The cloud for modern business

Made for

enterprise clients familiar with Microsoft products, robust development and deployment.

Not for

managed cloud, or those unfamiliar with Microsoft products.

Features

Virtual Machines

Azure Virtual Machines lets users deploy a wide range of computing solutions. Users can deploy a virtual machine nearly instantly, and pay by the minute. With support for Microsoft Windows, Linux, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, IBM, SAP, and Azure BizTalk Services, users can deploy any workload and any language on nearly any operating system.

Features

  • Built-in virtual networking and load balancing
  • Hybrid consistency with on-prem systems
  • Deploy any workload and any language on nearly any OS

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Cloud Services

Cloud Services allow users to develop, package, and deploy powerful applications and services to the cloud with Azure Cloud Services and the click of a button. It allows users to scale from 1 to 1000 in minutes. Provisioning, load-balancing, and health monitoring is handled by Azure. Your application is backed by a 99.95% monthly SLA.

Features

  • Support for Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, .NET, and Ruby
  • Auto Scaling
  • Automated OS and application patching

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Additional Computing Services

Batch
RemoteApp
Azure Service Fabric

Storage

Azure Storage provides users with the ability to scale, to store, and retrieve large amounts of data. Azure Blob Storage is used to store unstructured data, such as documents and media files. Azure Table Storage is functional for structured NoSQL data. Users can use Azure Queue Storage to reliably store messages, and the SMB-based Azure File Storage for existing or new applications.

Features

  • Geo-redundant Storage
  • Petabytes of available storage
  • Supports .NET, Java, Android, C++, and Node.js

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Azure Backup

Azure Backup is an underlying technology of Operations Management Suite and provides users with a scalable solution to protect application data. Azure Backup can retain data for up to 99 years to meet regulatory requirements. Backup data is secured over the wire and at rest. The backup data is stored in geo-replicated storage which maintains 6 copies of data across two Azure datacenters.

Features

  • 99.9% availability guaranteed
  • Data is encrypted in transit and at rest
  • Geo-redundant Storage

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Additional Storage Services

StorSimple
Content Delivery Network

Virtual Network

Azure Virtual Network provides an isolated and secure environment to run virtual machines and applications. Users can use private IP addresses and define subnets, access control policies, and more. With Virtual Networks, Azure acts as a personal datacenter.

Features

  • Granular control over traffic between subnets
  • User-controlled hybrid infrastructure
  • IP addresses and DNS servers defined by user

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ExpressRoute

Azure ExpressRoute lets users create private connections between Azure datacenters and infrastructure on premises or in a colocation environment. ExpressRoute connections don't go over the public Internet.

Features

  • Private connections to Azure
  • Connects directly to WAN
  • Cost benefits and lower latency

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Additional Networking Services

Traffic Manager
Load Balancer
Application Gateway
VPN Gateway

Operational Insights

Operational Insights, part of Microsoft Operations Management Suite, is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution tailored for IT operations teams. This service uses Azure to collect, store, and analyze log data from virtually any Windows Server and Linux source, from any datacenter or cloud, and turn it into real-time operational intelligence.

Features

  • Collect, store, and analyze log data
  • Consistent visibility across on-premises and cloud resources
  • Easy incident resolution

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Scheduler

Azure Scheduler lets users create jobs in the cloud that invoke services inside and outside of Azure—such as calling HTTP/S endpoints or posting messages to Azure Storage queues. Users can choose to run jobs right away, on a recurring schedule, or at some point in the future.

Features

  • Schedule immediate, future, and recurring jobs
  • Integrate with Azure Storage queues for long-running or offline jobs
  • Operates consistently, even during system failures

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Additional Management Services

Automation
Azure portal

 

Security

Encryption:
  • In-Transit: SSL/TLS
  • At Rest: Client-side with .NET
File Management:
  •  Role Based Access
  • Retention Time: 90 days
  • Data Destruction: Server Wipe or Destruction
Audits & Compliance:

Performance

Performance:
  •  Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Guaranteed Uptime: 99.95%
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
Global Infrastructure:
  • Data Center Zones: 22
  • North America Locations: 8
  • Europe Locations: 2
  • Asia Locations: 4
Basic Support:
  •  Phone
  •  Chat
  •  Tutorials
  •  Premium Support Available

Pricing

Microsft Azure services are billed based on monthly usage

Reviews

Sort by
 
Client Interview
Oct 05 2016

Superior BI Analytic Tools

5.0

Features: 
4.5
Ease of use: 
4.0
Support: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
5.0
the reviewer
 
IT Services
 
51-200 employees
 
Santa Clara, California
Vice President of Delivery and Engineerin, Menlo Technologies
David Hickman
The Review

Recommendations: 

Menlo Technologies using various cloud platforms, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Azure offers strong IoT capabilities and superior data analytics tools. They recommend Azure slightly more than AWS due to a better roadmap investment in analytics provided by Microsoft.

Read full review

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Features
  • 4.0 Ease of Use
  • N/A Support
  • 5.0 Willing to Refer
    I'd recommend Microsoft Azure a bit more because of the roadmap investment in analytics.
 
Client Interview
Jun 09 2016

Reduced Costs for Microsoft Shops

5.0

Features: 
4.0
Ease of use: 
4.0
Support: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
the reviewer
 
Information Technology and Services
 
11-50 employees
 
New York, New York
VP of Product at CloudEndure
Leonid Feinberg
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The user is CloudEndure, a workload mobility company focusing on cloud systems. They utilize Microsoft Azure along with the two other most popular platforms, Amazon Web Services [AWS] and Google Cloud Platform. According to CloudEndure, Azure offers a more frictionless migration to shops with on-premises Microsoft products. The user recommends Azure to those seeking multiple Microsoft products, as they bundle products for a lower TCO [total cost of ownership].

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

CloudEndure is a company specializing in workload mobility for any infrastructure and from any location. We focus mostly on cloud systems, including public, private, and hybrid ones. We can also offer workload mobility for on-premises environments or mixed ones. We mostly provide enterprise-grade disaster recovery, with zero RPO [recovery point objective] and RTO [recovery time objective] as well as live migration with a near-zero cutover window into the cloud.

What is your position?

I am the Vice President of Products in the company.

CHALLENGE

What is the business challenge a company faces that initiates the need for this platform?

