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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Just What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure Support in New Orleans

So what is this Azure? You have no doubt by now heard of this thing we call the "Cloud". It's everywhere, but a lot of people still don't quite understand what it is. To put it very simply, the "Cloud" is just a computer (or loads of them, actually) that are not where you are currently sitting. In other words your data is residing in a data center in a facility that specifically caters to storing it and providing access to it for you. This data does not for the most part reside on your on-premise systems. Most of us know Dropbox. When you install Dropbox, the app creates a folder on your computer, and any data you put there is immediately synchronized to the cloud. That way, if your computer crashes, is lost, or whatever, you can get your data back just by connecting to Dropbox from another computer.

Microsoft Azure provides this same functionality except on a larger more versatile, enterprise scale. In Azure, all the complex systems you run that are part of your network infrastructure can reside in the Azure cloud. This can include all your servers that host your applications, websites, email (via Office365, a part of the Azure cloud), databases, VPNs, Active Directory, the list goes on and is truly endless.

If you are facing a major hardware upgrade of your server(s), you may want to give us a call to see what Azure can do for you and what the costs are. You may be surprised how much more economical it is compared to buying and maintaining your own hardware and software licensing. And if you are like us, smack dab in the middle of a major hurricane zone, then no more worrying about what to do with you data and if you'll lose your infrastructure, as the heart of it will be safely tucked away in the Azure cloud and replicated to multiple data centers around the country.

Microsoft Azure is also a highly effective solution for your Disaster Recovery plan. You can use Azure to back up your systems and/or replicate them in their entirety so that during an emergency, and even for testing purposes, they can be turned on in the cloud and accessed just as they were when running on your on-premise hardware. The cost of doing this is so inexpensive it will shock you, which is why I tell people that you really need to be doing this as no other solutions makes sense anymore.

Check back soon, my next blog will cover in detail the amazing backup and replication features of Azure. Look for the title "Microsoft Azure for Disaster Recovery". I'll go over in detail how this works without getting to technical and also provide a video demonstration of how Azure replication works.
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