Azure in SA: SMBs will save and innovate in the cloud

SMBs can save up to 50% of their current technology investment if they consider an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model for their business, making platforms such as Microsoft Azure a viable cloud alternative says Westcon.

Small and Medium sized businesses (SMBs) can save up to 50% of their current technology investment if they consider an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model for their business, making platforms such as Microsoft Azure a viable cloud alternative for businesses needing to innovate while at the same time cutting costs.

The biggest challenge facing local small businesses is the ability to scale their IT infrastructure, either up or down, dependant on their business or customer need at the time.  While the cloud has appeared to be the silver bullet, promising a lower barrier to immediate entry, until recently the costs of putting it “all in the cloud” have been prohibitive as vendors and service providers have capitalised on what they deem a captive and immature market.

“It is only recently, when a vendor like Microsoft opted to shake up the industry by delivering a cost effective cloud platform in the form of its Azure solution, that the cloud has really become a viable option for the SMB,” states Kevin George, Microsoft business lead at Westcon Southern Africa. “Azure is the ideal consumption based platform to enable customers to take advantage of true IaaS solution offerings.”

The Microsoft Azure platform enables a customer to quickly build, deploy and manage their IT solutions, all the while having the system securely hosted in a series of networked Microsoft-managed datacentres. Because of its open nature it is easy to build home-grown applications on the Azure platform using any language, tool or framework.

A benefit of the platform is that it allows you to cobble or link multiple cloud solutions together and then view a single version of the truth or data. Microsoft offers Azure customers a 99.95% monthly SLA, automatic OS and service patching, as well as a wide range of usage-based services, including applications, compute, storage, and network.

“It was revealed in a McKinsey study that SMBs who look at the cloud or IaaS solutions have been able to reduce costs of their IT by a whopping 50%. That in itself makes an excellent use case for the cloud, however it doesn’t end there as according to AMI it has been calculated that roughly one quarter of small businesses and one half of medium businesses are planning to shift their IT spending to the cloud. This is instead of, or replacing, spending on on-premise or physical infrastructure.

“The cloud is not a maybe, a nice-to-have or a potential consideration, it is a must have. The Azure platform provides customers a qualified solution from a vendor they trust and in an environment that is familiar to them. For Westcon partners the facts speak for themselves as according to a Forrester study, annual recurring revenue for Managed Services Providers is currently growing at 28% year-over-year. Highlighting that not only are people working in the cloud but that the growth of the IT industry is hinged in the cloud,” ends George.

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