There are two main benefits for migrating to the cloud. First of all, it’s the long-term total cost of ownership. When comparing the actual computer storage and network resources of public cloud solutions to their on-premises alternatives in terms of price, the cloud services could appear to be costlier. When looking at the total cost of ownership, including manpower, dealing with more functions, high availability, and so on, the cloud will equate to the most cost-effective solution for many workloads. The on-premises prices for commodity hardware have more-or-less remained the same over time, having already reached their lowest level. Cloud prices are dropping all the time, so looking forward, even the price for the resources themselves will probably come to be lower than what it is today, if the trend continues. TCO is a very important factor when making the decision to migrate to the cloud.

The second reason connects to the first, even though not directly: the cloud allows users to do things which could have never been done before within an on-premises environment. This ties to the DevOps paradigm of doing everything automatically, without human interaction. The cloud allows for automation and a more-or-less infinite resource pool, giving users access to many more automated mechanisms than would have been available in a standard, on-premises environment.

We work mainly with enterprises and other large organizations. These are the two main reasons for them to migrate into the cloud.

SOLUTION

What are you recommendations for integrating cloud technologies into an organization?

It's never an all-or-nothing type deal, especially for large companies that have many legacy infrastructures which cannot be migrated in a day or even a month or year. It's always a good idea to try the cloud out by migrating a number of less business-critical workloads. The cloud has its own quirks and behaviors which people who are unfamiliar with it would not naturally anticipate. Once they become more familiar with the cloud after migrating a set number of workloads, they can migrate many others. There will be workloads which most companies will want to maintain on-premises indefinitely, like security regulations and control systems. The majority of workloads are good candidates for migration, utilizing this simple strategy of moving slowly and surely.

How do the costs of cloud compare to legacy platforms?

I think that the cloud will eventually win in terms of cost in most cases because of the economy of scale. When every company manages its own infrastructure, it needs to spend a fixed number of resources on setting this infrastructure up, maintaining it, and refreshing software licenses and hardware every few years. The capital expenditure is substantial in this case. When moving to the cloud, much of that expenditure can be converted to operating expense, having a reduced waste of resources. Companies pay for what they consume, and don't have to employ a team of people who maintain the hardware, networking infrastructure, etc. This is all being taken care of by the cloud provider. Any workload that can be migrated to the cloud without any business implications, should be migrated. It will come with a reduction of cost.

Why do you prefer this platforms over others?

Our company goes in the same direction as the market. We are enablers for clients who migrate to the cloud, and the 3 main enterprises to which clients want to migrate to are AWS, Google, and Azure.

Microsoft Azure has less friction when it is integrated with a Microsoft-based on-premises environment. This doesn't necessarily make it easier for a client to migrate into the Microsoft cloud if they are a Microsoft shop, but after migrating, part of the workload in integrating with the parts which were left on-premises can be somewhat easier. In terms of cost, Microsoft offers nice bundles when buying multiple Microsoft products, like Windows, Office, and SharePoint. This can reduce costs for large enterprises and contributes to the TCO.

FEATURES

Were there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?

There are many functionalities that target smaller, startup companies, allowing them to build workloads differently. In terms of running machines, networking, and storage on the cloud, the functionalities of the 3 major cloud platforms are comparable to each other.

Looking back, are there any areas of the platform that you feel could be added or improved upon?

Migrating to the cloud is still a difficult process. This is why we've developed our migration technology. For any company without the advantage of using CloudEndure, the migration process of legacy applications is tedious. If there is a large amount of workload, many migration projects actually fail. It's very difficult to achieve, there is a lot of human error, and the cutover windows are huge. I know of many migration projects which have failed due to a lack of proper tools. As we go forward, the public cloud will come to provide more functionality around this challenge. It's a gap which they all need to fill.

Have you had to interact with the platform’s support team or reference their support resources?

From my experience, the support is pretty good. They usually go above and beyond of what is required and are very professional as well. I know that development and product teams are usually in charge of support duties in order to ensure that they are closer to the customer and provide insights which a standard support person would not necessarily have.

RATINGS

We ask that you rate the platform on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best score.

How would you rate them for functionality and available features?

4 - Both Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure provide everything needed in order to run the workload, but they don't excel in terms of the amount of features, like AWS.

How would you rate each platform for ease of use and ease of implementation?

4 - There is complexity for any cloud platform. The more features there are, the more complex the system becomes. Neither of these platforms is easy to use. There are things to be understood beforehand, and the user must know what is happening behind the scenes. The user interface for each platform could be more intuitive than it is today. Other than that, they're all doing a good job.

How would you rate the platforms for support, as in the response of their team, and the helpfulness of available resources online?

5

How likely are you to recommend one of the platforms to a friend or colleague?

5 - They all have disadvantages, but I would recommend any one of them, depending on specific needs, to a customer wanting to run a workload on the public cloud.

How would you rate each platform for overall satisfaction?

5

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Features
  • 4.0 Ease of Use
  • 5.0 Support
  • 5.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Apr 06 2016

The Ideal Platform for .NET Development

4.0

Features: 
5.0
Ease of use: 
4.0
Support: 
3.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
the reviewer
 
Information Technology and Services
 
201-500 employees
 
Minsk, Belarus
IT Services Director and .Net Development Team Leader at Elinext Group
Alexey Trigolos and Nikolay Karzhan
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The user is Elinext, a software development company involved with SaaS [Software-as-a-Service] solutions. The primarily utilize Microsoft Azure for project development, as they are often utilizing a .NET framework. Additionally, the use Azure for secure implementation for e-payment solutions. Elinext speaks highly of Azure's support resources, and they highly recommend Azure to developers working with .NET.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Alexey: We are a software development company specializing in full-cycle product development. Enterprise web and mobile application development and QA consulting are among our core activities. We are well experienced with SaaS solutions, particularly Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Right now, we're involved in Azure projects related to payment services and enterprise resource planning systems.

CHALLENGE

What is the business challenge a company faces that initiates the need for this platform?

Nikolay: We particularly use the Azure cloud solution because we've developed our projects using .NET. Azure provides a lot of flexibility in managing different aspects of .NET projects, and gives us the ability to store our entire solution in one place. We have the ability of creating a database for our projects and scale it according to need. We have traffic management, diagnostic, login, and task management mechanisms.

A: Another reason for using Azure is that our e-payment solution required a secure implementation. We needed to store our environment using a third-party company, which uses Microsoft Azure. Scalability was important because, even though we're currently in the production phase, we expect the application to have a high database load. We plan to meet this demand by running additional servers, which is something that Azure can facilitate.

SOLUTION

How does your company implement this platform?

A: We have three different environments in Microsoft Azure, all related to our production. We have a real production environment, a pre-production one, and a staging environment which is used for testing purposes. The latter is used locally by our customers in Canada.

