What’s wrong with Microsoft Azure’s cloud computing platforms? Well nothing, and lots of things. Sure, they offer an incredible array of infrastructure, platform, and web services, and are one of the world leaders in public and private cloud services. If someone had shown me Azure when I started in IT 25 years ago I would have been blown away. So why are so many businesses searching for an alternative to Azure?
Let’s start by looking at a real enquiry for Your Office Anywhere’s cloud computing platform. The company was based in South America and wanted a way of running their language translation application, along with Microsoft Office, in the cloud so it could be accessible by remote, contract workers. The “dreams” along with the frustrations and concerns the customer had were as follows:
- “We have been unable to break away from our “in country” IT companies.”
- “The Cloud and hosting services provide an opportunity to do so but local support is opposed for obvious reasons”
- “Our alternative [to local IT hardware and support] is Azure and Remote Desktop Services plus a local partner doing the setup but nobody seems interested”
- “Microsoft has not responded in 6 months!”
- “Our dream is to eliminate our complete IT inventory…to access everything permitted remotely…we could then dispense with the local IT server support.”
- “Our big problem with Azure is zero support and the impossibility of estimating cost.”
- “Your Office Anywhere may well be an even better solution and cheaper than Azure.”
The two biggest issues with Azure for this and many other companies:
Implementation, and surety of pricing.
Azure for all its functionality and scalability is, for many small businesses, really no different than having local, on-premise, infrastructure. Businesses still have to pay a competent IT company to design, implement and support the cloud-based infrastructure. And then, in 5 years’ time, pay again for an upgrade project to remain on supported operating systems.
When you run a pricing calculator in Azure (with your IT consultant holding your hand) you will be given an estimate of your monthly costs, not a quote. The estimate is based on the “ideal world” scenario and assumes that you will manage the environment so tightly it squeaks, something you will also need to pay your IT consultant to do. If you don’t your costs will run wild and you won’t know about it until you get your next month’s invoice.
Why is Your Office Anywhere a better alternative to Azure?
OK, time for some candidness. Azure offer a vast range of services with data centres spread across the globe, something that Your Office Anywhere don’t even try to compete with. Your Office Anywhere’s core business is hosted remote desktop servers aimed specifically at small businesses, a way of running Windows desktop application in the cloud making them accessible from anywhere and on any device. For many small businesses like the one above, and possibly yours, Your Office Anywhere do offer a real alternative to Azure in that they provide a fully managed service for a fixed monthly price*.
What is the advantage of Your Office Anywhere’s fully managed service compared to Azure?
Quite simply, for the customer, the elimination of any need for local IT skills. Everything is looked after by Your Office Anywhere and included in the price.
Here’s some examples and why they are important:
Setting up the server and installing the applications is done by the engineers at Your Office Anywhere. The customer does not need any IT skills and will be given one to one personal assistance in getting started on the platform.
The server will have everything installed and set up ready to be used when the customer first comes onboard. All configuration and settings will be made to make sure it is as secure as possible, including managed anti-virus software.
Your Office Anywhere manage the Windows updates and patches for your server. This just doesn’t just mean they turn on auto updates and sit back, it means they patch test servers first then manage this to run out of business hours and also come to the rescue if the Windows update is faulty and causes your server to blue screen.
Backups are also managed by the Your Office Anywhere, including data, databases, documents and the Windows OS itself. In almost all cases restoring data is done free of charge.
When you use a fully managed service you are also getting included all the surrounding infrastructure that keeps your server secure and available, and enables you to easily access your desktop applications over the internet from anywhere in the world.
I can set up a server in Azure in minutes how long does it take with Your Office Anywhere?
Can you, really? Sure, you can click a button to provision a Windows Server but how long really does it take to design the optimum infrastructure, navigate the PowerShell commands to set it up, build all the additional infrastructure servers needed to manage your environment and then configure everything so it actually works and is secure and safe from viruses etc. as well as being properly backed up, all the user accounts created, licencing properly managed, the list goes on.
Building a server at Your Office Anywhere doesn’t take that long either. Most of the time is spent apply Windows updates. However, each server is bespoke and we install all the applications for customers and work with the customer to migrate the data as well as troubleshooting all the small teething troubles that may occur, so we advise allowing about 5 days before being the server is handed over to you.
How do I find out more?
Here’s another area where we absolutely excel above Microsoft. Give us a call and we’ll answer straight away, and speak for as long as you need on your requirements before helping architect the right solution for you. You know, all the things you’d be paying an IT consultant to do, we do free of charge. Please just give us a call on 01282 500318 or complete the form below.
*The monthly price is fixed based a specified number of users and applications. Of course, if the number of users increase or different applications are required then costs will change accordingly, but you will always know in advance how much you are going to pay.