Cloud computing has completely changed the way the enterprise does its business. Agility and efficiency are now taken for granted as the cloud drives innovation at an extremely high rate. Creating and implementing a cloud strategy can help businesses accelerate their time to value. Deciding what assets you want to migrate to the cloud should be your first step towards forming a cloud strategy. A common scenario is that of assessing a hybrid cloud strategy to make an informed decision regarding cloud migration.
Microsoft Azure offers many benefits such as increased scalability, reduced costs, more flexibility and creativity, faster time to market, and the ability to leverage Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Azure is a development and hosting platform with on-demand computing & infinite scalability.
Now let’s take a look at the top three pros of Azure:
- Core functionality takes priority – Azure has created a robust ecosystem which provides economies of scale, flexibility and predictable payment structures. It allows development teams to worry only about application functionality, and not about the underlying scale, failover, deployment, and other similar issues.
- Simultaneous development and deployment – Azure provides a comprehensive application hosting environment, as well as a full-scale development platform with advanced tools which are integrated into MS Visual Studio. This enables effortless development and testing.
- Optimal usability of resources – Azure supports all the latest Microsoft technologies. This means that you can pretty much reuse the majority of your code base, as well as the developer skills & training investments.
Are there many cons to Azure? Well, here are the top 3 challenges you can expect to face while dealing with Azure and some tips on how you can overcome them:
- Local bandwidth considerations
While migrating to an IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) platform like Azure, an often overlooked issue is that of how much bandwidth provisioning is required. This becomes imperative when a hybrid cloud solution is in use. In such cases, there may be a high amount of traffic running between locally hosted systems and their remote cloud elements. This brings up an interesting problem, as traffic which previously ran over high-speed, low-latency LAN will now begin to run over the WAN. This can create tremendous pressure on local bandwidth, and bottlenecks may emerge. To overcome this challenge, it’s suggested to consult an experienced Azure architecture specialist, who can effectively calculate the cost-benefit impact these bandwidth changes can create.
- Database migration issues
Enterprise applications, which are in use these days, require external databases in order to complete their functions. There are two options available here, the first being to migrate applications to Azure while hosting the database on-premise, or moving the database itself to Azure, as it has many benefits. The biggest challenge while doing so is to predict compatibility issues between Azure storage and the existing application storage. Incompatibilities emerge if the source database was created with now obsolete versions of database software. To overcome these challenges the services of database specialists is required, to convert the database without loss of fidelity or functions and provide the required changes to applications.
- Application monitoring and management
Irrespective of where your applications are hosted, you need to prepare to have the right processes in place in order to manage them effectively. Clarity regarding service level agreements and capacity planning strategy is also required before deployment to a production environment in the cloud. Key questions to answer are: How will customer billing work? Where will the data for application monitoring go? This particular challenge can be overcome with the help of the Azure SDK, which includes a diagnostic API. This helps to expose issues with event logs, crash dumps, and trace failures. By leveraging this API, it becomes easy to set up monitoring rules that can make monitoring and planning simpler.