N: Azure is a Microsoft project which provides easy development abilities on local machines. Our local solutions can be moved to any Azure environment. Another benefit is that they provide good integration with Visual Studio.

How does the cost of Azure compare to comparable solutions?

N: I can only compare it with GoDaddy, which is another solution for Visual .NET hosting. Price-wise, Azure is within market standards, but they have very flexible pricing plans. For example, for the initial implementation of a project, a client can opt for the free hosting. This free version provides limited resources, mainly that no more than 10 websites can be created, the dedicated CPU doesn't exceed 2 Ghz and the memory is no larger than 1 GB, which is shared between all projects. This can be enough for initial development. Afterwards, clients can buy the first commercial plan, going into pre-production. This offers more resources, and as the main benefit, they can make scaling configurations. If, for example, the traffic spikes during evenings, when most users visit online shops, Azure can automatically increase the needed resources and make performance better. After user-request numbers return to normal, the default configuration is implemented. This comes with a typical cost of $5 per day. An increase in users drives up the price only for the hours in which additional performance is needed.

We've tested the system's ability to cope with several hundred payments per second. In cases such as this, Azure can offer more than 10 CPUs in parallel, which can process requests without result errors. The price will grow accordingly but the same configuration on a non-cloud system could cost the same or more.

A: The initial expenses can be quite significant for a company, so a solution like Azure can be the ideal choice. In the long-term, costs grow as more powerful environments are needed, and at some stage, cloud solutions can become expensive. Customers reaching a large-enough size will usually try and organize their own server environment.

Why do you recommend that platform over other platforms?

N: Azure is an ideal solution for hosting and developing .NET applications, as well as using the Microsoft-recommended technologies for such an application. Azure automatically provides integration with development tools and gives management abilities that are usually not permitted by other platforms. It also has a good scalability mechanism. Web applications created on .NET work best on Azure.

Looking back, are there any areas of the platform that you feel could be added or improved upon?

N: At one point, our service stopped working. We contacted Azure support, which solved this problem within several days. We use the free support plan, which nevertheless solved our problem quickly.

In regards to features, during the two years in which we've used the service, the Azure team has integrated a lot of different functions on the administrative side of the platform. From our point of view, they currently cover all of our needs. This is the result of a good collaboration with their customers and administrators.

During the last year, Azure has allowed the upload of custom certificates and the configuration of custom website DNS. They allow the use of source code from development tools and have updated their database to SQL Server 2016. These are just a few examples that show the mobility of the Azure platform. They have very good support and are constantly working on new functions.

A: The support team of Microsoft Azure has made huge progress in terms of documentation. I was involved in projects for which customers gave us access to their systems. Whenever we encountered problems in these cases, we had difficulty in identifying their sources. Due to the fact that Microsoft Azure provides very good documentation, we have managed to identify errors very quickly.

N: Two years ago, their level of documentation was still lacking, but they've solved this problem and improved their system.

OVERVIEW

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate Azure on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.

How would you rate Azure for its functionality and available features?

Five. We would have rated them a three a year ago, which indicated that they've grown in the meantime.

How would you rate Azure for ease of use and ease of implementation?

Four.

How would you rate Azure for support, as in the response of their team, and the helpfulness of available resources online?

Four. The main distinction is regarding who will actually use their services. If a user is not familiar with Azure from the start, they have to experiment to a degree in order to understand their documentation. Support resources are written for professionals, rather than juniors.

How likely are you to recommend Azure to a friend or colleague, out of five?

Five. My friends are mainly .NET developers, so I will recommend Azure every time if the need is to deploy an application with great performance.

How would you rate Azure for overall satisfaction with the platform?

Four. Azure still has areas of improvement. For instance, the debugging speed on remote servers could be better. Other problems are the accuracy of error messages and general deployment speed.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Features
  • 4.0 Ease of Use
  • 3.0 Support
  • 5.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Apr 05 2016

A Fast Growing Platform with a Comprehensive Set of Tools

4.0

Features: 
4.0
Ease of use: 
3.0
Support: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
the reviewer
 
Information Technology and Services
 
201-500 employees
 
Norway
Tech Lead at Itera
Jawid Nabizada
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The user is the cloud competence leader and software architect for Itera, a communication and technology company. Itera utilities Microsoft Azure for the deployment of customer systems and applications. Although they find that the cost of cloud computing varies, they are confident in the value of migrating to the cloud. According to the user, Azure is the fastest growing, most comprehensive cloud option and recommends it to business users.

BACKGROUND

Can you please provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?

Itera is an IT company providing IT consultancy services, software development, and IT operation and system maintenance for a variety of clients, mostly located in the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden and Denmark).

The company has 400 employees located across different countries such as Norway, Ukraine, Denmark and Slovakia. The company has several divisions, each dedicated for different type of services. The largest one is the technology consulting (TCC), along with providing software development and maintenance services nearshore and onshore to clients. The second largest division is called Managed Services (MS) which provides complex services such as hosting systems on premise and in Azure cloud, which includes provisioning, maintenance and monitoring, etc.

My role in Itera is as Cloud Competence Leader and Software Architect. Currently, I am working for managed services, and provide expertise in the fields of Azure cloud in Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS] and Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS] deployment.

CHALLENGE

What is the business challenge a company faces that initiates the need for this platform?

Hosting business infrastructure and provisioning are some of the biggest challenges for many companies providing similar services as we do. Azure Cloud, as one of the fast growing cloud platforms, gives a means to handle this challenge in the fastest way possible. Scalability of the solutions, reliability, and fast provisioning are some of key factors of why cloud is becoming so popular nowadays. Also, the variety of services that Microsoft and third party companies provide directly in Azure is another major business potential for us to provide our customers unified services. Additionally, software apps provisioned from Azure as a service such as CRM, Office 365, and many more, give us opportunities to grow our market segments.

FEATURES

How does your company implement this platform or software?

We use Azure for different purposes. The main use of Azure is to deploy customer systems, their infrastructure, and applications. The second use of Azure is to help our development team to gain knowledge in platform and software development on Azure. Besides this, we have a growing number of customers demanding access to Office 365 applications, Intune, and outlook services from the cloud.

How does the cost of utilizing Azure compare to other platforms?

As far as the costs, it all depends on the amount of resources used and usage frequency, or number of accesses (seats) the customers or end users require. For some customers, it is still feasible to keep the systems on premise and move to cloud only if it is business critical for them. On the other hand, there is a growing number of clients understanding the value proposition and quality attributes the cloud’s virtual environment provides, and they demand to migrate the systems, and even their applications, to Azure IaaS and PaaS. We just hope that over time the usage costs of cloud services will decrease, which will help us attract even more customers.

