It’s no great secret that cloud technology is the future of modern businesses, with services like Microsoft Office 365 and Azure being commonplace. The reason is that they are able to offer benefits and features that aren’t possible with on-premises machines and networks. One particular feature is Azure Virtual Machines (VMs). The smart virtual machines enable Azure developers to create and run their one VMs, using their preferred operating system, language and workload. The result is an on-demand, scalable compute resource that is flexible and cost-efficient.
What Are Virtual Machines?
A virtual machine is simply a copy of a computer system. Instead of a physical computer needed to run programs and deploy apps, the virtual machine can be used as the compute resource. One or more virtual machines can run on a physical machine as the host. However, each has its own operating system and functions separately and behaves like a completely separate computer.
Virtual machine technology can be used for many use cases both on-premises and in the cloud. For example, VMs are deployed to accommodate different levels of processing power, run software on different operating systems or test applications in a safe environment. More recently, cloud services are using virtual machines to provide virtual application resources to multiple users, delivering more cost-efficient and flexible compute. Azure Virtual Machines are a computing service available on the Windows platform that enables anyone to host an application or system in the cloud. It’s basically infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and enables users to create virtual machines, leverage software and databases, increase capacity as needed and ensure security at all times.
How Does Azure Compare to a Traditional Virtual Machine?
There are some clear distinctions between Azure VMs and traditional VMs:
- Price – Azure offers flexible instead of fixed costs
- Flexibility -with Azure, you can move workloads from your data centre to Azure servers and back instead of them being stuck on local servers.
- Security – Azure offers 24-hour monitored physical security, intrusion prevention and ISO Certified Data Centres.
- Maintenance – instead of having to upgrade hardware and software, Azure provides automatic operating system and service patching, built-in network load balancing and resiliency to hardware failure.
- Open – Azure enables the use of almost any language, framework or tool to build applications as opposed to being limited to whatever language is on your servers.
- Speed – with Azure, you can provision resources in minutes and have access to unlimited servers and storage.
- Licensing – Windows, Linux SQL and Oracle licensing is included with Azure, removing the need to purchase licensing as a separate transaction.
The Advantages of Using Azure Virtual Machines
As legacy system infrastructure has its servers located in numerous locations, access is complicated at best. With the Azure platform, instead of needing to connect via VPN or be on-premise to access a system, services can be accessed from anywhere at any time. That’s far from the only advantage of Azure Virtual Machines. Here are some other reasons why Azure VMs are a popular business choice:
- Reduce costs – with low-cost per-second billing, you only pay for the computer time you use and can always keep your budget in check. What’s more, Azure offers many ways to save money, such as term pricing, the ability to reuse on-premises licences to run Windows Server VMs on Azure and spot pricing for running interruptible workloads. What’s more, you can manage all that and optimise your cloud spend with Azure Cost management.
- Manage workloads – with Azure, you can easily govern, monitor and back up your VM environments to ensure compliance across your business. Azure offers recommendations for availability, security, performance and cost for all your VMs. What’s more, you can reserve compute capacity ahead of VM deployments.
- Enhance security – safeguard your data against ransomware with Azure Backup, identify issues and gain insights with Azure Monitor and find and fix vulnerabilities with Azure Security Centre. With support from Azure, you can ensure you meet a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards and can take advantage of a range of VM service-level agreements (SLAs).
- Scale resources – with Azure, you can create and manage thousands of virtual machines at scale. Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets allows you to build large-scale services for batch, big data and container workloads. You can increase or decrease the number of VMs automatically based on demand or to a set schedule. What’s more, everything can be centrally managed, configured and updated.
How to Choose the Right Azure VM for Your Workload
With Azure, there’s a VM for every possible business scenario. By choosing the right VM for your workload, you can reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. If your considering migrating your business and mission-critical workloads to Azure infrastructure, you can choose between the following Azure VMs, amongst others:
- A-Series – entry-level VMs ideal for development and test servers, small database and proof of concepts.
- Bs-Series – economical VMs for test servers, low-traffic web servers and microservices that typically run at a low baseline CPU utilisation but sometimes need to burst to higher utilisation based on demand.
- D-Series – perfect for general purpose compute. With a compilation of vCPUs, memory and temporary storage, they can meet the requirements of most production workloads, such as enterprise-grade applications, e-commerce systems, customer relationship management applications and more.
- E-Series – these VMs are configured with high memory-to-core ratios, making them well-suited for memory-intensive enterprise applications, large relational database servers and in-memory analytics workloads, as well as systems that process transactions of a financial nature.
Could Azure Virtual Machines Benefit Your Business?
Whatever industry you work in, your employees need to have access to the applications and IT systems required to do their work effectively. As remote working becomes increasingly common, you need to find a way to give your employees access in a secure way. Moreover, you need to be able to scale those resources as your business grows. Few solutions are as comprehensive and flexible as Azure Virtual Machines. By incorporating Azure into your business, you can reduce hardware expenditure, improve your security posture and easily scale in number and compute.