Microsoft Azure is a flexible cloud platform that gives businesses access to an incredible array of infrastructure and services. They can deploy any amount of infrastructure in any combination at any time.
If a business has an infrastructure challenge, Azure has a solution, whether as a general infrastructure service like Azure Virtual Machines or a more specialized service like Azure’s machine learning and AI tools.
That flexibility is an undeniable positive, but it is not without challenges of its own. Deploying infrastructure is easy, but it is not so straightforward to ensure that it is the right infrastructure at the right size and that a business’s infrastructure budget is spent productively.
Once a business decides to use Azure and has servers and data hosted on the platform, it should embark on a process of cloud optimization.
What Is Cloud Optimization?
Cloud optimization is the process of managing cloud infrastructure to reduce costs, increase transparency, and enhance security. It is a three-part process that involves:
- Assessing the business’s present and future cloud infrastructure requirements.
- Assessing and monitoring cloud deployments to develop an understanding of how the business uses the cloud.
- Bringing cloud deployments in line with requirements to ensure that resources are not underutilized and that the business gets the best possible return on its investment.
Cloud optimization is difficult for businesses that don’t fully understand the range of Azure services available to them and the associated pricing models.
The Hidden Costs Of Unoptimized Azure Infrastructure
Ad-hoc cloud deployments that lack oversight, transparency, and enforced policies incur multiple costs.
The most obvious cost is financial: the business pays more for infrastructure than it needs to. A significant cause of overspending is the failure to rightsize infrastructure. Many companies pay for resources they aren’t using because they are unaware of which infrastructure they have deployed. One of the first goals of a cloud optimization audit is to discover and fix underutilization.
Another common cause of overspending is a failure to understand the potential cost savings that are available on Azure. For example, Azure Reserved Instances are substantially less expensive than on-demand instances. Additionally, Microsoft schemes like Azure Hybrid Benefit can reduce cloud services costs by over 40 percent for eligible users.
Rightsizing works in both directions: over-utilized infrastructure is a factor in poor performance. Performance issues can be among the most challenging to diagnose because the problem may be transient or caused by configuration and deployment errors that are difficult to pin down. The implementation of a robust monitoring system using Azure’s built-in monitoring and analytics tools is an essential step in the cloud optimization processes; without insight into your infrastructure, optimization is practically impossible.
Are you using Azure’s security tools to their best effect? Azure brings a range of security services to the table, including Security Center, Key Vault, Information Protection, Active Directory, and more. A thorough cloud-optimization audit can reveal opportunities to take advantage of these services and protect your business’s data and virtual machines.
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