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Have Azure in your EA and not using it? Here’s where to start

Posted on January 17, 2015 by Tim Mckellips

Have Azure in your EA and not using it? Here's where to start

Sorry – no carry over. No roll over. No credits applied next time. I’m not talking about your cellphone plan. I’m referring to an unnerving practice of organizations buying Microsoft Azure via their Enterprise Agreement (EA) — but never using it.

For many organizations, the EA is the easiest way to purchase Azure, preferring the upfront commitments and fixed discount rate over the uncertainty of Pay as You Go. And Microsoft recently improved previous incentives, making it even easier to adopt Microsoft Azure though an EA.

All too often those upfront commitments never come to fruition. Call it overly ambitious, poor planning, or perhaps just getting blindsighted by other priorities, but for whatever reason many organizations have Azure consumption credits just sitting in their EA, never being employed.

This is not a small thing either. We’ve seen upwards of $50,000 worth of Azure sitting on the table. All of which is credit you don’t get back when the agreement expires or the contract year ends.

Any move to the cloud is fraught with uncertainty – so it’s never wise to rush into it. That said, there are a number of easy wins – low impact undertakings – that show business value and improve efficiency by leveraging the public cloud.

If you have Azure in your EA and aren’t using it, here are a few ways we’re seeing clients adopt it for the first time.

Azure for Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)

Any true technologist loves to play around with a new technology before releasing it to the wild. Which is why using Azure VMs for Dev & Test is a perfect candidate to explore the product, before moving on to more crucial business operations like Production and Staging . Dev & Test is a low risk undertaking that will prove how smoothly it all works, without rocking the boat if things go wrong.

Sending workloads like SharePoint and ERP to the public cloud are other IaaS-ready processes that ease your foray into Microsoft Azure. For SharePoint, Azure enables an easy migration of on-prem sites to the cloud, and the building of large and scalable extranets outside your private network. Clients may also dodge long ERP set up times and unwieldy infrastructure costs with Azure’s highly-certified cloud architecture used to run ERP in full or hybrid clouds.

Finally, next summer Windows Server 2003 will go end of support. Moving to Microsoft Azure today is a simple way to assure compliancy, letting you “lift and shift” your WS2003 apps to run in the cloud.

Azure as a Platform as a Service (PAAS)

You may quickly find Azure moving past its role as IaaS, and being used for things like bringing Mobility to Legacy Apps, or delivering new Mobile apps to suit client demand. Azure’s Mobile Services provides a scalable backend that will power apps on any platform — iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. It also makes it simple to securely upload, store and deliver rich media to customers or peers on any endpoint device.

And more: Azure for storage, backup, DR and identity

At first glance, it may seem scary to make your advance toward Azure with something as mission critical as the triple threat of storage, disaster recovery and backup. Especially given the concerns and considerations needed before adopting Azure. But the reality is these three mission-critical workloads are actually a frequent candidate for the first time moves into the public cloud.

The reason is simple.

The cloud’s core value is in unleashing a new breed of speed and productivity in an increasingly competitive era. So taking away the most expensive, arduous and resource consuming aspects of the data center, with a solution such as Azure, unlocks a huge competitive edge. It is not at all rare to see companies stack their chips on a big move supported by a hybrid or full cloud solution. All in order to get to market faster and more efficiently than ever possible.

Similarly, Hybrid Identity Management is another highly important and increasingly complex task as workforces go mobile. Azure lets you offer single sign on (SSO) across multiple cloud-based apps, and makes integration with your on-prem Active Directory dead-simple.

“Use it or lose it”

While it’s not prudent to immediately move your whole data center to the Cloud, Azure should be employed for a variety of low hanging, easy wins to get started. As an EA customer, it’s these starting points where your Azure credits (included in your EA) come in handy.

Obviously, your needs, your roadmap and your priorities are unique. Softchoice offers in depth consulting, data driven assessments and award-winning licensing expertise to help you chart your path to Azure.

Get in touch with your Account Manager today and map out your strategy. Because if you don’t put these Azure credits to use, you don’t get to try again next year.

 Visit the Softchoice | Microsoft Azure Hub