Thursday, August 28, 2014

Azure - My Notes from Cloud Challenges, Opportunities & Migration Strategies presentation

This week I have attended a short but an informative presentation on Azure at a Readify breakfast event. The presenters were Mitch Denny and Alessandro Cardoso. I have been working with azure for quite sometime now and this presentation gave me an opportunity to get myself up-to date on what is happening (and will be happening ) in near future in Azure space.

Azure's popularity and adoption is increasing, thanks to an easy to user interface, powershell based accesses to your assets in Azure cloud and reduced cost of high speed net connections. However, in my experience I have found that there still gaps/limitations in Azure offering such as inconsistent performance across different data-centres, migrating large databases to azure etc.

Key points that I took note of

1. Leveraging SQL always on feature to move large dbs to cloud

2. Data archives can be sent to Microsoft (physically) for restore followed by sync with data on premise then switching to cloud

3. Australian data centre will be available around Oct 2014

4. Clients can get on high speed dedicated links (gigabit connections) to Azure data centre within Australia

6. Remoteapp is available on ios and Android to access your Azure cloud from a mobile device I was able to have that up and running on my mobile in a few minutes while attending the presentation.

7. Inconsistent performance across different Azure datacentres. Not all the datacenters have the same/latest hardware, some have got older CPUs etc and it takes time for Microsoft to upgrade the hardware. This is a bit bizarre though as you would pay the same amount but you may get sub par performance form the data-centre closer to you. Furthermore it is an issue in sizing the environment (definitely an issue when I find my 3 years old 4 core 8gig local VM outperforms an azure VM with 8 cores and 14GB ram in Microsoft's Southeast Asia's datacenter). Personally I think there are other contributing factors too like efficiency of Azure in virtualising the hardware for the hosts.

8. Users/consumers are getting more focused on apps/services then underlying OS

9. Disaster recovery with Azure is an interesting topic. Theoretically this is an excellent option to have the DR strategy based on Azure cloud with Azure Recovery Manager. You can have your DR backups managed through Azure Recovery Manager from your primary site to the secondary site. Alternatively you can have your DR environment in Azure cloud.

10. A reminder that do not forget shutting downs your VMs and services when not in use otherwise you have trouble answering your finance people.

11. You can download the azure presentation from here