Why do you recommend that platform over other platforms?

Azure is one of the fastest growing cloud platforms these days. Comparing to Amazon Web Services, OpenShift, and many other cloud platforms, it provides the most comprehensive set of services and tools that IT businesses need for their daily job.

Were there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?

Azure cloud is built on the top of the popular Hype-V management platform which makes the migration of virtual machines [VMs] from on premise much smoother. Also, it supports other popular virtualization platforms such as VMWare. The most promising features that Azure provides are business intelligence, machine learning, and high performance computing. These potentials have great usability in the future software applications.

Nevertheless, developers can find many useful tools that greatly support their daily development activities.

Looking back, are there any areas of the platform that you feel could be added or improved upon?

There are still areas in Azure to be improved in term of ease of use, configuration, and maintenance. As Azure is becoming a widely used platform, and more popular among regular IT companies, it is vital to improve resource management, user interface/user experience, and add more automation with many business case examples and tutorials for a faster learning curve.

Have you had to interact with the platform’s support team or reference their support resources?

Yes, the support team has been greatly helping us in learning and managing deployments setups and other functions, as well as helping us overcome obstacles and pitfalls.

OVERVIEW

To sum up: We have a few quick questions, and for each question we ask you to rate the platform on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.

What would you give the platform for functionality of the features available?

Four.

What would you give the platform for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?

Three.

For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?

Four.

How likely are you to recommend the platform to a colleague or similar business?

Five.

Overall, satisfaction with the platform? 

Four.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Features
  • 3.0 Ease of Use
  • 4.0 Support
  • 5.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Mar 22 2016

Powerful Machine Learning Instruments

4.0

Features: 
5.0
Ease of use: 
5.0
Support: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
4.0
the reviewer
 
Computer Software
 
51-200 employees
 
Minsk, Belarus
CEO and President at Softarex Technologies Inc
Alexander Lipanov
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

Depending on specific project details, Softarex utilizes various cloud options, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. When utilizing Microsoft Azure, they will use it through testing and production to maintain consistency. According to Softarex, Microsoft Azure is useful for high-performance media tasks, and machine learning projects.

Please describe your organization.

Our company provides software outsourcing services for software development within the healthcare, internet, manufacturing, media, and e-commerce areas. One important area of expertise for us is energy and utilities. We've been in the market for a long time and have also started developing our own cloud-based products and architectures. Our first software product is called Enforcer. During our years of business, we've collected a huge expertise in working with difficult software applications which use pattern recognition, data mining, e-learning, machine learning, and so on, deploying different algorithms for data processing. Most of our projects have been complex, requiring not only knowledge in particular programming languages and platforms, but also a good knowledge in applied mathematics, computer science, and related areas like healthcare, energy and utilities, and e-learning. We constantly require an understanding of different approaches and needs. This has had a big influence for the way in which we develop software products for our clients.

What is your position?

I am the Chief Operating Officer of the company.

What is a common business challenge a company faces that initiates the need for this platform?

We have analyzed old platforms and adopted their functionalities for use in a modern environment. For example, we used a very old medical billing system in the past. We've since developed a new, cloud-based solution using Azure and implemented all the necessary functionalities from the legacy system using new technologies. We're not simply migrating old tech applications into the cloud, but rather we adopt new technologies with the same functionality and abilities for end-users.

If we need powerful functionalities for video transformation, encoding and decoding, and video distribution, we will select Microsoft Azure. It provides a lot of features for this kind of task. Microsoft Azure provides powerful instruments for machine learning, but it's far from cheap.

How does your company implement Azure?

We use them especially for testing purposes. In most cases, we will use the same platform at the production level as well. For example, if we intend to use a platform for production, we will take the necessary resources into a testing environment. When the solution is ready, we will take it to our production facilities and deploy that part of the process. In this way, we can provide a continuous integration process for our client and also ample testing and acceptance services. The client can thus have a constantly-working solution which can be provided to end-users, allowing for their services to be available without interruption.

How does the cost of utilizing Azure compare to other platforms?

AWS generally gives a better value than Microsoft Azure.

Are there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?

Overall, Amazon takes the first place, with Azure being second and Google, third. In terms of cost, Amazon again takes the first place; Google comes in second, while Microsoft is third. In terms of availability of tools, Microsoft and Amazon are tied for first place, while Google would come in second place. For machine learning needs, Microsoft is in first place, Amazon is in the second place, and Google is third. Microsoft has a very large set of features necessary for machine learning. They provide good documentation, and more importantly, they provide tools with which visual scenarios can be built for machine learning. It is very easy to use these tools once you have a good understanding of machine learning.

Looking back, are there any areas that you feel could be added or improved upon?

In both my opinion and that of my engineers, Microsoft requires improvements in terms of user interface. Both developers and end-users who want to purchase some services from these platforms are faced with a very big-picture approach. It's difficult to understand what the starting point is and what service needs to be bought first. Without a deep knowledge of cloud technology and solutions, it will be very difficult to understand what the first step should be just by researching their websites. A software developer who has never used these solutions will again be faced with this problem. This information can be found after some time spent searching for it, but in my opinion, usability and the ability to access this information should be improved. There is a need for developing tools or user-interfaces which give an overview and navigate through different tools and services available on both platforms. All the necessary technical information for both users and software developers needs to be available as well.

Have you had any interaction with the support team or any of their support resources?

We've not used the support services from Microsoft, either online or through calls. The information provided on their websites has been enough for us to understand their services.

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate Microsoft Azure on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.

How would you rate Microsoft Azure for functionality and available features?

Five.

How would you rate it for ease of use and ease of implementation?

Five.

How likely are you to recommend Microsoft Azure to a friend or colleague, out of five?

Four.

We analyze particular projects in order to give recommendations. If a friend, colleague or company will pose this question to us, I will inquire about their needs and requirements in order to provide the right suggestion.

How would you rate your overall satisfaction with Microsoft Azure?

Four.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Features
  • 5.0 Ease of Use
  • N/A Support
  • 4.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Mar 09 2016

Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Azure Stack

3.5

Features: 
4.0
Ease of use: 
3.5
Support: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
4.0
the reviewer
 
Computer Software
 
51-200 employees
 
Pune area, India
Director of Cloud Architecture at CloudMoyo
Venu Machavaram
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

CloudMoyo utilizes Microsoft Azure in a hybrid setting, and often is subject to compliance regulations, such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). They state that Microsoft Azure provides easier infrastructure implementation, and organizations can see a positive offset in operational costs within the first five years. CloudMoyo recommends the Microsoft Azure platform to organizations familiar with the Microsoft stack.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

CloudMoyo envisions, builds, and operates enterprise resource planning systems [ERPs] around cloud and data analytics solutions for the High Tech, Life Sciences, and Transportation industry verticals. We work within the healthcare industry in HIPAA Compliance projects. Most of our projects involve managing security, auditing, and moving data.

