With an on-premises infrastructure, you have complete control over the hardware and software that
you deploy. Historically, this has led to hardware procurement decisions focused on scaling up; that is,
purchasing a server with more cores to satisfy a performance need. With Azure, you can deploy only
the hardware provided by Microsoft. This leads to a focus on scale-out through the deployment of
additional compute nodes to satisfy a performance need. Although this has consequences for the
design of an appropriate software architecture, there is now ample proof that the scale-out of
commodity hardware is significantly more cost effective than scale-up through expensive hardware.
Microsoft has deployed Azure datacenters in 19 regions across the globe from Melbourne to
Amsterdam and Sao Paulo to Singapore. Additionally, Microsoft has an arrangement with Via21Net,
making Azure available in two regions in China. Only the largest global enterprises are able to deploy
datacenters in this manner, so using Azure makes it easy for enterprises of any size to gain the ability to
deploy their services close to their customers, wherever they are in the world. And you can do that
without ever leaving your office.
For startups, Azure allows you to start with very low cost and scale rapidly as you gain customers.
You would not face a large up-front capital investment to create a new VM—or even several new VMs.
The use of cloud computing fits well with the scale fast, fail fast model of startup growth.
Azure provides the flexibility to quickly set up development and test configurations. These can be
scripted, giving you the ability to spin up a development or test environment, do the testing, and spin
it back down. This keeps the cost very low, and maintenance is almost nonexistent.
Another advantage of Azure is that you can try new versions of software without having to upgrade