Introducing Microsoft Azure to Our Clients
Many of you are benefiting from the high availability and reliability of your information through our cloud based solutions but may not know what’s under the hood. The engine that powers our solution is Microsoft Azure. Even if you are not a car buff, you should be able to see this analogy. Starting with your desktop PC, we can liken it to the engine in your family car. It gets you from point A to point B but does not have a lot of power or performance. A SCADA server or in house server farm is like the engine of a luxury car with a few more bells and whistles that gives you a little better performance at a higher price. A global cloud service provider such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services is like the engine of a high performance race car. It has a lot of power, performance and reliability, but is paid for by sponsorships.
These global cloud service providers have many data centers spread across the globe that are all tied together via highly redundant high speed networks. Within each of these data centers are clusters of hundreds or even thousands of computers and petabytes of data storage all operating as one system. Layered on top of this hardware is software. This software allows other companies to interface and develop their own applications that sit on top of these platforms. This process extends all this power, reliability and availability to companies like ours.
Because these global cloud service providers have millions of clients, the cost of maintaining and servicing these data centers are spread across all their clients. This lowers the cost to each individual client. This allows the companies who have built their platform on one of these services to provide very high performance at an affordable price to their end users (you).
Reliability extends past hardware and software, which raises the question, “If a company that is providing a good or service that the end user relies on everyday, is sold off, goes out of business or changes its platform, where does that leave the end user?” These mentioned global cloud service providers will be around for many years to come and this type of platform is only growing.
Many end users like yourselves are just now getting exposed to cloud service, or so they thought. Our personal lives are based on cloud based services. We utilize them every day.
- They rate the movie we want to watch so we can decide whether it is worth watching or not.
- They help us decide whether we want to go to a restaurant we heard about (through other users’ ratings).
- They help us decide on which brand of household product to buy based on customer feedback.
- They inform us of the hours of an event we plan to attend so we can decide when to go.
- They allow us to decide which flight to book after extensive research on times, cost and fees without going to the airport (remember those days?).
- They allow us to decide the best way to get somewhere.
- They help us decide where to go on our vacations based on costs, location and entertainment values.
- The list goes on and on and on… You get the point.
Most importantly, they help us make good decisions in our everyday lives based on massive amounts of information! Behind every one of the decisions we make in our everyday lives, is an almost infinite amount of data, from an almost infinite number sources. In order to deliver this information to you in a usable way is a ton of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms, crunching the information down to something that is meaningful to you and presenting it in a way that you can understand.
Most end users do not realize the amount of information that is available to make decisions in their operations that does not exist on the local system. This is where a cloud based solution can help by aggregating that information into the information from the local operations.
Many companies are implementing solutions that are built on the same cloud platforms to help you make decisions in your work lives just as you use every day in your personal lives.
A cloud based solution is not necessarily meant to replace your existing system, but it does enhance it greatly. Nothing precludes an end user from having both a local and cloud solution as part of their overall system to provide that extra layer of availability and reliability.
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