Why use VM in Azure?

Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) are one of the most popular services on the Azure cloud platform. As more organizations adopt cloud computing, understanding the benefits of Azure VMs can help guide technology decisions. This article explores key reasons to run VMs on Azure infrastructure.

Why use VM in Azure?

Flexibility and Scalability

One major advantage of Azure VMs is flexibility. Users can customize VMs to meet specific workload needs with control over operating systems, configurations, and installed applications. Azure supports Windows and Linux VMs with adjustable processing power, memory, and storage.

As demands change, VMs can scale up or out through resizing or replication. This makes Azure suitable for workloads prone to fluctuations like retail websites with seasonal traffic spikes. Organizations only pay for the resources provisioned.

Adjustable Configurations

Azure offers a wide range of VM sizes like:

  • B-series for entry-level workloads
  • Dv3 and Dsv3 series for intensive applications
  • Memory-optimized M-series VMs

Customers can start with what they need now and change configurations later as needs evolve. This removes overprovisioning often associated with on-premises servers.

Auto-Scaling and Load Balancing

Azure can automatically scale VMs up or down in response to usage spikes and dips. This ensures applications remain available while optimizing resource levels and costs. Load balancers evenly distribute network traffic for multi-instance applications.

Availability and Resiliency

In addition to flexible scaling, Azure VMs enable high availability through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with guaranteed uptime for infrastructure. For Linux VMs, Azure offers 99.95% uptime. For Windows VMs, Azure provides 99.9% uptime.

Azure infrastructure runs across global data centers to mitigate risks like hardware failure, environmental issues, and natural disasters. If an outage occurs in one region, automated VM replication and load balancing allow fast failover to another region with limited interruption. This helps sustain mission-critical systems.

Security

As a cloud platform designed for enterprises, Azure incorporates robust physical and digital security practices. Data centers require badge access with biometric screening. Azure encrypts information in transit and at rest by default to protect confidential data.

For VMs, Azure offers isolation and compartmentalization through virtual networks, subnets, access controls, and firewalls to limit exposure. Organizations can also implement third-party cybersecurity tools and integration with on-premises identity management systems.

Monitoring systems and analytics track VM performance and detect potential threats. If an attack occurs, Azure enables restoring VMs to earlier, safer states.

Cost and Management

In addition to technical advantages, Azure VMs provide significant cost and management benefits over traditional, on-premises servers.

Reduced Capital Expenses

With Azure, organizations only pay for the VM resources used rather than purchasing and maintaining their own hardware. There are no large, upfront capital costs for servers and data centers. This shifts spending to predictable operating expenses that scale alongside real usage.

Streamlined Administration

Azure handles infrastructure maintenance like cooling, power, and networking as well as keeping server firmware and software updated. This removes considerable management overhead for internal technology teams. Automated scripts can deploy and deprovision VMs for simplified administration.

Use Cases

Azure VMs suit various workloads with global availability, data residency, compliance, and hybrid connectivity features. Some examples include:

Application Development and Testing

  • Provision development and test servers faster without procurement delays
  • Scale up resources during active testing periods
  • Integrate with visual development tools like Visual Studio

Running Business Applications

  • Migrate legacy applications like SAP, Oracle, or SQL Server to Azure
  • Avoid large capital costs for replacing custom apps
  • Meet security, compliance, and availability goals more easily

Website Hosting

  • Host web apps developed with popular frameworks nearer to users
  • Manage traffic spikes more cost-effectively
  • Add or remove capacity faster than buying more physical servers

General Data Processing

  • Centralize data processing apps and resources
  • Improve accessibility for distributed teams
  • Leverage analytics, AI, and big data Azure services

Disaster Recovery

  • Replicate on-premises VMs to Azure for better resilience
  • Use Azure VMs during on-premises outages or downtime
  • Meet more demanding recovery objectives cost-effectively

Key Takeaways

  • Azure VMs provide flexible, scalable computing with adjustable configs
  • Built-in resiliency features like auto-scaling enhance uptime and availability
  • Security protections help defend against modern cyberthreats
  • Streamlined management offloads infrastructure maintenance
  • Hybrid connectivity integrates Azure VMs with existing systems
  • Azure enables shifting compute infrastructure costs from capital to operating expenses

Running VMs in Azure often proves more robust, secure, flexible and cost effective compared to traditional, on-premises servers. The wide range of compute solutions makes Azure a compelling IaaS platform for most workloads.

