Azure tips: Ten tech tips of the month

By the way, if you’ve made it this far, good on you; you’re not too afraid of Azure.

So, let’s get to it… As we put a little extra emphasis on Azure this month, in this blog, we’ll outline ten top tips within five main workloads of Azure.

We know, with there being so many things that Azure can do it can be tough to know where to start. But, with the strongest intelligence and the most comprehensive compliance coverage, it’s time to face your fears, break down Azure and add it to your portfolio. It’s not as scary as you may think, but, having said that, there is a fair amount you need to know. Let’s dive in…

Backup & Archive

With the huge amount of data that businesses create and host around the world, many are now turning to the cloud for an economical method to keep up with their ever-growing amounts of data. Azure backup and archive allows you to increase storage capacity while reducing the cost and complexity. How? You move your customers’ on-premises backup storage and data archiving to Microsoft’s highly secure and scalable cloud. We understand that for some, moving all data may not be comfortable, so…

Tip 1

Start with the archives. Azure Archive Blob Storage is a great first step in moving to the cloud. It’s low cost, easy to manage and integrates neatly with the rest of Azure for when you or your clients are ready to move to the next level.

Tip 2

Scale storage to accommodate peaks and dips so your customers will never spend more than they use.

Virtual Machines (VMs)

The benefits of virtual machines are plentiful. Your customers will profit from on-demand, scalable computing resources with more control, higher availability, better security, and improved management. An Azure VM provides flexibility of virtualisation, but without the need to buy and maintain the physical hardware that runs it. However, you will need to maintain the VM by performing tasks, such as configuring, patching, and installing the software that runs on it. So…

Tip 3

Scale to what your customers need, and they pay only for what they use by creating VMs when needed, for as long as they are needed, and shut them down when they’re not.

Tip 4

Why not use the BitTitan HealthCheck for Azure to help ensure you’re picking the right-sized VM for your customers in the cloud?

Cloud Databases

A database as a service (DBaaS) is a useful solution as it removes the need for application owners to install and maintain the database themselves. This responsibility is passed to the database service provider who takes care of installation and maintenance, then application owners are charged for their usage.

So, your customers will use the cloud as their data warehouse and as always with cloud solutions, they pay only for what they need. They can choose between either a single database or elastic pool.

Tip 5

Single databases are fully isolated databases optimised for workloads when performance demands are somewhat predictable. You can scale up and down a single database through the basic, standard and premium service tiers to get the performance and features your app needs, precisely when it needs it.

Tip 6

Elastic pools let you manage the collective performance of a pool of databases rather than single databases. The databases in the pool automatically scale up and down to meet demand. You can easily add and remove databases from the pool, scaling your app from a handful of databases to thousands, all within your customers controlled budget.

Website & Apps

Hosting a website and/or an app on Azure is simply done through the Web Apps service.

Azure’s web apps service allows you to rapidly build, deploy and scale enterprise grade web, mobile and API apps which are running on any platform.

By utilising Azure to host apps, we’re able to easily meet the rigorous performance, scalability security factors that we’re up against today on our digital transformation journey. Let us explain…

Azure can really help your website perform under high pressure circumstances.

For example, Black Friday is coming. Everyone is waiting for the moment the deals go live to pounce online and make purchases before stock levels diminish.

But, how frustrating is it when you visit your favourite website to quickly bag that bargain, but, the website crashes. Outrage.

You can’t search for anything, move from page to page, or complete a purchase.

This is simply down to high surges of traffic where the website doesn’t have the capacity to cope with so many visitors.

However, if the website or app was hosted on Azure and built to support a cloud scale environment, then capacity could be automatically scaled up and down according to how much traffic is on the site at one time. Therefore, no crashing, happy customers, and, loooaaads of sales…

Tip 7

You can choose from a range of plans to exactly suit your needs. If you choose a basic, standard or premium model, you are guaranteed 99.95% uptime SLA.

Tip 8

Azure web apps support many content management systems, so your customers won’t have to change from the one they are familiar with. Find and deploy popular content management systems (like WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, and many more!) in the Azure marketplace.

Identity & Security

The identity and security workload consists of a range of services that help to keep sensitive information private & secure in the cloud. The security services are a combination of a management centre, data security and end-user security.

Many are now realising how important it is to have an active identity monitoring system in place to quickly detect suspicious behaviour and trigger an alert for investigation. While your clients are focusing on their business, they can rest assured with the knowledge that their MSP and a cloud based, active identity monitoring system will be working alongside them in real time, detecting threats with the most up to date software, significantly decreasing the chance of an attack or infection.

With many now embarking on their digital transformation journey, hybrid cloud deployments are increasing. It’s important that you understand how to integrate on premises and cloud directories and provide a seamless experience for your customers. You can read Microsoft’s full best practice document for identity and security here.

To accomplish this, Microsoft recommends the following two tips:

Tip 9

Synchronize your on-premises directory with your cloud directory using Azure AD Connect.

Tip 10

Combine your on-premises identity with your cloud directory so that it is a single centralised unit using Active Directory Pass-through Authentication.

And there we have it – ten tips within 5 workloads.

Brain melt?

We know the feeling.

 

If you need help understanding Azure, don’t hesitate to give one our cloud specialists a call. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have and help you break down Azure that little bit further.

As an MSP, you’ll want to understand Azure sooner rather than later. In case you missed our previous Azure related blog, check out the Azure market opportunity for MSPs. As well as 10 signs your clients need to deploy Azure.

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