Frequently Asked Questions for Microsoft Azure
What is Azure and why use it?
Microsoft defines Azure as a flexible and open cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications in its data centres. It has various workloads for the three levels of cloud deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Many organisations use Microsoft Azure to modernise legacy applications or bring their on-premises servers to the cloud to save on costs, enable scalability and high availability, and take advantage of its state-of-the-art security and compliance capabilities.
Microsoft Azure vs Office 365: What’s the difference?
Microsoft Azure is a public computing platform that provides organisations access to cloud services for networking, storage, analytics, compute, and more. It comes in various forms such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Azure offers organisations to "pay-as-you-go", which means you are billed only for what you use on a monthly basis. Learn more about Microsoft Azure here.
Microsoft 365, (formerly Office 365) on the other hand, is a Software as a Service (SaaS). It provides users access to office productivity apps for email, collaboration, communication, file storage, and more that they can either install on their desktops or access on a web browser. Microsoft 365 includes applications such as the well-loved Microsoft Office, SharePoint for content and collaboration, Teams for chat-based communication, Exchange Online for email, Yammer for company-wide communications, and lightweight version of Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI. It also has built-in security that helps you provide a productive and secure remote work environment for your people. Learn more about Microsoft 365 here.
How can I purchase Azure services?
You can purchase Azure services directly through Microsoft or you can get it from Professional Advantage.
By going direct to Microsoft, you will use your credit card to pay for your subscription and Microsoft will provide you with support following their standard SLA’s.
Professional Advantage is a Tier 1 CSP, which means we can provide you with your Microsoft software needs not only for Azure but also for Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 Windows Server, and SQL Server. By choosing Professional Advantage as your Azure provider, you take advantage of these benefits:
- You work with a single partner that can not only provide you the software that you need, but also the services that help you maximise your Azure investment.
- You help your IT focus on the things that matter more for your business by complementing them with access to a team that has years of experience deploying, managing, securing, and optimising Azure.
- You get billed through monthly invoice from Professional Advantage so you do not have to worry about reaching your limit on your credit card.
- You get immediate local and/or national support for your billing and technical concerns with our dedicated account management and managed services team.
To learn more, call us at 1800 126 499 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got more questions about Azure? View the full list of frequently asked questions here.
Why Microsoft Azure is better than AWS?
Microsoft Azure gives you more value and consistent experience from your existing Microsoft software investment with its full integration to Office 365 and Active Directory.
Only Azure offers you to pay reduced rate for moving your existing Windows Server and SQL Server workloads to Azure using Azure Hybrid Benefit. It also provides you up to three additional years of free extended security updates when you move your Windows Server or SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure. You can compare Azure vs AWS here.
Download our whitepaper to learn why Azure is the top choice of Australian organisations for modernising their IT infrastructure.
When to use Microsoft Azure?
We recommend using Azure for the following common scenarios.
- You have ageing hardware or existing datacenter contracts that are becoming too costly to maintain.
- You are looking for flexibility, scalability, and high availability that your on-premises servers can’t provide.
- You have legacy business-critical software that you want to modernise.
- You are worried about the limited protection your current security tools offer to guard against cyber threats.
- You require to be able to recover and restore your data in cases of unplanned outages, cybersecurity incidents or natural disasters.
- You want to enable secure remote working by virtualising desktops and apps in the cloud.
- You want to develop your own apps quickly but want to host them to the cloud.
Microsoft Azure can address many other scenarios. To learn whether Azure is right for your current business needs, consult with us at 1800 126 499 or email us at email@example.com.
Is there a Not-for-Profit pricing for Azure?
There is no NFP pricing for Azure VMs or services from Microsoft, however, qualified NFPs can get access to free Azure credits worth $3,500 (USD). NFPs can renew this grant annually with Microsoft.
Professional Advantage also offers special consulting rates for qualified NFPs to help you modernise your IT infrastructure in the most cost-effective way.
