The Hidden Costs Of Ignoring Cloud Optimization

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Microsoft Azure is a flexible cloud platform that gives businesses access to an incredible array of infrastructure and services. They can deploy any amount of infrastructure in any combination at any time. If a business has an infrastructure challenge, Azure has a solution, whether as a general infrastructure service like Azure Virtual Machines or a more specialized service like Azure’s machine learning and AI tools.

That flexibility is an undeniable positive, but it is not without challenges of its own. Deploying infrastructure is easy, but it is not so straightforward to ensure that it is the right infrastructure at the right size and that a business’s infrastructure budget is spent productively.

Once a business decides to use Azure and has servers and data hosted on the platform, it should embark on a process of cloud optimization.

What Is Cloud Optimization?

Cloud optimization is the process of managing cloud infrastructure to reduce costs, increase transparency, and enhance security. It is a three-part process that involves:

  • Assessing the business’s present and future cloud infrastructure requirements.
  • Assessing and monitoring cloud deployments to develop an understanding of how the business uses the cloud.
  • Bringing cloud deployments in line with requirements to ensure that resources are not underutilized and that the business gets the best possible return on its investment.

Cloud optimization is difficult for businesses that don’t fully understand the range of Azure services available to them and the associated pricing models.

The Hidden Costs Of Unoptimized Azure Infrastructure

Ad-hoc cloud deployments that lack oversight, transparency, and enforced policies incur multiple costs.

Financial Costs

The most obvious cost is financial: the business pays more for infrastructure than it needs to. A significant cause of overspending is the failure to rightsize infrastructure. Many companies pay for resources they aren’t using because they are unaware of which infrastructure they have deployed. One of the first goals of a cloud optimization audit is to discover and fix underutilization.

Another common cause of overspending is a failure to understand the potential cost savings that are available on Azure. For example, Azure Reserved Instances are substantially less expensive than on-demand instances. Additionally, Microsoft schemes like Azure Hybrid Benefit can reduce cloud services costs by over 40 percent for eligible users.

Performance Costs

Rightsizing works in both directions: over-utilized infrastructure is a factor in poor performance. Performance issues can be among the most challenging to diagnose because the problem may be transient or caused by configuration and deployment errors that are difficult to pin down. The implementation of a robust monitoring system using Azure’s built-in monitoring and analytics tools is an essential step in the cloud optimization processes; without insight into your infrastructure, optimization is practically impossible.

Security Costs

Are you using Azure’s security tools to their best effect? Azure brings a range of security services to the table, including Security Center, Key Vault, Information Protection, Active Directory, and more. A thorough cloud-optimization audit can reveal opportunities to take advantage of these services and protect your business’s data and virtual machines.

Contact us today to request a free Azure Optimization Assessment that will provide the information you need to optimize cloud spending, identify performance issues, and enhance security.

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What Is Azure Cost Optimization?

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Azure cost optimization is the process of assessing an organization’s infrastructure needs, the infrastructure it has deployed, and its current cloud costs. The goal is to ensure that the organization isn’t spending more on its infrastructure than necessary by aligning cloud resource use with its business needs. Well-optimized Azure cloud infrastructure deployments minimize waste, maximize utilization, and take advantage of platform features that help eliminate needless spending.

When businesses first adopt Azure, they are typically more concerned with achieving a seamless migration and avoiding service disruptions. As they become more familiar with what Azure can do for them, their reliance on Azure infrastructure and services increases. Eventually, they may find that their Azure infrastructure bills are bigger than they expected.

A cost-optimized infrastructure deployment on Azure is almost always less expensive than equivalent colocated or leased servers. However, the ease with which cloud infrastructure can be deployed and a lack of platform familiarity can lead to spiraling costs as the business uses more infrastructure, particularly when there are no processes in place to govern spending.

Azure-cost optimization involves an in-depth assessment of the infrastructure used to determine how much an organization should be spending. The assessment phase is followed by planning and the implementation of spending controls using Azure-native and third-party tools. Finally, effective infrastructure monitoring systems are deployed, providing the information an organization needs to monitor its cloud utilization and spending.

