsoft Azure live up to sales and marketing promises?

Yes

Did implementation of Microsoft Azure go as expected?

Yes

Would you buy Microsoft Azure again?

Yes

If an organization is already a Microsoft customer (Windows, Office, Office 365, etc), then [Microsoft] Azure is a natural fit and the first recommendation would be Azure Active Directory. For a typical SMB that may have trouble attracting and retaining IT talent in their immediate area, moving much of the data center and IT operations to Azure proves that IT can happen anywhere, so staffing up IT can draw from a wider pool of people anywhere and living elsewhere. There are still some valid concerns with some larger and more traditional (and more highly regulated) organizations about the cloud, so that is a consideration. Although the story is getting much better and the solutions are proving to work for these kinds of organizations, the complexity and cost naturally goes up, further emphasizing careful planning and consideration.