*Updated in January 2023*
Cloud computing has revolutionized IT in the last decade, with over 94% of enterprises currently leveraging the benefits of cloud computing for some part of their business. Migrating to a cloud environment can improve a business’s reliability, scalability, and cost savings.
To help you understand the current cloud provider landscape and the advantages and disadvantages of each provider, we’ve developed a series of blogs breaking down the top three cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure. This particular blog is focused on the pros and cons of Microsoft Azure.
Azure entered the playing field later than its main competitors but has managed to catch up quickly. Though less mature than AWS, Azure’s services are commensurable to its competitors as it expands its global reach and offerings. Its steady growth rate demonstrates the high demand for Azure services and explains why almost 70% of organizations worldwide use Azure as at least one of their chosen cloud providers, according to a 2021 Statistica survey.
Azure provides all of the traditional cloud offerings like object storage, virtual machines, IoT, and serverless functionality, but its ability to leverage proprietary Microsoft technologies sets it apart from the rest. In addition to easily integrating into Microsoft-centric organizations, Azure is known for its support for multi-cloud and hybrid strategies, AI and machine learning capabilities, and for supporting the largest selection of cloud regions. Thousands of enterprises like Uber, PepsiCo, and Bosch see Azure as the best fit for their needs, yet it’s still not a one-size-fits-all solution. Let’s explore the pros and cons of Azure.
This blog explores the key advantages and disadvantages of Microsoft Azure to help you make the best decision while considering it as your cloud provider. Read on to explore them.
Key Advantages of Azure
As long as companies use Microsoft products, Azure will continue to have an edge over its competitors. Azure’s key advantage is quick and easy integration for Microsoft-centric or Windows-enabled enterprises. Even for companies who haven’t considered moving to the cloud yet, Microsoft could already have a strong presence in their IT departments. In these situations, IT teams favor Azure over other cloud providers. Azure Migrate provides a centralized hub to visualize and track the progress of migrating on-premises virtual machines to Azure. For developers using .NET or working on Windows Server projects, Azure is undoubtedly the cheapest option.
Microsoft is also known for focusing on hybrid and multi-cloud strategies. Azure Arc is a management platform that enables users to extend their services into a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Users can easily integrate and manage their on-premises environments with Azure and other cloud providers. Azure embraces multi-cloud strategies and invests in services that enable users to choose the best approach.
It’s important to mention the number of regions and availability zones that Azure occupies. With more regions than any other provider and at least three availability zones per region, Azure backs up its claims of being a reliable and resilient cloud solution for businesses anywhere in the world.
In summary, the main benefits of Azure are:
- Experience working with large enterprises
- Firm cloud region foothold
- Integration with Microsoft and Windows-based tools
- Focus on hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategy
- Cheaper for organizations who want to keep paying for Microsoft licenses
- Simple migration for organizations already using Microsoft software
Key Disadvantages of Azure
Even for Microsoft-centric organizations where Azure is assumed to be a clear choice, there are specific drawbacks that steer companies away. The most common complaints involve Azure’s poor track record in security, integration issues with non-Microsoft-centric organizations, poor customer service, and outdated documentation.
Verified reviews on TrustRadius provide more context into these issues, specifically highlighting how Azure customer support tickets take weeks to resolve, leaving customers scrambling to troubleshoot problems themselves. There is a similar trend with billing, phone, and technical support. They also highlight how Azure’s technical documentation is outdated and lacks mapping capabilities. If your IT department lacks Azure technical expertise, expect delays in resolving tickets or fixing issues.
If your main concern with moving to the cloud is security, then you may want to think twice before choosing Azure as your cloud provider. Just in the last few years, Microsoft was subjected to dozens of critical attacks – a Brazilian hacking group claims to have breached Microsoft stealing troves of code, there was a bug in Azure Container Instances (ACI) that could have leaked data, a vulnerability in Azure Cosmos DB enabled attackers to read, change, and delete users’ databases, and Azure users were given full access to other users’ accounts following a flaw in its Automation Service.
This list only scratches the surface of Azure and Microsoft’s reported security flaws. Some of these vulnerabilities were exploitable for months or even years before they were noticed by researchers, posing huge concerns for large enterprises that rely on the cloud provider to protect their own customer’s data. Azure works diligently to patch vulnerabilities promptly, but its preventative measures don’t seem to be holding up.
As mentioned previously, Microsoft Azure works great with solutions of a similar nature, but if you plan to integrate with non-Microsoft products, you may experience serious issues. Azure is not as versatile or flexible when customizing the infrastructure for companies not already operating in the Microsoft ecosystem.
In summary, the major drawbacks of Azure are:
- Worst track record in security
- Poor documentation
- Inadequate customer support
- Required expertise to manage services
- Limited flexibility with non-Microsoft products
As we look toward the future, the question is no longer whether you should move to the cloud; rather, who should you select as your cloud provider when you do, and what is the best way to optimize your current strategy?
Azure is a sound choice for organizations already operating with Microsoft Suite products or delivering Windows-based applications or services. If your company is working with .NET, Windows Servers, Microsoft Teams, or Office365, Azure is likely your best choice. However, it’s essential to remember that security is a significant concern for Azure users.
How Wizeline Can Help
Wizeline takes a vendor-agnostic approach to cloud solutions and provides custom cloud strategies tailored to each client’s business and technology needs. We have experience working with all three leading cloud providers and the resources and expertise necessary to make every partnership successful. Check out our latest guide to cloud providers to see a complete overview of each cloud provider and get some tips on optimizing your cloud strategy.