Optimizing Costs On Microsoft Azure

Azure includes several tools and plans that help businesses to understand and manage cloud infrastructure spending. They include:

  • Azure Cost Management, which is based on the Cloudyn service that was acquired by Microsoft. Azure Cost Management helps businesses to analyze and manage cloud usage and costs. It can also make compute and reserved infrastructure suggestions to reduce costs.
  • Right-sizing VMs. One of the key benefits of cloud infrastructure is elasticity. It can be scaled up and down to meet the needs of the user. However, many businesses face challenges with underutilization because they fail to monitor which virtual servers they have deployed and the resources that are dedicated to them.
  • Reserved instances. Leveraging reserved compute resources can save businesses up to 72 percent on on-demand infrastructure prices. One of the biggest causes of cloud overspending is the failure to use reserved instances.
  • Azure Hybrid Benefit. Microsoft offers several potential cost savings for Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server license holders when they migrate to Azure through the Azure Hybrid Benefit scheme. They include reduced compute costs, the ability to use existing licenses on Azure, and extended free security updates.

The Challenges Of Azure Cost Optimization

Azure is a complex platform, and to optimize spending, it is essential to have a good understanding of the available options, how they interact, and how they can be used to reduce costs while meeting the infrastructure requirements of the business. It can be challenging for businesses without deep Azure expertise to achieve optimal cost efficiency.

VIAcode’s team of Azure infrastructure experts and developers know the platform inside and out. We can assess your infrastructure needs, create a comprehensive optimization plan, and help you save money on Azure.To get started with a free Azure Optimization Assessment, contact us today.

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7 Quick Microsoft Azure Security Best Practices for 2020

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Microsoft Azure operates a shared responsibility security model. Microsoft provides a secure infrastructure. It makes available tools and services to help users to build and manage secure cloud infrastructure deployments. But it is the responsibility of Azure users to manage their cloud infrastructure in line with security best practices.

It is possible to deploy secure infrastructure with Azure: national and local government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, do just that. But it is also possible to deploy insecure cloud servers that lead to security breaches and data leaks. Configuration mistakes create vulnerabilities, and weak authentication and identity management can leave an organization open to attack.

In this article, we’ll look at 7 Microsoft Azure security best practices, including some of the Azure tools that can help your organization stay safe on Azure.

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Does Your Business Suffer From Technical Debt?

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What is Technical Debt?

Technical debt is a cost imposed on a business because of the technical decisions it made in the past. IT leaders and developers use the metaphor of technical debt to describe the present-day consequences of past infrastructure and software decisions. There are many costs to being stuck with old and inadequate software and hardware, including:

  • Being unable to implement new features because of the limitations of critical legacy systems.
  • The inability for IT departments and developers to meet the strategic requirements of the business.
  • Maintenance costs.
  • The cost of replacing legacy infrastructure and software with alternatives that meet the business’s needs.
  • Increased security risks.
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Azure vs. Google Cloud: Which Is Right for Your Business?

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Amazon kicked off the cloud revolution with the introduction of the first AWS service in 2006. Windows Azure, later renamed Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform soon followed. 

Azure was announced in 2008, the same year Google introduced App Engine, a collection of cloud tools for developing and hosting web applications on Google’s infrastructure. Both platforms added a multitude of additional services in the following years and continue to do so.

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Optimize Infrastructure Management with Microsoft Operations Management Suite

Microsoft’s Operations Management Suite brings together a collection of cloud-based services that help businesses to monitor and manage their on-premise and cloud infrastructure in one place.

Monitoring solutions such as System Center Operations Management (SCOM) and Azure Monitor offer complex and powerful functionality, and Azure provides numerous intuitive management interfaces. However, it can be challenging to keep track of the tools and platforms that administrators and DevOps teams need to monitor and manage the health of servers and applications in multiple locations.

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AWS vs. Azure: Why Migrate Your Applications To Microsoft Azure

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Amazon Web Services was first introduced to the world with the release of Simple Queue Service in 2004. Relaunched in 2006 with the addition of S3 and EC2, AWS quickly grew into the dominant cloud platform. Microsoft was slower off the blocks than Amazon. Azure was announced in 2008, released in 2010 as Windows Azure, and was renamed Microsoft Azure in 2014.

But, in spite of starting later, Azure has grown into a robust platform that is as capable as AWS. Because of Microsoft’s expertise with enterprise software and services, it is superior as a business cloud platform for many use cases.

In this article, we’ll look at just some of the reasons that Microsoft Azure is an excellent choice for the future of your business’s cloud migration and infrastructure hosting strategy.

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