Azure Governance: Defining Your Organizational Hierarchy

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, October 2nd 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Operations, Microsoft

A fundamental building block for your successful adoption of cloud services is the organizational hierarchy, a mode of organizing your cloud services, resources, and virtual machines in such a way that you ensure cloud governance and can better resolve billing within your organization.

Cloud governance is the answer to common questions like:

• “How do I keep my data compliant with industry regulations?”

• “How can I implement chargeback within my organization so I know which departments are consuming cloud services and account for that usage?”

• “How can I mandate security and access measures across our cloud environment?”

By implementing a flexible set of controls and overall organizational hierarchy within Azure, you can enable adoption of the cloud services your business units require and avoid shadow cloud use. A well-designed enterprise cloud environment can accommodate modern agile practices alongside traditional workloads.

Here’s how to structure your organizational hierarchy within Azure so you can set governance requirements and encourage speed of delivery for your individual departments and business units.

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Five Key Questions to Control Cloud Costs

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, August 9th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, IT Modernization

With some organizations looking to move cloud workloads back on-premises to mitigate costs and regain control over their hardware and audit trails, you might be questioning cloud-first and cloud-only initiatives for infrastructure procurement.

After all, for years marketing pushed lower overall costs after migrating to the cloud. So what gives? Why are many cloud workloads ending up more expensive than their on-prem counterparts?

You've probably heard the old joke before that the cloud is “just someone else's data center.” That may have been true a decade ago, but no longer.

Forcing a cloud migration is not the key to savings. You must understand the business value, catalog and think deeply about the existing and desired state of your infrastructure, rearchitect your workloads, and adjust your workflow to this new paradigm. Here are the five key areas you need to plan things out.

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Before Going Serverless, Be Aware of Limitations

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, July 25th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Modernization

Serverless functions (often referred to as Functions as a Service or FaaS) will no doubt continue to grow in popularity and remain a cornerstone of IT services for many years to come. However, they are simply another way of building, maintaining, and delivering IT systems. With that in mind, they naturally have disadvantages or situations in which they may not be the preferred technology to use. These are due both to the nature of serverless and how it is currently implemented by cloud service providers.

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Azure Functions and Logic Apps: Differences and When to Use Them

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, July 10th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Datacenter Automation, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, IT Operations, Microsoft

Microsoft Azure offers native serverless computing features. Two of the most crucial to master are Azure Functions and Azure Logic Apps. Each of them help enable business logic that automates your Azure workflow, but they have key differences and in fact can be used together in a complementary manner to offer flexible, powerful control over your cloud resources.

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these serverless automation platforms work within Azure and some use cases for them.

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Integration as a Service Connects Your Apps to the Cloud

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, July 3rd 2019 — Categories: Managed Services, Multi-Cloud, Cloud Hosting, DevOps, Enterprise Applications, IT Operations, Software Development

Hybrid cloud management spans beyond setting up your IaaS environment. The majority of enterprises use a mix of on premises infrastructure (both legacy and newly deployed) and cloud-based resources. Often a major hurdle remains: applications that are not ready to connect to the cloud.

Enter Integration as a Service. We know, we know. Everything as a Service overload! This emerging field involves a vendor who can help architect enterprise IT apps to work across on premises and cloud environments, complete with real-time exchange of data.

How does Integration-a-a-S work and what should you expect from a cloud integration provider?

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What’s a Jumpbox or Bastion Host, Anyway?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 20th 2019 — Categories: Azure, Cloud Hosting, Microsoft, Networking and Fiber, Security

Microsoft recently revealed a service called Azure Bastion that allows customers a more secure way to connect and access virtual machines (VMs). It uses Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Secure Shell (SSH) network protocol alongside Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.

Bastion connects VMs, your local computers, and cloud resources without exposing them to public network connections. As a Platform as a Service, it simplifies the process of setting up and administrating bastion hosts or jumpboxes in your cloud environment.

But what are bastion hosts or jumpboxes? And why would you use them, or a service like Azure Bastion?

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Multi-Cloud Survey: 72% Using Multiple Cloud Providers, But 56% Have No Multi-Cloud Strategy

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Friday, June 14th 2019 — Categories: Multi-Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Hybrid IT

We recently launched a survey of IT professionals to see how multi-cloud adoption is progressing among members of the community. While we packaged it as a fun quiz to “Learn Your Cloud Animal” based on what results were chosen, the results offer some great insight.

Most crucially, we discovered that while 72% of respondents were currently using multiple cloud providers, a whopping 56% of them had no multi-cloud strategy or long-term roadmap.

We dug in deeper to learn how these IT pros were using external service providers to manage multi-cloud workloads, whether they were using multi-cloud management tools, if containers entered the equation, and much more.

Read on to learn the rest, including the top challenges faced in a multi-cloud environment.

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End of Support for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008: Should You Migrate to the Cloud?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, June 6th 2019 — Categories: Active Directory, Cloud Hosting, IT Modernization, Microsoft, Security

You would be woefully uninformed and unprepared as an IT admin if you didn’t know that two major Microsoft products, the 2008 versions of SQL Server and Windows Server, are each about to reach their end of support. That means it’s time to upgrade or migrate lest you fall victim to inevitable security vulnerabilities.

One big question when facing a major software upgrade such as this is whether to remain in place, so to speak, and update to the latest version from your current deployment scenario on premise or in a hosted environment, or to move to a cloud-based server – namely Azure, since that offers you tight integration and lower costs with Microsoft products such as these.

SQL Server end of support is imminent, coming up on July 9, 2019. Windows Server has a few months to go, ending support on January 14, 2020.

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Agile Methodology for Cloud Administration is Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Written by Josh Larsen on Thursday, May 23rd 2019 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, DevOps, Enterprise Applications, IT Modernization, IT Operations

DevOps — the marriage of the development and operations departments within a software organization — and Agile methodology have been mentioned alongside cloud computing for years now, and with good reason. Using Agile in the cloud is a classic pairing that goes together like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese…okay, let me go grab a snack before this simile gets me drooling.

But seriously, even if Agile and cloud technology aren’t as tasty as PB&J, they can still have you smacking your lips in satisfaction as you react to business problems with technology solutions in a much faster and more reliable manner.

Here’s why Agile software development practices work so well when you’re working with cloud infrastructure, even if you aren’t a software development company.

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Cloud Repatriation: When Is it Time to Bring Workloads Back On-Prem?

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, April 25th 2019 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Colocation, Hybrid IT

It feels like we’ve been talking “cloud-first” or “cloud-only” when it comes to IT transformation and new procurement strategies for years now. But a little over a year ago, we already saw some signs of what analysts are now calling cloud repatriation. At the time we asked, are enterprises moving back to on-premise data centers?

The answer isn’t that simple, but there is certainly a time and place for cloud repatriation. Here’s why it’s trendy to move some workloads back on premise and how to decide whether its time for you to follow suit.

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