Visit our Azure for Not-for-Profit page for more information or get in touch with us at 1800 126 499 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Microsoft Azure used for?
You can use Azure for (but not limited to) the below:
- Migrate your on-premises servers to the cloud.
- Secure your IT environment.
- Virtualise your machines and desktops.
- Enable backup and disaster recovery.
- Manage user access and identity.
- Develop applications.
- Host or modernise your legacy apps such as, but not limited to, Dynamics GP, Infor SunSystems, Kentico, and the like.
Learn how our clients used Azure to modernise their IT infrastructure and apps in these client stories.
Can I try Microsoft Azure for free?
Yes, you can sign up for a free Azure account for 30 days. Your benefits from the free account:
- $200 credits (USD) to explore Azure for 30 days.
- 12 months access to popular free services.
- 25+ free services.
Can I sign up to Azure without a credit card?
Yes, you may do so by purchasing Azure through a Microsoft CSP partner such as Professional Advantage where we will bill you for your consumption through a monthly invoice.
How do I modernise existing .NET applications with Azure cloud?
There are four strategies that you can take to modernise your existing .NET applications (or any business application for that matter) to Microsoft Azure.
- REHOST: “lift and shift” strategy without the risks or costs of making code changes.
- REFACTOR: “repackage” strategy that involves some changes to the application but no major application code changes.
- REARCHITECT: modernise your app into a resilient, highly scalable, independently deployable architecture and use Azure to accelerate the process, scale applications, and manage your apps with ease.
- REBUILD: rebuild your application from scratch but without the expensive and complex software licenses or underlying application infrastructure.
Read further information about the four strategies for modernising your business applications in this blog.
We also recommend checking out the tools you can use to migrate your workloads to the cloud in this blog.
Why should I consider Azure for my legacy Windows Server and SQL Server rather than AWS or other cloud platforms?
We recommend Azure for modernising or migrating your legacy Windows Server and SQL Server because of the following reasons:
- Azure is built to natively support Windows Server and SQL Server.
- Azure has seamless hybrid capabilities.
- Azure has intelligent security, complying with the world’s most rigid security and compliance regulations.
- Azure has the lowest cost of ownership with its unique pricing options and extended security updates for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2.
- Leverage the Windows Server and SQL Server technical skills that you already have. No need for a sharp learning curve to support your users on Azure.
- Migrating your Windows Server and SQL Server apps and data to other platforms is likely more expensive than using Azure.
Download our whitepaper to learn why Azure is the top choice of Australian organisations for modernising their IT infrastructure from a cost, security, innovation, and governance perspective.
Can Microsoft access my data in Azure?
You own your data and Microsoft does not inspect, approve, or monitor applications that you deploy to Azure. Moreover, Microsoft does not know what kind of data you choose to store in Azure. They do not claim data ownership over your information that you enter into Azure.
How is support for Azure delivered by Professional Advantage?
Professional Advantage’s Azure clients are automatically enrolled into our Managed Services, where we deliver support in these ways:
- 9x5 phone and email assistance. Our support team are available to respond to your support requests Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM by reaching us via phone or email.
- Self-service customer support logging. Support tickets can be logged at your convenience in our client support portal.
- Remote helpdesk support. Receive remote technical and troubleshooting support from one of our helpdesk engineers.
- Quarterly strategic consulting allowance. Get technical guidance and best practices to help you optimise, secure, and keep up to date on the latest development on Microsoft Azure by scheduling your quarterly strategic consulting with one of our Azure consultants.
- Proactive issue monitoring and resolution. Our clients take advantage of the leading-edge monitoring and management tools we use to ensure that your systems continue to run optimally.
- Access to experienced national helpdesk personnel. We have a dedicated team of top-rated, certified support engineers whom you can reach out to for support and management of not only your Azure, but your entire enterprise’s desktop and server infrastructure.
You may also refer to our Support Service Level Guide for more detailed information on how we provide our support services.