Azure Consulting & Services

Azure is a brilliant platform that’s full of services to enhance business processes. It can build, deploy and manage applications. And in addition to this, it provides world-class infrastructure. With hundreds of different Azure services, it’s not always clear where to begin. The options can be truly bewildering. And pricing, security and integration are just a few things you have to consider. But with our Azure Consulting, we can point you in the right direction.

At Proxar IT, our Azure Consulting team can assist with your Azure journey. This means that you can fully benefit from what the cloud solutions have to offer: This includes:

  • Compute – Including Virtual Machines and App Services. 
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Design
  • Server Migrations
  • Networking and on-premise hybrid integration.
  • High availability and disaster recovery.
  • Backup and Storage
  • Support
  • Security 

Cost is always a factor with Azure. However, we work with our customers to find the best value. For example, Reserved Instances and Azure Hybrid Benefit can offer sizable discounts. And we can also find other ways to make Azure more efficient.

Azure IaaS or PaaS

When we’re working with our customers, we often find that the difference between IaaS or PaaS is a point of confusion. And which one you choose ultimately comes down to how much of the infrastructure you want to manage. Or whether you want to be more focused on the application as opposed to the underlying platform the service is running on.

For the most control, nothing beats a virtual machine. This is an infrastructure as a service that IaaS offers. With this, you get to pick almost every aspect of the environment. Including the processors, the RAM, disks and networking for instance. But you must also install your software and applications. And be responsible for updates and patches. With IaaS you benefit from reliability, performance and flexibility for example. This is because you can change the size of the VM.

Azure App Services provides a Platform as a Service (PaaS) option. This allows you to focus more on the application with rapid deployment and a fully managed platform. Microsoft takes care of the operating system, web server and updates. So this allows you to create applications as quickly as possible.

Azure Consulting Compute Services

Our Azure Consulting team can help you with all aspects of your compute needs. From design and deployment through to on-premise integration, security and support for instance. Below, we’ve listed the essential Azure Compute services that we can provide expertise with:     

Azure VMs

Azure VMs lets you create and use virtual machines in the cloud. And because it’s an IaaS offering, you can use it in various ways. When you need total control over an environment then Azure VMs are a perfect choice. With these, you’ll be able to customise all the software running on the VM. This is ideal when you’re running custom software or have specific configurations in mind.

VM Scale Sets

These are great for big compute, big data and containerised workloads. Virtual machine scale sets let you deploy and manage identical VMs. With all VMs configured the same, the VM scale sets are designed to support true auto-scale. Meaning that as demand goes up more virtual machines instances can be added. And as demand goes down virtual machines instances can be removed for example.

App Services

With App Services you can quickly build, deploy and scale enterprise-grade web and mobile apps running on any platform. This offers excellent performance, with scalability and security and compliance in mind, using a fully managed platform.

There are also functions when you’re only concerned about the code running your service and not the underlying platform or infrastructure. With Azure Container Instances, you have the fastest and simplest way to run containers. Without having to run any virtual machines or requiring any additional services. For large container orchestration, automating and managing many containers there is Azure Kubernetes Service.

Running a Virtual Machine 

Virtual Machines are one of the most popular Azure services. So let’s take a close look at how Proxar IT can help with the different aspects of Azure VMs:

  • Resource Groups and Tags – We can organize resources, so they are logically grouped for management, monitoring and billing purposes.
  • Virtual Machine – Provisioning with a published image, a custom managed image or a virtual hard disk (VHD) file uploaded to Azure Blob storage.
  • Disks – Disk types based on scenarios and performance. Disk layout with OS, temporary and data disks, with managed disks and snapshots. 
  • Network – Our configuration includes virtual network, subnets, public IP address and static IP address. As well as DNS and network security groups to name a few settings.
  • Operations – This includes monitoring, availability, backups, lifecycle and disaster recovery.       
  • Security – This includes patch management, access control, auditing and data encryption. 

Azure Virtual Machine Series  

Taking a step back, before you spin up a virtual machine, you have to choose the specification. And this is far from simple with such a large array to choose from. There are different iterations of VMs and versions that can make this even more difficult. These include:

  • The all-rounder General purpose D-series offers a balanced CPU-to memory ratio. It’s well suited for testing and development, smaller to medium databases and modest web servers with low to medium traffic.
  • With Compute optimised F-series there is a high CPU-to-memory ratio making it a good choice for medium traffic web servers. As well as network appliances, batch processes and application servers.
  • Using the Memory optimised E-series with a high memory-to-CPU ratio is suitable for relational database servers. In addition to large cache servers and in-memory analytics.
  • When storage is all-important, the Storage optimised Ls-series offers high disk throughput and IO. This is ideal for large transactional databases and data warehousing. 
  • A more specialised use for heavy graphic rendering, and video editing is the GPU N-series.   
  • When performance is everything the fastest and most potent virtual machines are the High-performance compute H-series.  

When we’re building a VM we find the optimal specification. And we continue to appraise this on an ongoing basis with possible underutilization.    

Azure Consulting Costs

Customers can be put off with Azure expenses. And it can be true that the default pay-as-you-go pricing, while flexible, is the most expensive way to use Azure. Azure uses a series of usage meters to calculate billing. For a virtual machine, this would include compute hours, data transfer in and out and managed disk operations for example. While this makes billing very precise, it also means costs can snowball if left unmanaged. 

As part of our Azure Consulting service, we offer recommendations towards Azure costs. This helps to give you the best value for money. This can include overall management, not only with the technical aspects including support, but also centralised billing. Proxar IT is a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider. This means we can provide a bespoke Azure solution built around your needs.

Azure Consulting and Security  

There are several aspects of security we consider when we work with customers. These include:

  • Azure Firewall
  • Network Security Groups
  • Azure Security Center
  • Update Management
  • Azure Advanced Threat Protection
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
  • Azure Monitor

As well as this, we offer integration with on-premise systems. Whether that’s extending the internal network into Azure with Azure Virtual Network using a site-to-site VPN. Or something more elaborate. We are well versed in implementing these types of requirements.

Azure Consulting Summary

If you’re starting with Azure or you’re already moving some services to Azure and require Azure Consulting support then we can assist you. We’ll help you to build, implement and manage your Azure services, in addition to offering billing and technical support.

So for more information about Azure Consulting please contact us