How Azure is working out for us

July 20, 2017,
azure

How is Azure working for us?

60 days in with Azure and we can say we are happy with it. We have clusters running in the UK, Ireland, Canada and USA. We plan to add more as and when requested to do so. Microsoft have 34 public regions at this time (July 2017) with another 6 coming soon.

We can now help Resellers who previous couldn’t support companies with offices around the world. They can also satisfy their compliance concerns by backing up data to their local region. This also means we are seeing quicker backup times because customer devices are a lot close to their respective Microsoft region. We are seeing backup jobs uploading data at 250Mps plus.

Our newest clusters from B21 onwards are running exclusively on Azure (server and blob storage). Tests show these operate just as fast as our existing HP servers with SSD.

Pricing
Pricing is a little more than we currently pay, with 1GB costing just under £0.01. This is at rest and the price goes up to £0.03 per GB during the initial backup where we see a lot of IO transactions getting the data written and verified on Azure. Allowing for trials which never get converted and the cost price is around £0.025 per GB.

Data Security
The latest version of Ahsay 7 which we have been using for over a year forces customer devices to back up directly from their premises to Azure. Excellent news for us because we no longer need to manage secure data channels and more importantly it is the perception of how data is handled. Because all data is encrypted at source and sent direct from a customer’s device to Microsoft’s cloud, there is no risk of middle-man interception at the data centre. Big business and banks have battled for years to stop employees browsing customer data when they are bored at 2am or those who have have ulterior motives.
Data remains encrypted at rest and during restore. Now Resellers can confidentially offer a more competitively priced service to their customers who demand more security such as schools and local government. Adopting Azure has allowed us to leapfrog all other 3rd party owned data centres when it comes to security discussions.

Verdict?
It is still early days with Azure, and comparing costs Vs our traditional hardware server model is a little like comparing apples to pears! We expect Azure pricing to go down and our traditional hardware and data centre charges to increase. End result is better pricing for our Resellers.

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