Configure Azure - first steps

We’re the Azure infrastructure experts who help businesses move to the cloud with confidence.

Planning your Azure Configuration

Where do you start when you begin researching pricing up your cloud options?  It’s like venturing out into the big unknown, not knowing what to expect.

You might think that the answer lies in cloud pricing tools or some great step by step blog posts but unfortunately, those online tools can only provide pricing on what you input.  And no blog post can account for every variable in the process – after all, every business is different.

Ever configured your dream car online, choosing the make of car, model, engine, fuel, colour, and every trim and feature you can think of? Azure is no different. There are multiple Series and configurations to choose from.   Every choice impacts your monthly cost, end performance, flexibility and on-boarding path.

If you want to ensure you cloud goal becomes reality without learning the hard way, the scope of the job is so large and complex, first timers would benefit from third-party advice at the very least.

Configuring Azure Configuring Azure – The devil is in the detail

Knowledge and considerations

Scalability

The lure of an out-of-the-box cloud solution would appear at first to provide an easy answer to creating a cloud environment.  However, the businesses that choose this route almost inevitably face both cost and scalability issues further down the road.

The answer is to design architecture that can scale without impacting on performance or costing more than it should and to achieve that takes experience, there are no two ways about it.

Security

There’s a presumption that because it’s cloud, it’s secure and is the responsibility of the provider. There are certain elements that the provider looks after, but you as a customer still has some major responsibilities.  If you think about renting a house.  The landlord ensures you have walls, windows, doors and an alarm system, but it’s the tenant who chooses to leave a window open, not lock a door or set an alarm.

Capacity

It’s a difficult mindset to change once you’ve grasped that capacity planning for the cloud is all about forecasting usage and very little about hardware specification.

Example.  If you’re an online retailer or service provider, your business is very likely to experience seasonal sales, whether that’s holiday shopping, sports and events, or new product releases.

In the cloud, every aspect of your infrastructure needs to be able to scale – increasing and decreasing as required.  Consider licenses, storage growth and location, compute power and performance requirements – the list is vast.  And unfortunately, doubling up is rarely the answer.

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Performance

When you utilise the services of any public cloud provider, you need to remember that you are sharing a massive amount of computing services with lots of other cloud provider customers. Traditional legacy hosting providers for services such as business websites typically allocated entire servers to the customer which allowed them unrestricted access to all the computing power however, cloud providers scale and usage driven model results in strict service level pricing and performance commitments which requires more restricted use of resources to ensure one customer cannot hog the computing power from another and that everyone gets their fair share for the service level they are purchasing. Heavy use is throttled to avoid impact other customers, which can result in either performance issues or excessive cost if an unsuitable service level is configured/purchased.

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Pricing

Don’t be fooled into thinking that choosing the cheapest options during your planning stage is the best answer.  And finding cheaper options to double up won’t deliver what you’re expecting either.

The difficulty comes with knowing what choices to make from Microsoft’s detailed config options that can reduce your ongoing costs, Cloud means that computing resources are now a commodity and not an asset, more powerful computing resources or higher service levels in some areas do not always mean higher prices!

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Resilience

Large corporate businesses have incorporated resilience plans into policies for decades and it’s no different when thinking about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) either.  When you design with resilience in mind, you create a fall-back model that ensures you have the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties such as downtime.

Did you know?

When you configure Azure, there are multiple Series and configurations to choose from, in the same way, you’d configure a car – make of car, model, engine, fuel, colour, and every trim and feature you can think of. Every choice impacts your monthly cost and end performance.

We manage your environment as if it was our own

The Azure team at igroup have been managing cloud environments since Microsoft launched Azure in 2010. What makes igroup a reliable provider is our strength in the longevity of team members and their wealth of cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) experience.

Achieving Microsoft Gold Partner status for ‘Cloud Platform’ means the team at igroup sit regular exams and technical assessments to stay abreast of the latest Azure developments, are qualified to help you modernise your infrastructure and migrate applications and data to the cloud.

We’d advise both new cloud customers clarifying the route they should take, as well as experienced customers who may be expanding into new areas or wanting to reassess their monthly costs would benefit from a Cloud Assessment.

The exercise will not only mitigate risk during future stages of your cloud architecture build and deployment, it also provides a clear step by step guide to successfully achieve it with clear costs involved going forward and a good understanding of what resource will be needed to do that.

Are you looking to move to the cloud, optimise your existing Azure infrastructure, want to swap providers, or have a chat about your cloud plans?

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