CHALLENGE

What is the business challenge a company faces that initiates the need for this platform?

Companies are concerned with costs as well as getting the right resources for these operations. Even though the cloud is something that people talk about constantly, the right skillsets aren't implemented everywhere yet. The time necessary for migrating to the cloud and defining new business processes are also primary concerns. There are enterprises which have been in the market for 50-100 years. They have established processes and they can be uncertain in terms of how such a change will affect them.

SOLUTION

What is the process for implementing Microsoft Azure?

Legacy systems I've seen had been grown organically through a period of 15-20 years. If someone will move to the cloud, the reason will likely be reducing IT operational costs. The typical way to do this move is through a lift-and-shift. If Microsoft is chosen as the solution, it will be a team process which will be implemented easily with the domain connectivity offered. Operational costs won't be offset within the first two years, but if the job is done correctly, it can happen within five years. It's also important to note that such a move cannot be done all at once. Performance testing and the volume of the data itself are the factors to consider. Once the team is confident that the move can be done seamlessly, they can proceed.

The way in which data is stored can be hybrid and it varies from organization to organization. IT departments typically focus on cost from an operational perspective, experimenting with various apps until they are certain that a move to the cloud is possible.

Once a hybrid cloud solution has been put in place for the legacy systems, the company can ramp up the right skills and slowly start learning how to design and architect their solutions for moving forward. Any new development projects will then be made exclusively with a focus on cloud implementation, and within a couple of years, the teams will be completely ramped up for the new skills required.

In what scenario would you recommend Microsoft Azure over other platforms?

Infrastructure is a big selling point for Amazon Web Services, but Microsoft is an important competitor, especially for clients who are already using the Microsoft stack. They can connect their domains seamlessly in these cases. Hybrid solutions work very well with the Microsoft Azure stack.

The Microsoft solution is not fully realized within their Software as a Service [SaaS] offerings. There is a lot of cost involved in bringing a platform to their cloud system, as well as the right skills, team, and architecture. Businesses considering Microsoft Azure as a solution would likely take this factor into account. Microsoft should bring some simplicity in their services, making a way to seamlessly connect SQL servers through the cloud, for example.

Are there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?

Power BI is one example of a very successful SaaS product from Microsoft. Office365 and Lync are also good examples of valuable products they offer. From our perspective as an analytics company, I see a lot of potential in the Power BI and SharePoint platforms.

Tableau is the main competitor to Power BI on the analytics side. Analytics are a two-part operation: visualization and data management. Microsoft has the right tools in place for data management, and they will continue to progress throughout 2016 in their ability to move data to the cloud. Visualizations can also be made locally though, if security is a concern.

Once Power BI picks up, business intelligence analysis can be done within the server, together with the SQL data warehouses. Businesses are open to these solutions. The only concern is the way in which data is secured. I definitely see potential for growth in this segment for Microsoft, although they are a little late to arrive in the cloud market.

Looking back, are there any areas of the platform that you feel could be added or improved upon?

Right now, I'm not assessing Microsoft Azure so much from a technical point of view. The biggest challenge for them is expressing a clear message in the market in order to stand out from their competition. Sometimes, even though a company may be offering the right solution, their message may not be coming out well. They're also doing a catch-up game in certain areas, like offering seamless backward compatibility with certain platforms. Migration capabilities offered within SharePoint would be one example.

OVERVIEW

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate the Azure platform on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.

How would you rate Azure for its available features?

Four. This rating also includes the stability of the platform.

How would you rate it for ease of use?

Three and a half. Their message is not entirely clear. Some tools are good, while others haven't been perfected yet. At the end of the day, when building a project, a user will want ease of use across the board.

How would you rate Azure for their support resources?

Three and a half.

How would you rate your overall experience with Azure?

Three and a half. There is room for improvement.

How likely would you be to recommend the platform to a friend or colleague in the same business?

Four and a half. We choose to use Microsoft Azure within certain areas. If I would be asked to recommend it for one of those areas, I would.

3.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Features
  • 3.5 Ease of Use
  • 3.5 Support
  • 4.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Mar 08 2016

Enterprise Cloud Platform with Private and Public Integration

4.0

Features: 
4.0
Ease of use: 
3.0
Support: 
2.0
Willing to refer: 
n/a
the reviewer
 
Computer Software
 
11-50 employees
 
Israel
Co-Founder and VP of Product at Cloudyn
Vittaly Tavor
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The user states that Microsoft Azure offers seamless transition between public and private networks. Additionally, he states that Azure is an advanced enterprise option with smooth integrations. However, he also notes that enterprise clients cannot simply rely on a single vendor.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our company is specialized in cost, performance, and utilization management. When considering the cloud, the one most important operational metric is cost. If an application is built correctly, a client can assume that cloud resources are infinite and they can take advantage of more resources as needed. Most applications are built in order to scale horizontally for more performance. If something in the configuration is wrong, it will be seen through the bill at the end of the month. It's crucial for users to understand what they are paying for.

As we worked with different customers, we discovered that virtually all of them are over-provisioning and over-paying.

CHALLENGE

What is a typical business challenge a company may face that can be resolved by utilizing the cloud?

There are a few challenges that an enterprise would need to be aware of. This was the main challenge of 2015. Before, a lot of companies were talking about the cloud, but none were considering it seriously. Virtually all enterprises have some kind of cloud strategy at this time. This means that the cloud has reached a certain level of maturity. One of the perceived challenges was security. Today, it is a concern, but not really a challenge when moving into the cloud. Security is pretty much covered.

Challenges still exist around compliance, the main one being the mindset of IT managers. The younger ones embrace the cloud, while the older ones still have a difficult time getting used to having different types of control needs. Once this mindset has been overcome, the applications used become the next issue. If a company takes its existing applications and moves them to the cloud, they'll probably pay much more for the service, without gaining a lot. The applications need to be elastic, growing and shrinking based on needs. Another issue will be management. When moving to the cloud, they need to get used to an entirely new set of tools. For example, the mindset by which cost is an operational metric and not a financial one is something they'll need to get used to. This is a question of maturity.

