Bottom-Line Assessment August 2014
Microsoft Azure meets 75% of Gartner’s required criteria for cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS). As a result, Gartner advises enterprises to consider Azure for specific projects, deployments and applications, but not for widespread enterprise production workloads. Azure has emerged as the clear No. 2 market share leader in public cloud IaaS — a very distant second behind Amazon Web Services (AWS). AlthoughAzure trails AWS in total score and in some technical offerings and configurations, some enterprise customers are choosing Azure for the integration with the overall Microsoft ecosystem.
Furthermore, some customers are choosing Azure as a secondary provider for noncritical, Microsoft-¬‐centric workloads as an alternative to AWS or other providers. The most notable areas where Microsoft needs to improve are in compute and management and DevOps. Strengths Microsoft Azure has a number of key strengths:
Integration with Microsoft technologies: Azure offers a platform as a service (PaaS) offering for items like Microsoft .NET, SQL Server and BizTalk. Customers often cite combining infrastructure offerings with Microsoft PaaS offerings as a key differentiator. Azure is also well integrated into Systems Center for management. In addition, because Azure runs on top of Hyper-¬‐V using standard virtual hard disk (VHD) format, existing Hyper-¬‐V customers can expect easier processes for importing and exporting Hyper-¬‐V virtual machines (VMs).
Identity and access management: Many organizations are deeply invested in Active Directory (AD) for user and account management as well as governance and policy definition. Microsoft Azure has several industry-¬‐leading advantages for integration, synchronization and conveyance of Active Directory domains or forests into Azure for more seamless deployments.
Price and billing options: Azure meets 75% of Gartner’s required price and billing criteria. Existing enterprise agreement customers of Microsoft will find some benefit by including Azure in broader Microsoft enterprise agreements, thus benefiting from Azure promotional credits and enterprise discounts.
Global geographic footprint: Azure provides cloud services in the U.S. (Illinois, Texas, Virginia and California), Europe (Amsterdam and Dublin), Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan Saitama Prefecture and Japan Osaka Prefecture) and Brazil (Sao Paulo). Premier Support: Many organizations are Microsoft Premier Support customers. Microsoft extends Premier Support into Azure services. For customers needing assistance with cloud services all the way down into Microsoft software and Windows operating systems, Premier Support can offer comprehensive assistance.
Hybrid cloud network offerings: Azure offers comprehensive hybrid cloud networking options through the ExpressRoute service. Furthermore, Azure includes cross‐regional virtual network (vNet) configurations and private network connections through a VPN.