The capabilities of the cloud have evolved tremendously since its arrival fifteen years ago. The cloud no longer only offers cost-effective access to scalable infrastructure resources, but — through the adoption of cloud-native principles — is becoming key to customer-centric innovation and growth.
By migrating applications to fit the microservices ethos of the cloud, growth-oriented companies can operate much faster. Breaking down large code bases into flexible microservices is facilitating a new world of agile, customer-centric product development.
This article will delve into why Microsoft Azure offers the best cloud-native capabilities and why partnering with Talk Think Do will reduce delivery risk and optimise the ongoing performance of cloud-native migrations.
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A comprehensive security framework
As the scale and sophistication of cybersecurity threats has grown, we’ve seen a shift from the initial scepticism of the security of the cloud to recognising that the only way to access best-in-class cyber defence capabilities is through cloud providers.
Microsoft Azure offers a comprehensive layered defence approach comprising of four elements:
- Network Security: Managing access based on IP address
- Access management: Authentication and authorisation permissions
- Threat protection: Monitoring database usage for unusual behaviour
- Information protection: Encryption-in-transit, encryption-at-rest and encryption-in-use
Microsoft Defender for Cloud wraps around these elements and continuously assesses and strengthens the security configuration of your cloud resources. Additionally, it manages compliance against industry and regulatory standards. With its roots in Enterprise software, Microsoft’s security administration is regarded as best-in-class for managing security across hybrid environments.
Microsoft Azure has a wider range of storage options as compared to competitors such as Google Cloud, meaning that not only is your data secure, it’s easily-accessible as well. Transferring data within the network is also seamless while still secure in Azure, unlike AWS whose data transfers are tedious. Considering Azure’s lower latency, lower costs and higher security, it’s the superior cloud platform when it comes to a secure, affordable and easily-accessible cloud.
Azure often leads the market for security features, like being the first major cloud infrastructure provider to offer Privileged Access Management – critical to a comprehensive security framework. Azure also offers one of the leading marketplaces for third party security applications that complement its own solutions.
Where taking on a comprehensive cloud security framework can get difficult is in having clarity on who is responsible for what in terms of innovation, migration and management. This will depend on the selected cloud deployment model (Iaas vs. PaaS vs. SaaS) and also on the exact nature of any hybrid cloud approach.
Talk Think Do helps clients design their overall cloud security approach, creating clarity on ownership, designing controls and working with internal security governance partners to address their considerations and gain buy-in..
Customer-centric innovation and growth
Containers and Serverless
Enterprises that have fully embraced the cloud’s microservices architecture are experiencing higher rates of innovation while reducing risk by building and deploying smaller, isolated, iterative changes. After all, 87% of IT executives and technology specialists believe that the investment in microservices pays off.¹ Basic products are deployed into production at pace and then improved upon by adding new features in response to customer usage and feedback.
Containerisation underpins this more modern approach and:
- Enables portability — think “write once, run anywhere”
- Drives higher server efficiencies
- Offers rapid start-up times for new applications
- Encourages high scalability through orchestration tools such as Kubernetes.
Serverless releases developers from infrastructure management and promotes microservice programming models.
Azure offers a full suite of Serverless and Container services, from Azure Container Apps to build and deploy modern apps and microservices using serverless containers, to Azure Kubernetes Service. Here, you can cost-effectively deploy and scale containers on managed Kubernetes clusters, along with many others. Interestingly, Azure was actually the first to launch serverless containers. This scalable, serverless suite also lends itself to industry-leading machine learning operations (MLOps), responsible for AI application development that results in up to 3 times the ROI.
Curious to learn more about containerisation? This blog tells you everything you need to know.
Cloud-native transformations are not only about technology – they’re also about moving to a much more customer-centric, growth-oriented delivery approach. Optimising for developer productivity is therefore critical.
Azure DevOps is regarded as one of the leading developer solutions, allowing teams to plan work, collaborate on code development and build and deploy applications. Azure DevOps is fully enterprise ready when it comes to auditing, security and permissions management, and it suits organisations of all sizes, from start-ups to large enterprises.
Moving to a cloud-native, microservices-oriented architectural approach can seem daunting. Talk Think Do helps clients design and evaluate different architectural approaches for cloud migration and supports the redesign of applications to this new paradigm, running a build test at every stage to ensure the stability of each cloud application. Talk Think Do also helps organisations move to more agile, product-led development and delivery approaches:
- Moving to more multidisciplinary team structures
- Introducing agile disciplines
- Equipping developers with the tools and workflows to enable them to efficiently build and deploy products.
Azure Migrate is a highly automated migration service that enables organisations to first evaluate their readiness for cloud migration and size up the potential benefits – whether that be of server, database or application migrations – and can manage the migration itself.²
Migrating legacy applications can seem tedious and unnecessary. After all, why not just start afresh instead? There are a few benefits that modernising your legacy apps can lead to:
- Accelerated innovation and time to market
- Improved security and reliability
- Better compatibility and agility
- Overall improved efficiency
Legacy migration with Microsoft Azure also means there is one central, shared repository, keeping everything simple and easy to access. And, all migration features are included in the subscription fee, meaning you don’t have to deal with microtransactions to get the experience that you deserve.
In the case of virtual machine migrations, a discovery and assessment phase identifies which servers are suitable for migration along with providing sizing recommendations and monthly cost estimates. Replication into Azure is managed, along with cutover into production and shutdown of on-premise infrastructure. Similarly, database migration inventories all in-scope databases along with any compatibility issues and overall readiness. For those opting to move to modern containerised services, Azure Migrate will repackage your current web app servers as containers in Azure Kubernetes Service.
Azure takes care of the mechanics of migration. However, the choice of which systems and applications to migrate, when to migrate them and how to migrate them should directly reflect your strategic ambitions for the cloud. You could be prioritising:
- Lower-risk ancillary services and specific, contained applications.
- Interoperability between public cloud and on-premise environments.
- Control and security.
Talk Think Do helps organisations define the scoping and phasing of both data and application migration to reap the benefits you’re hoping for.
Migration is just the first step. Ongoing monitoring and analysis of your cloud resources is essential to optimising their health and performance. Azure Monitor is a centralised hub that enables the continuous monitoring and optimisation of your web applications, infrastructure and network resources. It does this by providing rich visualisations, customisable analytics and configurable proactive alerts.
Talk Think Do ensures that the right things are being spotted, and will identify areas for improvement as well as where your applications are succeeding. For organisations with limited in-house IT resources, Talk Think Do offers continuous delivery and managed application support – proactively monitoring apps for availability, security and performance. An expert team is on-hand to deal with any incidents and to support technical requests.
Want to make the most of Microsoft Azure? Our comprehensive guide will take you through everything you need to know.
Talk Think Do is with you at every step
The adoption of cloud-native approaches is fast becoming a key enabler of customer-centric innovation and growth. As this article has outlined, there are good reasons for considering Azure as the preferred cloud service provider to achieve this goal:
- Azure’s standout commitment to enabling hybrid/multi-cloud environments
- Azure’s position as a leading innovator in cloud-native microservices-based approaches
- Azure’s emphasis on develop productivity
- Azure’s focus on minimising migration complexity
Talk Think Do has helped numerous organisations access the full growth-enabling potential of Azure. To see growth for your business, get in touch with us today and see how your business could become our next success story.