The third challenge is a more practical one: when moving to the cloud, there are no good tools which allow the user to address capacity management. A lot of applications try to give an idea of what they need within the cloud, but virtually all of them are inaccurate. This is a matter of trial and error: moving their application into the cloud and seeing how it behaves. It then needs to be sized according to needs.

SOLUTION

Are there any key areas that you would highlight as an important method for implementation?

The main motto of moving to the cloud is the same as for the rest of IT: internal expertise has to be original, while whatever is outside of this, like specific cloud or management best practices, should not be original. Industry standard tools are ideal here, like Mirantis or others. Established tools should also be used for security, cost management, and so on. It's essential for a user to get a set of tools which make the cloud transparent for them because, as it is today, it's far from being transparent.

How does the cost of cloud computing on Azure compare to legacy IT platforms?

Looking at a dollar-to-dollar cost, when moving an application from legacy IT to the cloud, it is possible to pay even four times more on occasion. This is because legacy IT focused on worst case scenarios, and allocated as many resources as would be needed for those cases. In the cloud though, the allocation is done strictly based on the task at hand, handling the usage spikes as they come. If you adhere to this kind of strategy, the cloud will be much more effective and cheaper than legacy IT.

Each cloud provider will be better than others in specific areas. Microsoft offers an interesting view by recognizing that, regardless of industry, private cloud does not have a future. As such, they've built their strategy around a seamless transition between private and public could systems. They've always been the best at integration technologies. Even if they don't offer a full set of solutions now, users can be sure that everything will be smoothly integrated together. Microsoft has to catch up with Amazon, but they've made huge progress during 2015, becoming a viable competitor. They have enough of the needed services, and make a good offer at an enterprise level. Unlike Amazon, who is still not perceived as an enterprise player, Microsoft is.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Would you recommend Azure to other businesses?

I believe it's a matter of case-by-case. Any enterprise of a certain size must have a presence within more than one cloud platform. You cannot rely on one vendor for any other type of service.

Are there any specific features or tools that set a platform aside from the others?

If a seamless transition between a public and private network and an enterprise approach are needed, then Microsoft is the best provider.

Have you had any interaction with the support resources offered by these three providers?

Given a choice, I would rely on outside support, but I have used all of them, and each was very responsive in terms of understanding our issues. None of them actually provided resolutions.

Microsoft had just provided us a very good billing API. However, we had issues using it with large customers. It took them about a month and a half to fix this issue.

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate each platform discussed on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.

How would you rate them for the availability of their features?

Four.

How would you rate them for ease of use?

Three. The most basic and simple features would receive a five but, once you start digging in to more complex items, the rating goes down.

How would you rate them for their support resources and the helpfulness of support staffs?

Two.

How would you rate your overall satisfaction with each platform?

Four. This rating is based on personal satisfaction. For customers, the level of satisfaction varies between three and four. If the rating drops below three, they will switch to a different provider. The Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google platforms perform according to different expectations. They all do their job, and all of them offer the same level of durability and scalability. The differences are much more subtle than one-to-five ratings.

The cloud itself may have a lot of drawbacks, but it is the future. All companies need to have a strategy for it because, five years from now, half of all IT will be in the cloud.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Features
  • 3.0 Ease of Use
  • 2.0 Support
  • N/A Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Feb 12 2016

Pre-built APIs for Developers

4.0

Features: 
4.0
Ease of use: 
3.5
Support: 
n/a
Willing to refer: 
4.0
the reviewer
 
Computer & Network Security
 
11-50 employees
 
Greater Omaha Area
Managing Partner at Midwest Cloud Computing
Raymond Garren
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The client speaks highly of the variety of application program interfaces [APIs] available on the Azure cloud platform. Due to these options, the client recommends Azure to app developers who could benefit from these pre-built tools. The client's firm, Midwest Cloud Computing, offers many cloud options and states that the correct cloud option depends on the customers' specific needs.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Midwest Cloud Computing provides private and public cloud solutions and managed service provider services, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses in the Midwest.

We work with Rackspace, Amazon Web Services [AWS] and Azure, in that order. We also have our own private solution that we market for cloud computing, with our own stack and datacenter.

What is your position?

I'm the managing partner within the company.

CHALLENGE

What is the typical business challenge that a client might be facing when they approach your company, inciting a need for a cloud platform?

Generally, they want to explore the possibility, but are lacking the resources that are internally required to help architect such a solution. They don't have a lot of familiarity with the differences between providers in the industry, and are looking for someone who can direct them.

SOLUTION

What would a typical implementation of a cloud platform look like for a client?

In an early-on engagement, we will discuss what the end-state looks like to them in terms of the problems they're trying to solve, whether they are infrastructure-based, if they have complexities that they can no longer fix, and so on. There is a myriad of problems that can be brought to the table. Once we've created a robust problem statement, we'll look for the best provider of such services. If the client is excited about mirroring their infrastructure, specifically if they are an application developer, we will choose an Azure marketplace. This comes with around 110 pre-built APIs for different applications.

We build a relationship with the hosting organization that the client will choose, and together with that organization, we create a migration plan, taking into consideration the percentage of virtualization the client currently has. They might be in a hybrid situation in which email and other services are in the cloud, but other elements are in-house. We bring these factors together, and once a project plan is in place, we will have an idea of what the requirements on their end and ours will be. If they sign the contract based on this, we engage; if not, we will catch up with them at 90 day intervals and assess their direction.

What are the specific reasons for which you would recommend either Rackspace, AWS, or Microsoft Azure to a particular client?

I've been an early adopter of what can be called Azure 1.0. I wasn't initially a big fan of their service, but they've made significant improvements. As I've said, if the client is a software developer, they have reasons to consider Azure. They provide features which can make the client's life better.

Compared to legacy systems, what can an organization expect in terms of cost?

In my point of view, there are physical and logical costs. The physical costs involve platforms, capital expenditure and so on. They can be deferred by working with solution providers. Many companies get into the three to five year cycles of having to replace server hardware and other infrastructure elements, which can amount to millions of dollars. An in-house cost model also implies that 50% of the money is spent just to make sure that the lights are blinking.

From a logical cost perspective, the benefits and cost factors are centered around people. Applications have to be patched and updated. By moving to a hosted or cloud model, these costs see a sharp reduction.

An organization may have found the best database administrator on the planet. That person can still find another job at a different company. The cost of replacing talent isn't considered by many clients. Managed service providers come with that expertise.

Specifically when it comes to big data deployment, a MongoDB infrastructure will fetch a $150,000 price. A Midwestern company with a good MongoDB administrator will have that person snapped up from them by the West or East Coast.

