The 5 Key Considerations Before Adopting Microsoft Azure

The 5 Key Considerations Before Adopting Microsoft Azure

The news comes as no surprise to anyone in IT: Microsoft Azure is poised to take the lead in the enterprise public cloud battle.

This comes just as Microsoft beefed up online services, with new Hybrid capabilities, better Big Data tools and enhanced security and compliance standards. If Azure doesn’t make 2015 it’s year to take over the enterprise cloud, I don’t know who will.

Just because something has momentum, doesn’t necessarily mean its time to jump on the bandwagon. The cloud is a major undertaking. Perhaps one top of your list for the year – but not something you should rush into. Don’t consider adopting Microsoft Azure without taking these five key considerations into mind.

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

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.

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Windows Server 2003 End of Support Is Coming – Are you Ready?

Windows Server 2003 End of Support Is Coming - Are you Ready?

On July 14th 2015, a full twelve plus years after it’s initial release, Microsoft will sunset their support for Windows Server 2003 and all of its offspring like R2, Small Business Server, etc. So, what does the Windows Server 2003 End of Support marker represent? And why does it matter?

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4 Things to Do Once You’ve Migrated Away from Windows XP

4 Things to Do Once You've Migrated Away from Windows XP

You’ve completed your migration away from Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8 — now what? One thing we know for sure: the industry has evolved and it isn’t reasonable to expect we will stay on this version of the OS for the next ten years. It was a good run. Let’s move on.

You’ll know an IT project is complete when another one is starting
A new model of OS updates calls for regular and consistent updates. No more waiting for service packs. No more waiting for R2. The updates will be regular and rich. We will want them. Our users will demand them. A new system of devices from tablets, to the Microsoft Surface, to our trusty iOS devices to stuff that hasn’t even been thought up yet will capture the imagination of our users and deliver heartburn to the IT manager. Deep breaths. The features available to our new spectrum of devices are changing…frequently…and our users will no longer tolerate a decade of treading water. We need to supply a better desktop experience.

The emergence of the consumerization of IT and BYOD philosophies has led to a proliferation of devices, and these enable capabilities that simply weren’t possible with XP. This means new ideas are required to keep some control and sanity. That is, however, unless you are have been awarded a gigantic budget increase and a ton of extra head count to help you manage the new stuff that is rolling our week after week.

If you have a huge budget increase and a slew of new people to hire in IT to help you, stop reading. Good job. You are in great shape. SneakerNet will serve you, and your ridiculously growing budget will serve you well for the foreseeable future. Nice work. Well played.

For the rest of us, with slashed budgets and shrinking staff counts, let’s see what we can do.

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What Microsoft Exchange 2003, NSYNC and the Atkins Diet Have in Common

What Microsoft Exchange 2003, NSYNC and the Atkins Diet Have in Common

The April 8, 2014 end-of-extended-support date is approaching for Exchange 2003. How is your organization preparing?

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And while there may be debate over what “good” actually means, Exchange 2003 is going the way of your favorite boy band or fad diet.

What Exchange 2003 going EOL really means
This is not a case of migrating/upgrading simply for the sake of having the “newest thing”. End of extended support means that Microsoft will no longer provide updates, patches, and customer support.

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Office 365: 4 Features you *Will* Care About

Office 365: 4 Features you *Will* Care About

What features and new tricks does Office 365 offer? While there’s a decent amount of articles and sites that point to that sort of information, at Softchoice we’re committed to bringing you the information that matters most to your Microsoft investment.

Following my previous post on why Office 365 is a very worthy followup offering to BPOS, this post is focused on delivering the four features that I feel you will care about more than any other.

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