Making the Move to Azure.

The Microsoft Azure platform is quickly becoming a very popular choice for organizations that are considering cloud options. Microsoft continues to invest heavily in Azure and the migration to the cloud is gaining traction. For a while, clients were reluctant to move core applications and data to the cloud, however, the Azure platform is proving itself to be a secure and reliable solution for organizations in both the public and private sector.

Azure’s “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) offering delivers resources, such as servers and storage using the Microsoft cloud. This model is a significant departure from the traditional IT approach which required organizations to buy more hardware when additional computing power or storage was required. Organizations not only had to spend money on hardware… but also had to make an investment in maintaining and supporting the hardware. With IaaS, clients simply play a monthly fee and subscribe to the service. Maintenance and uptime are managed by the cloud service provider.

The Azure platform can deliver a useful suite of services, from computing power and data storage to development tools and services for analytics and machine learning.

Clients are now asking us about moving their SharePoint solution into the cloud with Azure. They’ve asked for advice, dos and don’ts and they want to understand best practices. There are a lot of opinions on making a move to the cloud and we wanted to share a few perspectives in this blog.

Before you move SharePoint to the cloud

A number of Kiefer clients are making the move to Office 365 and they are evaluating SharePoint Online and Azure. We have a rich legacy in helping clients deploy sophisticated solutions using SharePoint, so it’s really no surprise that we have been fielding a number of questions on this topic.

It’s important to know, SharePoint Online will be a bit different than SharePoint on-premise. Office 365 and SharePoint Online is considered a “Software as a Service” (SaaS) and it runs in a cloud environment. Clients have become interested in SharePoint Online because it’s a subscription-based model and it could potentially help organizations reduce the costs for their intranet solution. However, there is one problem with SharePoint Online. SharePoint Online doesn’t have the same capabilities of an on-premise version of SharePoint.

Deploying SharePoint on Azure gives you a SharePoint experience that is more like your on-premise experience. The limitations of SharePoint Online and Office 365 are gone. With SharePoint Online in Azure, you have an actual “on-premises” deployment, but one that runs in the cloud instead of on your organization’s hardware.

What you need to know about connecting to the cloud

In order to deploy SharePoint on Azure, you need to connect your on-premise network to the Azure network. In a nutshell, the organization establishes a network configuration that connects both ends. Once that has been achieved, you can extend your own network into the Azure network.

This process will allow an organization to leverage Azure resources in the cloud, while still remaining part of their network. The SharePoint environment deployed in the Azure platform connects to the existing in-house applications and allows for the organization to use existing user identities to log into their SharePoint environment.

Successfully using SharePoint with Azure will require a little expertise. If you feel a bit overwhelmed or lack the resources to make the move… We can help.

Do you know SharePoint?

SharePoint is a powerful and scalable platform that is a core business application for many organizations. If you have some experience with SharePoint and are currently using an on-premise version of SharePoint you really should not have much trouble.

Are you ready to move to the cloud?

If you’re infrastructure and application are all on-premise, you’re going to have to get up to speed on the cloud before moving forward. If you already are working in a hybrid environment (hybrid solution that combines on-premises intranet and cloud computing) or have already made investments in cloud infrastructure, you may already have a pretty good understanding of how your organization will leverage the cloud.

What do you know about Azure?

There are choices when you are considering a cloud platform, but if you are going the Azure route, it’s important to have resources that understand Microsoft’s Azure. Azure is not like Amazon Web Services or IBM Cloud, so it’s critical that you have the support of a resource that knows Azure.

In Summary

Moving to Azure can deliver a significant cost savings, specifically by reducing IT hardware and the associated cost of maintaining the hardware.

With Azure, Microsoft manages your environment. Sure, with Azure you’ll pay a monthly subscription, but it generally costs less than if you were to run your own servers.

Azure is critical in allowing your IT team to focus on critical IT business initiatives instead of worrying about infrastructure.


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