Microsoft Azure is helping organisations to build greater agility into their IT infrastructure with unlimited capacity and scalability, the ability to consume infrastructure as a cost-effective operating expense, and access to ready-made environments and services that can be spun-up at lightening-speed.
Microsoft Azure provides you with one of the most comprehensive ranges of public cloud services, however, with such breadth of services also comes complexity. How do you ensure you are utilising the service plans that are best aligned to your needs? Are you leveraging all of the capabilities that would deliver value to you? Is your environment configured in a way to deliver the best possible performance?
Continually Optimising MS Azure is Essential
With any IT environment it is essential that you continually review the services that it provides and align these to changing business needs. With a platform like MS Azure that itself is continually evolving and offering new capabilities and services, keeping abreast of what options are available and optimising your subscribed services is key to driving the best possible value for money.
In our experience of utilising, managing and optimising Microsoft Azure, there are five key areas that organisations should be reviewing on a periodic basis to ensure they are maximising their investment in this public cloud.
With Microsoft constantly introducing new servers at better price points, you need to be making the best use of these. When was the last time you reviewed your use of servers to ensure you are gaining the best possible performance from virtual machines?
You need to be looking at your usage of Availability Sets and Availability Zones to ensure that critical services are replicated over multiple servers and if required, multiple sites to ensure maximum availability and continuity. You should also be reviewing your usage of managed and unmanaged disks, aligning your needs to the best possible cost options, as well as ensuring you are taking full advantage of encryption at rest.
If you are using platform services such as App Services, SQL Services or Data Services, you need to be reviewing these in order to get the best possible performance and have these configured in the right way to provide the continuity and availability that you require.
The networking aspects of your MS Azure environment including virtual networks, subnets, VNet peering, user defined routes and virtual network gateways all contribute significantly to performance. Ensuring these are configured correctly and continually optimised is essential. In a similar manner, you should be reviewing the sizing of ExpressRoute circuits and Metered Bandwidth to ensure that this is optimised against your requirements and usage.
As part of your mitigation of risk within your public cloud environment, you need to continually review your Network Security. You should review Network Security Groups in MS Azure to ensure that these are being assigned at the right level. If you are using a Firewall in Azure any security rules should be reviewed and if you are not using a Firewall you may want to consider this as a central way to manage Azure Network Security. You should be following best practices in terms of public IP addresses, Azure AD Connect, Subscription Permissions and diligently remove users who have left the business.
Microsoft is continually introducing additional security services to help protect your environment such as Azure Threat Protection and there are significant benefits of utilising these services.
Monitoring & Management
The way you monitor and manage your MS Azure environment is also something you should be reviewing at regular intervals to ensure you are doing this in the best way possible. What alerts do you have in place and how are you utilising Log Analytics to support operational management?
It is key that you not only have the required housekeeping in order, including patch and software update management, but have tight controls over the costs and services that you are consuming.
We’re Here If You Need Us
With extensive expertise and experience across Microsoft Azure services, the team at ONI are helping many of our customers to continually review and optimise their MS Azure environment delivering the best of both worlds: improved performance and reduced cost.
We offer a Microsoft Azure Optimisation Service where we review all of the areas outlined above as well as many more to ensure that you are maximising your investment and delivering the performance and services required by your business. We also offer a range of Lifecyle Service for MS Azure to ensure best practice management of your platform and continual optimisation and alignment of your subscribed services.
You can find out more about our Public Cloud Services on our webpage.
If you are currently using Microsoft Azure and would like to discuss how we can help optimise your services or are embarking on a migration to MS Azure and looking for help in planning and managing this, we would be more than happy to discuss your requirements and share our experiences. Please do not hesitate to us on 01582 211530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.