Windows Azure: Well Worth It!
Updated June 03, 2015
Windows Azure: Well Worth It!
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Windows Azure
Windows Azure is being used by numerous departments in our organization. It is being used in many different forms. It is used as a data transport between clients and as service apps for teams. It is also being used as a Virtual Private Network and to implement Single Sign On.
- Windows Azure's scaling feature is really nice. It allows you to scale your instances up and down as load increases and decreases. This helps in reducing service costs.
- Windows Azure offers SQL Server as a service which eases the pains of standing up a new SQL environment when needed. These SQL services can be replicated easily when needed - data and all. No need to do the work manually anymore.
- Windows Azure offers many templates for standing up a virtual machine. You can select the operating system and the type of VM (SQL Server, Sharepoint, Puppet Labs, etc) and you will have your VM created in minutes.
- Windows Azure's BizTalk service could use much enhancement. It does provide you with the basics but if you need more customization with inbound and outbound, you will have to use BizTalk full-blown.
- Windows Azure could provide more insight into the details of a failure. Currently, you can view trace logs and data on the Windows Azure dashboard but there are other errors being captured that Microsoft does not show to the general user. You have to call a technician to get more details on errors.
- Windows Azure VPN's could use more enhancements as well. The wizard walks you through the setup but it is not very intuitive. Also, when you need to make changes to the VPN, you are limited unless you drop and recreate the VPN.
- Windows Azure has had a positive impact on meeting our objective. It has allowed us to get-to-market much sooner than if we had stood up the hardware and hosted the applications in-house.
- It has also allowed us to decrease FTE resources as it allows a single architect to stand up and maintain an entire enterprise environment pretty easily.
- Our main challenge with windows Azure is identifying compute costs. Although we have tried to anticipate costs, there were times where we did not account for some compute time and came in very low with our estimates.
We evaluated Amazon's cloud service before going with Microsoft's Windows Azure. We found that Windows Azure was more flexible and was more robust for what we needed. Amazon had a cheaper price point but did not offer as much on their product list.
Windows Azure is best suited for applications that need ease of scale as it is very good at scaling. However, if your data is sensitive and needs to be encrypted in transit and at rest, you might want to consider a private cloud topology instead of a public one like Windows Azure.
Using Windows Azure
We have been very satisfied with Windows Azure and now a lot of our business depends on it as more teams are now deploying their applications into Azure. Our next step is to have our Infrastructure team move their resources to Azure. It will take awhile for that to happen but we are positive that it will.