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Podcast: Azure, Who and What Is It For

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Introducing the Cloud Services Series

In this inaugural three-part podcast series, the team at Catapult takes over the MSDW Podcast to talk about and clarify the confusion, interest, and excitement that surrounds Microsoft’s cloud services. CEO Elliot Fishman leads the discussion with colleagues Jeff Bacon, Blair Hurlbut, and Dan Ditomaso to break down the following topics:

In Part 3: Azure, Who and What Is It For, Elliot, Jeff, and Dan discuss Microsoft Azure. What is it, how is it different from other cloud offerings, and what are the opportunities to use it in context of Dynamics solutions. Read a glimpse of the conversation below.

  • 2:00 – Azure – Who’s it for?
  • 5:00 – Cloud terminology basics.
  • 8:00 – Is Azure relevant for on-prem NAV customers?
  • 11:30 – Are there differentiating benefits of Azure vs public cloud competitors?
  • 13:45 – Is Azure going to save me money in the long run? Should that matter?
  • 16:15 – Infrastructure security and scalability in the cloud.
  • 18:15 – Microsoft’s uptime stats and SLAs for Azure.
  • 22:30 – Do customers really enjoy the results of an Azure-based solution?

Who Is Azure For

Dan Ditomaso

Azure can be misunderstood by some people but to your point about who is it for, it’s really just for everyone. It can be from the single developer in a startup who wants to make a video game and develop it using cloud technologies all the way up to large enterprise, the 500 to 1,000 plus employee companies out there. So it kind of spans the whole array of companies out there.

To your question of what Azure really is, there are a lot of different services out in the marketplace that use the word cloud but Azure is truly a cloud offering. Microsoft Azure is a cloud offering that started around 2010 and it’s been built up ever since as a product. It started out with just a few things. You can move things like your virtual machines, SQL databases, and other components of your enterprise to the cloud. You can lift and shift them into the cloud and then run them in a data centre that’s managed by Microsoft instead of running them on-premise.

So that’s a high-level summary of what Microsoft Azure really is. It’s a cloud-based data centre that you’re essentially paying for on a per hour, per day, or annual budget that lets you lift and shift your applications to the cloud and elastically scale them if you need.

Jeff Bacon

Without getting all of the detail because there’s new capabilities on Azure everyday, I’d agree with what Dan said. But I’d also add that not only is it for everybody publicly but it’s also for Microsoft themselves in order to host their applications that they’re running as a subscription service, like the Dynamics 365 offerings, Office 365 offerings, and all of the other cloud-based services that they’re putting out there. It’s a way for Microsoft to consume their own services.

It’s basically a platform not only for Microsoft to offer public offerings, but also for customers who want to put their things in the cloud to run on that particular environment. It’s all-encompassing.

Is Azure Relevant For On-Prem NAV Customers

Dan Ditomaso

Microsoft has addressed this point really well by being able to focus on their long-term play with Azure by developing something called the hybrid cloud, a unique term to Microsoft. When they initially offered Azure, they thought everyone is just going to move to Azure. But I think as they’ve been working with customers and listening to feedback, they realized that customers don’t want to pick up their VMs, move to the cloud, and that’s it. They want to keep some assets on-premise for a number of reasons.

Microsoft’s made some really heavy investments in what I mentioned, the hybrid cloud, and that allows you to keep some of your workloads on-premise and move some to the cloud. It really makes a lot of sense to pick up a Dynamics CRM or Dynamics NAV type application and move it to the cloud. Those are two great candidates, but others might include SharePoint, etc. Exchange can now be removed from your environment and you can now shift that into Office 365.

So there are some really quick wins with moving your application to the cloud. Through the advantage of running in Microsoft Azure cloud, you can extend a lot of the on-premise technology you have into the cloud and then have interconnectivity with minimal footprint in Azure so you can choose whichever works for your business.

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Catapult Leadership

Be open-minded. ERP projects aren’t just about requirements, they are about putting together a very thoughtful, practical program of work with scalable solutions in mind.

Jeff Bacon, VP Client Development