Why customers choose Azure to run Windows Server workloads: Microsoft partner perspective

Posted on 29 október, 2019

Director, Windows Server and Azure Product Marketing

For decades our Microsoft services partners have fostered digital transformation at customer organizations around the world. With deep expertise in both on-premises and cloud operating models, our partners are trusted advisers to their customer, helping shape migration decisions. Partners give customers hands-on support with everything from initial strategy to implementation – giving them a unique perspective on why migration matters.

Hanu is one of our premier Microsoft partners and the winner of the 2019 Microsoft Azure Influencer Partner of the Year.  Hanu experts rely on expertise with Windows Server and SQL Server, as well as Azure, to plan and manage cloud migration. This ensures that customers get proactive step-by-step guidance and best in class support as they transform with the cloud. 

Recently, I sat down with Dave Sasson, Chief Strategy Officer at Hanu, to learn more about why Windows Server customers migrate to the cloud, and why they choose Azure. Below I am sharing a few key excerpts.

How often are Windows Server customers considering cloud as a part of their digital strategy today? How are they thinking about migrating business applications?

Very frequently we talk to customers that have Windows Servers running their business-critical apps. For a significant number of custom apps, .NET is the code base.  For the CIOs at these companies, cloud initiatives are their top priorities. In this competitive age, end users are demanding great experiences and our customers are looking at ways to innovate quicker and fail faster. Cloud is the natural choice to deliver these new experiences.

Aging infrastructure that is prone to failure and is vulnerable to security threats are also driving cloud considerations. The recent end of support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, and the upcoming end of support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, are decision points for customers on whether to invest in on-premises infrastructure or move their workloads to the cloud.

What are some of the considerations you see Windows Sever customers reviewing when choosing the cloud?

Security, performance and uptime, management, and cost optimization are the top technical considerations mentioned. IT skill is another significant consideration.

Customers want to invest in cloud partners that have technology leadership. This enables customers to modernize their applications and data estates, leverage chatbots, machine learning, and infuse AI services into their internal processes and their customer facing applications.   

What are the challenges you see customers facing when they are transitioning from on-premises to the cloud?

Operating in the cloud is a new paradigm for most customers.  Security, compliance, performance, and uptime are immediate concerns to ensure that companies have business continuity while they digitally transform across the company. Due to recent security threats and compliance requirements, we see this as a concern in not only industry verticals that are traditionally considered highly regulated, but across the board.

Another top challenge for CIOs is how they leverage their organization’s expertise in this new age of IT. Most customer have tons of in-house expertise, but the worry is whether their existing skills will apply when cloud becomes part of their IT environment and keep a high uptime.  

In your experience, why do customers choose Azure for their Windows Server Workloads?

Windows Server and SQL Server users trust Microsoft as their chosen technology partner. Azure offers even better built-in security features and controls to protect cloud environments than what is available on-premises. Azure’s 90+ compliance offerings across the breadth of industry verticals help customers quickly move to a compliant state while running in the cloud. The Azure Governance application also helps automate compliance tracking.

"We worked with Hanu to move our business-critical workloads running on Windows Sever to VMs in Azure. We are saving approximately 30% in cost and best of all, we can now focus entirely on innovation." Paul Athaide, Senior Manager, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Azure offers first party support for Windows Sever and SQL Server. This means the support team is backed by experts that built Windows Server and SQL server. Azure’s First party support promise combined with Hanu’s world class ISO-27001 certified NOC and SOC standards give customers the confidence that they can run business critical apps in Azure. 

Every customer operates their on-premises environment while they build out their operating environment in the cloud. Azure offers tools for Windows Server admins such as Windows Admin Center to manage their on-premises workloads and their Azure VMs. Many Azure services such as Azure Security Center, Update, Monitoring, Site Recovery and Backup work on-premises and are available through Windows Admin Center. Secondly, Azure Services like Azure SQL Database, App Service, and Azure Kubernetes service natively run Windows applications.

Lastly, we tell all our customers to take advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefit. If they have Software Assurance, they can save significantly on cloud cost by moving their Windows and SQL Server workloads to Azure. 

How does Hanu see the value in building a practice in migrating Windows Server on-premises workloads to the cloud?

Customers who are running Windows Server and SQL Server on-premises today have a greater understanding for and confidence in the cloud. We are frequently being pulled into discussions to assist in building customers environments in Azure. Consequently, we have invested a lot of time and resources in our Windows Server migration practice. As a Microsoft Partner, we are excited to see the innovations that Azure is bringing and ways we can help our customers digitally transform their business. 

Dave, thanks so much for sitting down with me. It sounds like our customers are in good hands! 

It’s always great to hear from our premier partners on what challenges customers face and how Microsoft Azure meets those requirements. 

Please check out the Partner Portal to find partners that meet your requirements. We realize every customer has challenges that are unique to their business and our Microsoft Partner Network has 1000’s of partners that meet those requirements. To learn more about Hanu, try Hanu's solution available on Azure Marketplace.