Conclusion

As cloud adoption accelerates, Azure Virtual Machines offer a proven infrastructure service for running Windows or Linux computing workloads. The ability to fully customize and control VMs with options for auto-scaling, load balancing, encryption, backup, and site recovery provides solutions tailored to organizational needs.

Whether maximizing app availability, containing infrastructure expenses, or serving customers globally, Azure VMs deliver strategic advantages over limited, static physical servers. The flexible nature of Azure computing infrastructure to grow, shrink, and optimize based on real usage unlocks new potential for companies as technology evolves.

Exploring how a complete cloud platform like Azure aligns to current and emerging business workloads and objectives enables more informed, forward-looking infrastructure decisions even with existing on-premises systems. With worldwide data centers, security practices built on decades of experience, and customer-centric design, Azure VMs should feature prominently in any multi-cloud strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the different types of virtual machines in Azure?
    Azure offers a wide range of VM sizes and types optimized for workloads like general computing, memory intensive applications, high performance compute, storage capacity, and GPU accelerated graphics rendering. Some common Azure VM series include B, Dv3, Dsv3, Eav4, Easv4, Ev4, Esv4, F, FS, M, and N.
  2. How do I create a VM in Azure?
    Users can create Azure VMs through the Azure portal UI, ARM templates, Terraform scripts, Azure PowerShell/CLI commands, and SDK integration with popular tools like Visual Studio, Ansible, and Jenkins.
  3. Does Azure provide technical support for VMs?
    Yes, Microsoft offers comprehensive technical support plans for Azure products including VMs. Options range from developer-focused to enterprise-grade 24/7 support and response times.
  4. How does scaling VMs on Azure work?
    Azure offers auto-scaling through VM scale sets which automatically increase or decrease VM instances based on parameters like CPU utilization to maintain performance and availability. Load balancers distribute network traffic evenly across scaled instances.
  5. How do I migrate my on-premises servers to Azure VMs?
    Azure Migrate provides integrated tools for assessing on-premises workloads and smoothly migrating compatible servers to Azure VMs including options for replication, backup, rightsizing, and data transfer.
  6. Is disaster recovery available for Azure VMs?
    Yes, Azure Site Recovery can orchestrate replicating on-premises VMs to Azure VMs providing failover capability with Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) as low as 2 hours and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) ranging from 15-30 minutes for mission-critical systems.
  7. How does Azure licensing work for VMs?
    Azure handles underlying infrastructure and platform licensing. Customers pay the Azure compute rates without separate licensing for Windows Server or SQL Server when running these on Azure VMs. However, customers need valid client access licenses and application licenses as appropriate.
  8. Are GPU optimized Azure VM options available?
    Yes, Azure offers sizes like the NC, NCv2, NCv3, ND, and NV optimized for GPU graphics rendering workloads, including NVIDIA GPU drivers and libraries. These suit intensive visualization applications.
  9. How can I estimate my Azure VM costs?
    The Azure Pricing Calculator provides detailed cost estimates for all Azure services based on preferences selected for performance, uptime, authentication, VM types, OS, licensing, networking, storage, geographic regions, and number of resources used.
  10. What VM backup options exist on Azure?
    Customers can enable backup through Azure native services like Azure Backup agent and VM snapshots or use third-party backup tools from vendors already integrated with the Azure platform. Backup capabilities typically include incremental, differential, and compression options.
  11. Does Azure offer VMs with high memory capacity?
    For memory optimized workloads, the M-series and Eav4-series VMs allow configuring up to 12TB memory capacity and running large in-memory apps like SAP HANA. Azure also allows migrating compatible on-premises servers to similar high memory Azure VMs.
  12. How can I improve VM security on Azure?
    Azure provides integrated tools like Azure Security Center, KeyVault, and role-based access controls to limit exposures, manage secrets, control permissions, and harden VM configurations. Monitoring systems watch for suspicious activity and can trigger automated responses. Customers can also leverage third-party security tools and integrate Azure VMs with existing identity management systems.
  13. What options exist for disaster recovery with Azure VMs?
    In addition to Azure Site Recovery for replicating on-premises VMs, Azure offers Zone Redundant Storage, Availability Zones, Availability Sets, and region pairs to enhance VM resilience against failures and outages through duplication across distinct locations as backup options with customizable RPO and RTO policies.
  14. Where can I find pricing details for Azure VM licenses?
    The Azure VM pricing page breaks down estimated costs per VM series and includes details on licensing or bring-your-own-license options. The pricing calculator allows modeling costs based on specific configurations.
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