A hosting environment has the responsibility of bringing that expertise to the table. This is a huge advantage. When such a key person is lost, your project will be sunk. After a company has invested millions of dollars in Hadoop and in business analytics time, if their star administrator is lost to another company, they're done.

FEATURES

Are there any particular features of tools on any of these platforms that might make them stand out compared to others?

As I've stated, the Azure marketplace has pre-built APIs for Salesforce and other major platforms. This is an attractive resource if you develop software. The APIs are already built.

Are there any key areas that these platforms could improve?

The new Azure, compared to the old one, is improving day by day. I'm waiting to see if there is an end-state in their platform.

OVERVIEW

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate each service on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.

How would you rate each platform for its functionality and available features?

Four.

How would you rate them for ease of use and implementation?

Three and a half.

How would you rate them for their support services in terms of their teams' responsiveness and helpfulness of available resources?

I can't comment. I've never had to deal with their support services.

How likely are you to recommend each platform to a friend or colleague, out of five?

Four.

How would you rate your overall satisfaction with each platform?

Four.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Features
  • 3.5 Ease of Use
  • N/A Support
  • 4.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Jan 21 2016

Launching Online Platforms with Azure

4.5

Features: 
4.5
Ease of use: 
4.0
Support: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
the reviewer
 
Computer Software
 
2-10 employees
 
Kyiv, Ukraine
CTO and Co-founder at DevRain Solutions
Mykhail Galushko
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The client recommends Azure to business customers seeking a scalable online platform. He speaks highly of Microsoft's innovation and ongoing feature releases. Additionally, the client finds the push notification ability within the Azure platform to be a great benefit to mobile developers. With comparable price points to other platforms, the client recommends using Microsoft Azure.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are DevRain solutions. We specialize in mobile, web and cloud services. Our main goal is to deliver great products and services to our customers. In most cases, we delve deep into our customers' business processes in order to understand how we can help them. We cover not only the technical aspects, but also their integration into each business. We work mostly with Microsoft stack, like .NET and Azure. We also develop native iOS and Android apps. We are based in Kiev.

What is your position?

I am a co-founder, and also act as the company's Chief Technology Officer. I manage different projects as the team lead. I am a Microsoft MVP for Windows development using ASP.NET.

OPPORTUNITY/CHALLENGE

For what business challenge would you recommend Microsoft Azure to a client?

We recommend the solution to customers looking to launch new online platforms. They can easily start to use Azure to reduce their costs by paying only for the resources they need. If they get new clients, they can easily scale up by increasing their budget. The process doesn't require large technical undertakings or additional server administrators.

One of our USA clients manages several software divisions for medical companies. Most technical requirements are handled by us. At one point, we were managing several servers which they were running for development and infrastructure items. Because their costs were too high, they decided to handle the servers themselves. They moved to Azure in order to reduce costs and eliminate risks. Azure also guarantees back-ups and full assistance.

They provides free services for startups to an extent. A small business can build their infrastructure with Azure, and start paying only when they grow and need more space. The pricing for an SQL server can be high. Azure SQL is much more affordable.

RESULTS

Could you walk me through a typical implementation of the platform, from start up to actual usage?

Setting up an Azure website or cloud service is simple and can be scaled up along the way by moving to more powerful machines or more instances, able to handle increasing user requests. Azure SQL is the default storage option, and it's applicable to any binary files.

Microsoft also provides Azure Table Storage. It can handle a lot of data if built correctly. It’s quite cheap comparatively too. When building cloud solutions, you need to understand the price of the resources you plan to use, and find the best balance of cost and performance. When setting up your service, if you're using PHP, Python or something similar, Azure can be easily deployed for your website.

Virtual machines are another important element which gives users all the freedom they need. You can build any custom solution with them. As an example: a friend is working with US finance companies. He is predominantly using virtual machines, because they need more control over their operations from performance, security and other standpoints.

Azure provides great features for mobile developers. One example is that of push notifications. People want to use it in the most efficient way. For this, there is Azure Notification Hub that can handle all the hard work for you. The only thing required is to provide the location for sending push notifications. All the processing and storing is handled by Azure. Using such a service is less expensive than building and supporting the actual infrastructure.

What can a typical client expect in terms of cost from Azure?

Initially, Azure was more expensive than other cloud services, but they've reduced the pricing for some of their services. Recently, they’ve been on par with the competition.

A client can set up a site with a single database, able to handle 10,000 users per day. This will cost around $100 per month, which the smallest price point available, and doesn't include updates to the server or other maintenance features.

Microsoft provides a price calculator. Before starting a transition, we prepare a list of requirements for software and digital needs, and calculate what the cost will be for the customer.

Why would a client choose Azure over comparable platforms, like AWS?

Microsoft has been expanding their features list quickly, adding something new every month. If a client has a specific need, they can expect to find the right tool without any hassle. Azure added a machine learning feature recently, through which the user can make an analysis and create smart solutions. In this case, Azure works for you.

If you build a general solution, without a clear goal in mind, it won't matter what service you plan to use, be it Azure or Amazon. The prices are close.

The experience of the people who provide support makes the difference. If your team can work with Azure in the most efficient way and with minimal cost, then it will be the best choice.

FEATURES

Is there one specific feature of Azure that really stands out?

I couldn't name one feature in particular, since in most cases we use combinations of ten or more at a time. If just one of those was not available, we would start to rethink using Azure. We need everything in the package for completing projects successfully.

Most clients use the most general Azure features. The ones that use recently released services are few.

Is there anything that Azure could improve in their service, or any specific tool that they could add?

We had some issues with the panel used to manage the service. It was built inefficiently. They've released a new portal version, which is better, but not ideal.

Regarding features, Azure provides application insights; analytics for mobile, desktop or web apps. It collects performance data for your solution and allows you to set up alerts for when a website is down, for example. In the past, we would have had to use third-party solutions or build custom software for these features. The feature is currently in preview mode, but it can be used, even if it hasn't been officially released. All the information is gathered into a single portal, it can be viewed at once and allows you to track your expenses. Tracking the usage of multiple features would otherwise be a headache.

Have you had any interactions with the Azure support team, or any of their support resources?

In most cases, we haven't needed support. We handled most situations ourselves, using their documentation, so I couldn't say a lot about their support team.

Some of our clients have made inquiries to Azure support, and were given correct solutions to their problems.

OVERVIEW

We have five additional questions. For each of these, we ask that you rate Microsoft Azure on a scale of one to five, with five being the best score.

How would you rate them for their functions and available features?

Four and a half. The feature set is great, but, as with any solution, it could be better.

How would you rate them for ease of use and implementation?

