Overcome the myths and capitalise on cloud

Johannesburg, 23 Feb 2021
Read time 4min 00sec

With a challenging year ahead of us, local businesses should be harnessing the benefits of Azure to manage costs and support innovation.

This is according to Natasha Bezuidenhout, Microsoft Brand Executive at First Distribution, who says: “Now is the time to make strategic moves to the public cloud.

“A major misconception among businesses is that they need to move their entire estate to the cloud in order to gain the benefits it offers. This simply isn’t true. You can start small by moving smaller, non-critical workloads to the cloud and benefit from the advantages offered by the public cloud immediately,” she says.

“There are other myths and misconceptions around Azure, including that the billing models are complex and that customers are locked in to Microsoft software when using Azure.”

Bezuidenhout says Microsoft Azure offers several key benefits that help organisations manage their spend and improve operations: “With the Azure pricing model, there are no upfront costs, no termination fees, per minute billing and you pay only for what you use,” she notes. “With Azure available in over 50 regions around the world, Microsoft guarantees customers a high level of privacy and a well-defined strategy for availability and disaster recovery.”

Azure is not only aimed at enterprise business, Bezuidenhout adds: “We are seeing that many corporates and SMBs are no longer reinvesting in hardware, and have started leveraging the basic infrastructure services Azure offers with managed storage being one of the fastest growing workloads, as well as PaaS services like SQL on Azure."

“Azure boasts an enticing combination of IaaS and PaaS services. IaaS enables businesses to outsource their infrastructure on Azure’s pay for what they use model, and PaaS lets them create their own Web apps and solutions without having to buy and maintain the underlying infrastructure,” she says.

Bezuidenhout notes that Azure is a complete cloud platform that offers a competitive and rich IaaS offering. Importantly, there is no product or technology lock-in when adopting Azure as cloud provider: “You can choose from a full range of Linux distributions like Red Hat, Ubuntu, CentOS, SUSE and community-driven solutions like Chef, Puppet and Docker.

“Four of the key reasons for moving to hyper-scaler models include security, scalability and ductility, integrated environment with other Microsoft tools, as well as cost efficiency,” Bezuidenhout says.

“Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) is an industry-leading security process on which Azure has been designed. It comprises security at its core and private data and services stay safe and secure on Azure Cloud. Microsoft Azure offers the best compliance coverage of over 50 compliance offerings and is the most trusted cloud platform.”

On scalability and ductility, Bezuidenhout says: “When we look at business-critical applications, which all resources within the business are quite reliant on, we realise that the applications always need to run stable. In Azure, applications can run easily, unaffected by resource dependencies and can scale from 10 to 10 million users without any underlying infrastructure requirements or additional coding. When we look at payroll, ERP and CRM systems, the storage in Azure provides ductile, safe, secure and performance-efficient services in the cloud.”

She notes that businesses dependent on Microsoft tools like Office 365, Microsoft 365, Outlook and SharePoint should invest in a cloud platform that impeccably integrates with Microsoft products. “We then see that the use of Azure simplifies operations by using the same virtual on-premises machines like Windows and Linux. Server licensing is now available within the Microsoft CSP Program and looking at the unmatched ability where Azure has unique hybrid capabilities to facilitate easy mobility and a reliable consistent platform between on-premises and public cloud workloads. Azure provides a much broader range of hybrid connections, including VPNs, caches, content delivery networks and ExpressRoute connections to improve usability and performance.”

In a year in which the bottom line will be everything, Bezuidenhout points out: “The Azure cost model is to pay for what you use – and only for what you use. So no more operational sprawl, no more high IT administration overheads. In traditional IT, we know that we need to cater for high capex models, including PING, POWER and SPACE.”

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