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Azure is a brilliant platform full of services to enhance business processes to build, deploy and manage applications and provide world-class infrastructure. With hundreds of different Azure services, it’s not always clear where to begin, the options can be bewildering not to mention pricing, security and integration to name a few considerations. 

Proxar IT can assist with your Azure journey, so you fully benefit from what the cloud solutions have to offer: 

  • 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, we work with customers to find the best value, for example with Reserved Instances and Azure Hybrid Benefit, that can offer sizeable discounts, as well as other ways to make Azure more efficient. 

Azure IaaS or PaaS 

When working with customers, we often find a point of confusion can be between IaaS or PaaS. This comes down to how much of the infrastructure do you want to manage, or do you want to be more focused on the application rather than the underlying platform the service is running on. 

For the most control, nothing beats a virtual machine, this is an Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) offering, you get to pick almost every aspect of the environment, the processors, the RAM, disks, networking but you also must install your software and applications, be responsible for updates and patches.  With IaaS you benefit from reliability, performance and flexibility for example with being able change the size of the VM. 

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

Azure Compute Services 

Proxar IT can help you with all aspects of your compute needs, from design, deployment, on-premise integration, security and support.  Here are the essential Azure Compute services Proxar IT can provide expertise with:      

Azure VMs 

Azure VMs lets you create and use virtual machines in the cloud, this being an IaaS offering which can be used in various ways.  When you need total control over an environment, Azure VMs are a perfect choice.  You’ll be able to customize all the software running on the VM, which is ideal when you are running custom software or have specific configurations in mind. 

VM scale sets 

Great for big compute, big data and containerized workloads, virtual machine scale sets let you deploy and manage identical VMs.  With all VMs configured the same, VM scale sets are designed to support true auto-scale.  As demand goes up more virtual machines instances can be added and as demand goes down virtual machines instances can be removed. 

App services 

Quickly build, deploy and scale enterprise-grade web and mobile apps running on any platform. This offers excellent performance, with scalability and security as well as compliance in mind, using a fully managed platform. 

There are also Functions, when you are 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 require 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, let’s take a close look at how Proxar IT can help with the different aspects of Azure VMs: 

  • Resource groups and tags – 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 – configuration includes virtual network, subnets, public IP address, static IP address, DNS, network security groups to name a few settings. 
  • Operations – monitoring, availability, backups, lifecycle, disaster recovery        
  • Security – 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, even this is far from simple with a large array to choose from.  There are different iterations of VMs and versions that can make this even more difficult.  

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

When building a VM we find the right specification that’s optimal, and we continue to appraise this on an ongoing basis subsequently, for example with possible underutilization.     

Azure 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, managed disk operations and so forth.  While this makes billing very precise, it also means costs can snowball if left unmanaged.  

When working with customers, we manage Azure costs, to offer 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 which means we can provide a bespoke Azure solution built around your needs. 

Security   

There are several aspects to security we consider when we work with customers, that 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 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 with implementing these types of requirements. 

Azure 

If you are starting with Azure or your already underway with moving some services to Azure and would like more support, Proxar IT can help. We can build, implement and manage Azure services as well as offer billing and technical support.