Four. It depends a lot on the feature used.

How would you rate them for the quality of their support team and support resources?

Five.

How likely are you to recommend Microsoft Azure to a friend or colleague, out of five?

Four. Before choosing any solution, you need to make comparisons and decide what is best for you.

How would you rate your overall experience collaborating with Microsoft Azure?

Four and a half.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Features
  • 4.0 Ease of Use
  • 4.0 Support
  • 4.0 Willing to Refer
 
Client Interview
Oct 21 2015

Large Storage Size with Auto-Scaling Features

4.5

Features: 
4.0
Ease of use: 
4.0
Support: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
the reviewer
 
Information Technology and Services
 
51-200 employees
 
India
Technical Project Manager at Saviant Consulting
Dhavan Rathore
 
Verified
The Review
Recommendations

The client is very satisfied with the Azure platform. They speak highly of the scalability and availability of the platform. A large benefit is the low costs associated with Azure storage. The client states that Microsoft Azure is more powerful than Amazon Web Service, and is particularly useful for clients already familiar with Microsoft platforms. Saviant Consulting highly recommends the Azure platform to others.

BACKGROUND

Can you please provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?

Saviant Consulting works with international customers based in the US, UK, and Germany regions. We are developing solutions using the Azure platform, as well as mobile and web applications for enterprise customers. As a company, we really focus on the Azure application. I lead the mobile and Azure development team as a technical project manager. 

CHALLENGE

What was the business challenge your company was facing that incited the need for this platform?

There are a couple of business cases. We have several customers who have legacy systems with Microsoft or they have a legacy SAP system. Part of the solution acts as a web application, where a customer is looking for a solution which can be efficient in terms of the latest technology, and it can be used with the latest browsers.

From the performance point of view, they have been facing a lot of challenges. For example, one project was for the full delivery. So it was for the full service employees; they had to deliver the goods quickly. So the other legacy project of the system has a lot of problems in terms of performance around Windows CPC. There are performance issues in getting that data and updating the resources on time. There was no real-time as such. They had scheduled with a couple of solutions, but it gets slow if there’s a lot of traffic coming from the free service updates.

During the course of delivery with Microsoft, the mobile application was getting crushed and then it would restart. So to complete one drop, it was taking them five to ten minutes, and the data was only getting updated every ten minutes or so. So the data was not being updated in real-time. Now that we have developed a structure using the Azure solutions, the whole cycle takes less than two to three minutes.

SOLUTION

How does your company implement this platform or software?

Basically, this is a solution which we have built for the client. There are many things which we used from the Azure service for this solution. One was the event hub related to the Azure service. We used this to send the geo location and the vehicle temperatures. We are also using the Azure mobile services for our clients’ data syncing and push notifications. We are using this service first to trigger those messages to process the data on Azure Dynamic X. So we are using the Azure mobile service, the service bus, event hub, and workload to push the data on the Application Program Interfaces [APIs].

In terms of free level implementation, we are using that solution. Initially with the Azure Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS] on Windows phone, we had implemented it and the real-time data is getting pushed to the customer’s web server, and for the real-time metrics. If you walk through, you’ll see that the code platform is Microsoft Azure, where the whole key business is written there. So the Windows phone application connects with a Bluetooth printer to print the delivery receipts, and the sensors to record the temperatures of the truck.

So a truck has two compartments in the freezer, and the customer needs these temperature sensors to be in real-time. If the truck falls into the minimum threshold, they may call back the truck and send another one. It is critical for their goods to have that minimal temperature. This data is getting pulled by the power API, and there is a dashboard for them to see the real-time temperature information for each truck on the road.

There’s a mobile service which is integrated with the Windows phone application to do the data management. Every action performed by the Windows phone goes to the mobile service and through the service bus, because there would be data from the hundred drivers, for example. So those should be in a queue and should be processed by the cloud service that is workable, and should push the data to the API, and then push it on the implements.

There was one solution where the customer had a hundred large PDF files and certificates for their legal practice. They needed to host to the website. So we had given them a solution to move the certificates on the Azure blog, then showing them on the web interface, for their customers or clients to access those certificates.

Was your company considering other platforms? Why this platform?

If you look at the services we are using, they are more powerful than a service like Amazon S3. Also, some clients are already on Microsoft technologies, and they want to continue using Microsoft products. For the PaaS platform, you don’t have to worry about all the existing services. You can plug in any time, and you can scale. For the PaaS, Azure is a much bigger choice.

On an annual or monthly basis, how much does your company spend to utilize the platform?  

The amount does vary. We have some bespoke accounts for which we are using Azure services, but we don’t have access to the customer data. In a nutshell, the customers are using the standard services. Most of the customers are using three to four Azure services.

FEATURES

Were there any software features/tools that you were really impressed by?  

Whats most impressive is the data storage and the flavors that we have in Azure storage. In some cases, the applications are pretty simple, and they need to know very quick information. We recommend Azure temporary storage. From the data size, it is a benefit to have really minimum cost. We have a very large data size available there on Azure. There are many options for the auto-scaling feature in terms of the data you use on the fly. We have much control on the PaaS, and the customer doesn’t need to worry about the physical server when maintaining these services on this platform. We don’t have to think much about the infrastructure, because the scalability and the performance of each service is on the cloud storage. For a minimum price, we get to a maximum in terms of performance and size.

Looking back, are there any areas of the software that you feel could be added or improved upon?  

There are a few customers working on Big Data with Azure, and we are working on the document DB, and we are having a few challenges. Basically, to handle those data analysis is quite difficult. We would like to have extra functionality for this document DB.

Also, there are very few resources available for the solutions they launched last year. I see there is a lot of room for improvement in them. They need more predictive analysis to help the developer.

Have you had to interact with the platform’s support team or reference their support resources?

For the Azure mobile services, for instance, there was a loaner from Azure mobile service who has helped in mobile. So we are fixing one issue on the mobile app where we had trouble communicating with the mobile service. When we analyzed the schematics from the sales team, we had actually worked with a couple of people from the US team. They helped us gain access, and helped us to develop the service for the real-time temperature reading.

OVERVIEW

To sum up: We have a few quick questions, and for each question we ask you to rate the software on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the best.

What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?

Four.

What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?

Four. They could improve their documentation.

For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?

Five.

Overall, satisfaction with the platform?

Four and a half.

How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?

Five. We recommend it more for big data services and for scalable applications. This is a good choice for small scale applications, because they don’t need to bother much about the rest, and they can focus on the applications.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Features
  • 4.0 Ease of Use
  • 5.0 Support
  • 5.0 Willing to Refer