Azure: the Microsoft Cloud service
When we refer to the Cloud it is impossible not to talk about the current battle between the two leaders of the sector. Amazon with AWS opened a world of possibilities in 2006 and has not stopped growing exponentially since then. However, in 2010 Microsoft, as the technological giant that it is, decided to enter the battle of the future for the Cloud and, even if it arrived 4 years late, this would not be an impediment to developing its own Cloud service called “Azure”.
But it was from 2014 onwards, with the help of its then recent CEO Satya Nadella, that Microsoft decided to make a firm commitment to cloud computing. As a result, in the last quadrant Garner 2019 is positioned as the second leader, only below AWS, and with a growth that leaves no one indifferent.
In 2019, Azure has brought us great innovations, some very interesting as for example:
Microsoft Azure ARC
At the Microsoft Ignite event, Satya presented it in his vision keynote. “We are redefining hybrid by bringing innovation anywhere with Azure.”
Azure Arc allows the implementation of Azure’s services anywhere and extends its management to any infrastructure, making it possible to create new hybrid scenarios for customers.. This makes it easy for Azure’s data services to run on any infrastructure through Kubernetes. Azure SQL Database and Hyperscale for Azure Database for PostgreSQL are available in preview version in Azure Arc. It is expected that more services will be added over time.
For customers who need to maintain data workloads in on-premises datacenters due to regulations, data sovereignty, latency, and so on, Azure Arc can bring the latest Azure innovation, cloud benefits like elastic scale and automation, unified management, and unmatched security on-premises.
SAP HANA backup integrated with Azure Backup
SAP HANA databases are extremely important for the SAP applications that use them, requiring low RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and fast RTO (Recovery Time Objective).
As of December 2019, Azure integrated “Azure Backup” as an SAP certified backint, so it can leverage SAP HANA native APIs to seamlessly manage backups and restore databases running on Azure virtual machines, thus taking advantage of the business management capabilities offered by Azure Backup.
The advantages are:
- 15-Minute RPO: Critical data recovery of up to 15 minutes is now possible.
- One-Click, One-Point Restore: Restoring Production Data to HANA’s Alternate Servers Azure integrally manages the chaining of backups and catalogs to perform restorations.
- Long-term Retention: for rigorous compliance and audit needs. Backups may be kept for the required time; the length of the retention will be defined in the life cycle policy that best suits the needs.
- Administration from Azure: you will be able to take advantage of Azure Backup’s management and monitoring capabilities to improve the administration experience. Azure CLI is also compatible.
Finally, Azure’s capacity for growth is backed by Microsoft’s experience and strength in the sector, which in recent years has made a sharp turnaround in its old policies and has demonstrated this with actions: the purchase of GitHub in 2018 is a good example. Another is the company’s openness to public code and repositories, which has given it a strong boost, as well as the confidence of a good number of developers it didn’t have before. Other examples include the release of SQL for Linux, as well as the fact that since 2018 the number of virtual machines in Azure running on Linux has surpassed Windows Server.
One aspect that sets Azure apart from its competitors is that Microsoft has managed to link its Office365, Active Directory, and Windows Server ecosystems with Azure, making it possible to reuse many of the licenses already purchased and thus avoiding the costly and problematic challenge of migrating your ecosystem to adapt it to a new environment. It is then a very interesting option for those organizations reluctant to migrate and use new Cloud services.
Finally, Microsoft has strengthened its alliances with companies like SAP; a symbiotic relationship that is presented by the needs of the German company. The end of support for SAP ERP 6.0, which has been their flagship product for many years, is approaching. To make way for new solutions based on S/4 HANA, a DB that requires much more powerful hardware than the current average opens a door to the Cloud world. This is a turning point that companies are facing. Continuing with on premise solutions, or opting for Cloud solutions that provide a significant advantage in installation times, prices and versatility.
Both SAP and Microsoft are looking to reduce the complexity and minimize the costs of S/4 Hana migration, bring the benefits of the cloud, and thus help companies make the qualitative and quantitative leap required by today’s business and enterprise solutions.