Make Microsoft Azure Your New Data Center

Make Microsoft Azure Your New Data Center

How’s this for an IT Manager’s nightmare?  Your company today announced that it had acquired its largest competitor.  Great news!!!  You’ve just been informed that you need to double the capacity of your data center… by tomorrow.

No Problem

Put the defibrillator back in the case on the wall and relax.  This will be no problem for you.  In fact, your biggest challenge will be getting the new company to give you the new workloads that need to be accommodated by your instantly expanded data center.  It’s a snap.  It’s a breeze.

It’s Azure.

Your Data Center Away from Home

No, you won’t have to find a supplier who will ship dozens of new servers to you immediately, nor recruit a team of bug-eyed techies to stand them all up overnight.  In fact, very little coffee will be required to accomplish this feat.

Microsoft Azure lets you accomplish what may be the ideal example of the hybrid cloud in action.  However many or few host servers you may be managing in your own data center you simply provision new enterprise-grade virtual machines on Azure as you need them. You can readily bring over your existing virtual machines or create new ones, each pre-populated with your choice of operating system and the enterprise apps you need.  You run these on the Azure Virtual Network, an isolated environment where you control DNS, subnets, firewall policies, private IP addresses and more.

Workloads are by no means limited to Microsoft platforms.  You can run Windows or Linux, and enterprise apps such as SAP, Oracle, SQL, and Hadoop on Azure VMs.

Make the Connection and Manage It All As One!

Connect your on-premise data center to your Azure data center as easily as connecting a branch office using the Azure Virtual Network and ExpressRoute over either a secure VPN or private connection.  You control all the networking and security parameters on Azure with the same tools as you do your own data center.  It all feels like one thing.  It’s all managed as one.

No need for additional Active Directory structures, either.  With Active Directory for Windows Server 2012 R2 and Active Directory for Azure you bring it all together in one forest.

It’s Not Just IaaS, it’s PaaS too!

Microsoft technology meets the multi-platform world on Azure.  You can develop and deploy modern applications that run on Android, iOS, and Windows which take fullest possible advantage of cloud technology.  You get some spectacular SQL and NoSQL data services, too, which give you deep insights into your data.  This is a cloud-based developers platform with serious horsepower.

And it SCALES!

Back to our original concern, growing your data center rapidly.  Need more VMs?  Just provision them.  Need more storage, processing power, memory or other resources.  Available upon demand.

Of course, you won’t be worried about establishing redundancy to assure business continuity or support disaster recovery.  With hundreds of data centers located in 17 different regions around the world, and with both Locally Redundant and Geo Redundant storage to serve your needs no matter what, Microsoft has that covered!

Time to Talk about Your Data Center in the Cloud Strategy!

Your CloudStrategies Advisor will take you through the process of migrating your workloads and applications to Azure, giving you greater scalability, sustainability, and system certainty than ever before.  Start with our Assessment program to determine just how much IT budget you can save, and just how far you can grow with Azure.

Your Cloud Water Cooler – Preserving Camaraderie in the Virtual Organization

Your Cloud Water Cooler – Preserving Camaraderie in the Virtual Organization

A major bank chain gave the Employee of the Month award to a support person who went above and beyond.  That support person accepted the award gratefully, but sheepishly.  He wasn’t sure how to tell the executive who had presented it to him that he was not their employee.  He was an outsourced subcontractor.

Plays Both Ways

This scenario plays out in two ways, both of which require the attention of any manager who has people working in the field, on a client site, from their home, or elsewhere.

In this case, the employee was mis-identified by the client company as being their employee.

Turn that around, and there’s the employee who forgets, at least functionally, that they are employed by someone other than the company whose premises they report to every day.  Many contractors come to identify with their client as if they were their employee.

The Dark Side of the Cloud

This could be considered the “dark side” of cloud computing.  It has become so easy for anyone to gain access to their resources from anywhere at any time that more and more people are working outside the company’s premises.  While this means, in many cases, that they save amazing amounts of time that would have been spent commuting to and from the office which can now be used for productive work.  Many find they can concentrate far better in the privacy of their own home and get more done.  Companies find their infrastructure costs plummeting.

So why do we say it’s “the dark side?”

People, People Who Need People…

With all these productivity gains and expense reductions, the one thing that can be lost is the interaction between people who work together.  People often do need, or at least prefer, the company of other people during their working day.  Socializing has long been an integral part of the work experience, and the process of living their daily lives can be diminished by not having more opportunity to interact.

From a corporate perspective, the other danger is disenfranchisement.  As with any culture, companies want their people to identify with them, to share their values, to feel themselves a part of the larger company presence.  The sub-contractor who received the Employee of the Month still identified himself as working for the contractor company.  What about all the subcontractors whose identification of themselves shifts to the client company?  How long is it before the client and the contractor find themselves in a disagreement over an employee who wishes to change employers?

The Cloud Water Cooler

While many companies make admirable efforts to mitigate these risks by holding regular social events for employees to attend, these do not address the daily need for face-to-face interaction.  Interpersonal communication requires more than just spoken words to be truly robust.  Paralinguistic cues such as facial expression, posture, animatedness, and more provide a much richer experience, one that most people would suffer the lack of.

See You on the Video

Personal videoconferencing can make a tremendous difference.  Conversations held using point-to-point one-on-one videocalling do add many of the paralinguistics that make such a difference.  One obvious exception that may arguably be preferable is the lack of olfactory paralinguistics.  But facial expression, gestures, posture all come through.  Many users report that the glass of the video screen tends to “vanish” over time as they become accustomed to speaking via video.

Taking this a step further, many companies are creating video chat rooms where remote users can connect to “gather” for casual conversation, much as they would in an employee lounge.

Instant messaging, social networks, photo sharing websites and other digital environments can go a long way toward re-enfranchising the disenfranchised and renewing the sense of esprit-de-corps, the camaraderie that makes a team a team.

Your Social Cloud Strategy

As you work with your CloudStrategies Advisor to develop your cloud strategy, talk about your social networking concerns.  Keep everyone on the same page with cloud technologies that bridge the gap.

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