Home » Azure helps drive agility and optimisation

Azure helps drive agility and optimisation

by Media Xpose

by Argantic CEO Garry Ackerman

Businesses of all sizes and industries are increasingly embracing cloud technologies as the path toward digital and business resilience, especially now that business leaders are feeling the pressure to do more with less. Cloud technologies can empower them so that they can focus on what they do best – create, innovate, and differentiate.

No matter where they are on their cloud journey, it is important to employ a partner that has the expertise, capabilities, and platform to help increase agility, optimise technology investments, and create data-driven experiences. To that end, Microsoft recently announced several new developments to help customers optimise their resources and get the most out of their existing investments.

Azure keeps business efficient and resilient

As customers continue to embrace digital capabilities with strong cloud fundamentals, the ‘how’ of cloud migration is top of mind, especially for mission-critical workloads. Microsoft works closely with the technology vendors that customers have traditionally relied upon to run all their workloads and ensure Azure is ready for them to modernise their on-premises applications.

There are several new capabilities to support this:

  • Nutanix Cloud Clusters on Microsoft Azure is now available for easy extension or migration of your existing on-premises Nutanix workloads and a consistent environment with no need to modify or retool.
  • Updates to Azure VMware Solution (AVS): Beginning today, this native VMware environment previews stretched clusters, providing 99.99 percent uptime for mission-critical applications requiring the highest availability, and Customer Managed Keys for maximum control over access to encrypted data.
  • The collaborative SAP ERP is now in preview and increases user productivity and focus by integrating workflows across SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office for close collaboration without application or context switching.
  • Updates to Azure Centre for SAP solutions, an end-to-end deployment and management experience running SAP on Azure, now previews support for registering Windows-based systems and installing SAP S/4HANA 2020/2021, while providing cost transparency through integration with the cost analysis feature and even more quality checks.

There are many companies that have decided to migrate their SAP solutions and other resources to Microsoft Azure to improve operations and boost customer engagement. Azure enabled them to spend less time managing technology and focus more on generating customer-centric experiences.

Optimising investments frees up the resources one needs to build the experiences that are most meaningful for customers. Microsoft has announced several advancements to deliver new levels of price performance, mission-critical capabilities, and security – while increasing efficiency and ensuring your business stays resilient, including:

  • The expansion of the Azure Disk Storage portfolio with the general availability of Premium SSD v2 for greater flexibility when managing performance and costs.
  • Microsoft is investing to help customers modernise their infrastructure, from the ground up by taking a system-level approach. It recently introduced new Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Kubernetes Service that feature Ampere Altra Arm–based processors and deliver excellent price performance when running scale-out Linux workloads.
  • Azure Elastic SAN, a new cloud-native, fully managed, and massively scalable storage area network service – only available through Azure.
  • New foundational Azure confidential computing service to help protect data in use, and the addition of confidential computing capabilities to services like Azure Virtual Desktop and SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines.

Delivering data-driven experiences provide more time and value

Microsoft continues to enhance the way Microsoft Azure integrates across infrastructure and data services so that customers can keep their business efficient and resilient. In May, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Intelligent Data platform, integrating its best-in-class database, analytics, and data governance products for a seamless experience.

More recent announcements empower customers to do more with less, add layers of intelligence to applications, unlock predictive insights, and govern data anywhere.

  • Developers can build on their terms with the new innovation in cloud-native distributed data and open-source. Azure Cosmos DB is expanding beyond NoSQL to support distributed PostgreSQL, bringing everything developers love about PostgreSQL to Azure Cosmos DB.
  • General availability of the SAP Change Capture Data Connector in Azure Data Factory enables customers to bring in SAP data for advanced analytics. Azure Data Factory’s new Microsoft Graph Data Connector for Microsoft 365 datasets transports office data into Azure, so customers can unlock collaboration and productivity insights. Microsoft is also continuing to remove friction from end-user experiences, allowing customers to share their Power BI datasets across tenants through Power BI B2B data sharing.
  • Microsoft Purview combines unified data governance with risk and compliance solutions. Business Workflows, now generally available, and Business Metamodel, now in preview, make it easier to maximise the business value of data and drive cross-functional data governance.
  • Its new Partner Ecosystem enables ISVs to build on top of the open and governed Microsoft Intelligent Data platform, delivering an enriched, cost-optimised experiences for customers across all industries.

Transform your business with Azure, anywhere

Businesses need to be able to stay agile and flexible when extending Azure to on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge environments. Microsoft meets you where you are, so you can blend your own enterprise and operational edge investments with Azure’s global infrastructure to leverage the best Azure has to offer – on your own terms.

With Azure Arc, Microsoft built a bridge that extends the Azure platform so that customers can build cloud-native applications and services with the flexibility to run them across their existing data centres, edge, and multi-cloud environments.

For example, businesses have turned to Azure Arc to streamline a scalable compute platform across on-premises and cloud environments. And to get that same fully managed, cloud-native experience, they have extended Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to their own data centres.

This offers the flexibility to adapt to ever-changing regulations and compliance requirements by running AKS wherever it’s needed. In turn, they’re able to bring new products and services to market faster and delight their customers.

Here is a list of new Azure Arc capabilities to save money and enable further innovation:

  • Expansion of the Azure Hybrid Benefit to include AKS so customers can deploy the Azure Kubernetes Service on Azure Stack HCI or Windows Server in their own data centres or edge environments at no additional cost. This ensures a consistent, managed Kubernetes experience from cloud to edge for both Windows and Linux containers.
  • Azure Automanage is now generally available for Azure Virtual Machines and Arc-enabled servers. Within minutes, customers can automatically configure servers to best-practice Azure services with a simple “point, click, set, forget” experience – whether they run Windows, Linux, or are already located in Azure, on-premises, or even in other clouds.

Do more with less: migrate, optimise, reinvest

Microsoft is focused on finding ways to help customers save and get maximum value out of their cloud investments, wherever their business might be in their journey. It already has pricing benefits and offers, like Azure Hybrid Benefit, to help customers achieve savings while adopting and operating in Azure. They also understand customers may need additional help to ensure workloads remain secure and protected with hybrid flexibility as they move.

Microsoft recently announced enhancements and benefits to make this even easier:

  • Its flagship Azure Migration and Modernisation program (AMMP) now helps customers plan and deploy cloud security services as they migrate, including support for Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft Sentinel. They can also take advantage of Azure innovation across hybrid environments with Azure Arc deployment support for workloads that need to remain on-premises.
  • A new Azure savings plan for compute allows customers to save up to 65 percent on select compute services compared to pay-as-you-go prices.

Customers that are further along in the journey to cloud need to optimise what they have already invested. Tools like Microsoft Cost Management and Azure Advisor help them better manage and understand their cloud spend with best practice guidance and personalised insights. Microsoft wants customers to be able to take these cloud savings and reinvest them into critical areas like crisis management, security, and intelligent cloud-native solutions that help their business stay resilient, grow, and create new value.

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