Many organisations are struggling to get started with Azure. In this video transcript, OCSL’s Enterprise Architect, Tim Richardson outlines some of the common challenges deploying Azure and how you can overcome them.
Azure platform as a service. Organizations that don't do Cloud as well as they could do typically have gone down one of two routes. They either spend months and months planning, strategizing and training and then don't make any real progress. Or, when they're at the point of taking some action, then all the cloud services have evolved, so they need to start re-planning.
Without a proper strategy, organizations can just end up within an Azure bill and none of the real benefits.
What are the main challenges deploying Azure?
The main challenge I see with Azure is the skills gap. Most of the customers we work with have got really, highly skilled IT teams that are used to dealing with on-premises platforms. They're very good at that. But then when you start thinking about Azure consumption, then it's an entirely different model.
You're essentially consuming services from somebody else's platform. There's different operations models and that results in a bit of trial and error.
Sometimes there's challenges around security. The Azure platform by default is an incredibly secure platform. But whilst Microsoft are responsible for the platform, customers are responsible for what they put on the platform. And it's quite easy to get the security of what they put on the platform wrong.
So, to sum up, I think the four key challenges that I see with the Azure are:
- the skills gap
- cost control and predictability
- keeping up with innovation
Is there a best practice way to deploy Azure?
From working with dozens and dozens of our clients on their Azure strategies we found that, no matter which way the Azure strategy goes, there's some core fundamental building blocks that need to be in place.
Because these can be automated and templated, we can get the process for doing those down from three or more weeks, down to several hours. And we can do that in a templated and repeatable low-cost way.
Getting your Active Directory connected with the on-premises Active Directory is a key dependency for cloud adoption. This hybrid identity essentially means that staff can log on with their own on premises credentials to Azure and Office 365, and thousands and thousands of cloud applications.
We’ll get the operational processes in place. We'll get the hybrid networking in place. (So, that's the connection to Azure but also the networking within Azure.) We'll also get that set up in a best practice fashion. Our clients can then use the same model themselves. We’ll also get domain controllers spun up in Azure, so servers can be joined into Active Directory running in Azure.
Azure Fast Start – How is it currently helping clients?
We really helping our clients to expedite their Azure strategies. For example, one client was looking to refresh an on-premises platform. They had an awareness of Azure, but it was kind of scary. So, they weren't really considering it. But with Azure Fast Start we managed to skill them up, get them connected, and they could spend their money a bit more efficiently
One of the key parts of OCSL Azure Fast Start is putting in a security model. It's a best practice security model that enables customers to deploy services with peace-of-mind.
Our Fast Start service has taken off better than anyone expected. We've deployed it across health, across financial services, across education and many other sectors.
Fundamentally we de-risk projects for people, so we don't have customers coming back to us in the future saying, “okay we've got lots of production services running in Azure, but we don't think it's quite right”.
We can just get things right in the first instance and save a lot of time and effort in the process.
Microsoft are fully behind OCSL Azure Fast Start because it really helps customers get over the barriers to Azure adoption.
What’s next for OCSL Azure Fast Start?
We're continually investing in the OCSL Azure Fast Start offering. Every customer engagement we do, we refine and develop. If we learn something from a previous engagement, subsequent customers benefit from those learnings.
The OCSL Azure Fast Start portfolio is set to grow. We're looking at things like Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Fast Starts and Enterprise Mobility and Security suite Fast Starts. So, watch this space!