Microsoft Azure, what is it? Many people don’t know exactly what it is. It’s basically a set of servers hosted by Microsoft in state of the art datacenters around the world, the hardware is what Microsoft have full control over, but it’s everything on top of the hardware which is available to the public. Things on top of the hardware are things like hypervisors and VMs (virtual machines). On top of this there is a multitude of services, most of which – PaaS & SaaS – which is managed by Microsoft. No matter what you use in Azure, there are meters which capture exactly what you use and how much you use it which equates to an invoice.
Ok, I have summed up Azure fairly basically, but there’s far more to this. As much it is complex, Azure can be so easy to get started. There is a web portal, anyone can sign up for a free trial then get started with a VM running in the cloud within minutes. This is so easy to do this and maybe too easy and you can easily setup a second VM, then a third, a forth, a fifth and so on….. Before you know it, there’s no proper planning in place whether it’s done as per Azure best practices or not.
Ok sure enough, anyone can logon to Azure and get started within a few minutes, sure it will work, but there’s other factors at play… Is the VM going to be highly available covered by an SLA? Type of disk the VM has, Standard or Premium, what is Standard or Premium? Size of the VM, how much it will cost? Not only VMs, there’s a massive other list of Azure services which you need to understand. For example, with Web Sites, what is an App Service Plan, how does this work? Sure you can create multiple Web Apps in Azure, but what if you got a massive bill for this? Do you understand the difference between an App Service Plan and a Web App?
There’s many anomalies of using Azure and if you don’t use it properly, you’ll get a massive bill at the end of the month and left wondering why and how to fix it.
Enter Azure Advisor, currently in preview and currently free. Marketed as “Your personalised Azure best practices recommendation engine” Get actionable recommendations based on your configuration and usage patterns, optimise for high availability, performance, security and cost and easily implement recommendations using inline actions.
Microsoft are really looking out for you, with the recent announcement Scott Guthrie made that Microsoft are no longer competing with competitors on price, instead Microsoft are focusing on providing real value to customers. Azure Advisor shows real evidence of this value.