A new way to get the most out of Microsoft Azure

cloud dataMicrosoft Azure is one of the fastest growing cloud services providers for enterprise businesses. A recent survey showed that about one fifth (19 percent) of enterprise businesses with more than 1,000 employees reported using Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and 15 percent used Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS). That’s an increase from a year ago of 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively, outpacing the growth of cloud competitors.

But many organizations that have purchased Azure through their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) still haven’t capitalized on its full capabilities. In many instances, organizations commit a set dollar figure to Azure, but fail to fully utilize it. It’s why Microsoft, SHI, and CommVault have partnered to help organizations migrate a range of services and applications into Azure, and utilize long-term data backup and storage.

Through this partnership, organizations with Azure agreements can easily move data or migrate fully into Azure.

Taking a hard look at migration needs

Azure’s wide range of capabilities allows users to build web apps, store data, and create virtual machines that run specific applications, and then scale those capabilities up or down depending on need. CommVault’s Simpana platform, a Microsoft-approved solution with direct connections into Azure, allows users to more easily migrate their data from on-premises to the cloud, as well as from one datacenter to another.

An organization’s Azure usage can be divvied up for different uses – part cold storage, part virtual machines, and part network transmission – through its licensing agreement with Microsoft. As a result, an Azure migration can be configured to best serve a company’s exact needs.

One need that Azure is fulfilling for some organizations is their Windows Server 2003 migration plan. Organizations can deploy Azure as either an alternative to or in conjunction with an on-premises solution. Simpana is version independent, meaning users can migrate to the new version of an application (Exchange, SharePoint, or SQL) and keep their content. With the end-date for Windows Server 2003 support approaching quickly, migrating to Azure could be the right option for organizations with Azure commitments and no plan in place.

How to tap Azure’s data storage

The most widespread use of the cloud is data storage. By placing content and data backups in the cloud, organizations can free up space in their on-premises data centers and gain more elastic storage.

And while web access is the most common method of entry into Azure, some organizations may be required to upgrade existing hardware just to move content from data centers or servers into Azure’s cloud storage. The problem some organizations face is lack of power, and the software they’re using needs assistance to transfer data into cloud cold storage. In these cases, ramped up data-moving software provides the necessary power. Because of the partnership between Microsoft and CommVault, Simpana has direct access to Azure, and organizations using this solution do not have to upgrade their hardware to move data.

Microsoft’s exclusive partnership with CommVault and SHI gives organizations the tools they need to get up and running with Azure. By pairing term licensing of Simpana through SHI with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) that includes Azure, organizations can eliminate excess costs and the red tape of multiple agreements while taking full advantage of their Azure agreements.

The numbers show that more companies are signing Azure commitments in their EA. But the “what now” question arises not long after the agreement is signed, and organizations must decide how to fulfill that requirement. Because of the tools and partnerships developed by Microsoft, organizations are capable of migrating fully to Azure, and using it for their data storage needs.

Contact your SHI account executive to learn more about Azure, and SHI’s partnership with CommVault and Microsoft.

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