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9 Inhibitors of Azure Success

I was recently asked to provide MSFT with a list of our top 4 “Azure Success Inhibitors”. After talking with my colleagues and compiling a list I of course sent it in. It will get discussed I’m sure, but I figured why not toss this list out for folks to see publically and heaven forbid, use the comments area of this blog to provide some feedback on. Just keep in mind that this is really just a “top 5” and is by no means an exhaustive list.

I’d like to publically thanks Rajesh, Samidip, Leigh, and Brian for contributing to the list below.

Startups & Commercial ISVs

Pricing – Azure is competitively priced only on regular Windows OS images. If we move to “high CPU”, “high memory”, or Linux based images, Amazon is more competitive. Challenge is getting them to not focus on just hosting costs but also would like to see more info on plans for non-Windows OS hosting.

Perception/Culture – Microsoft is still viewed as “the man” and as such, many start-ups still subscribe to the open source gospel of avoiding the established corporate approaches whenever possible.

Cost Predictability – more controls to help protect from cost overruns as well as easier to find/calculate fixed pricing options.

Transition/Confusion – don’t understand PaaS model well enough to see feel comfortable making a commitment. Prefer to keep doing things the way they always have. Concerns over pricing, feature needs, industry pressure, etc… In some cases, it’s about not wanting to walk away from existing infrastructure investments.


Trust – SLA’s aren’t good enough. The continued outages, while  minor still create questions. This also impacts security concerns (SQL Azure encryption please) which are greatly exaggerated the moment you start asking for forensic evidence in cause you need to audit a breach. In some cases, it’s just “I don’t trust MSFT to run my applications”. This is most visible when looking at regulatory/industry compliance (HIPAA, PCI, SOX, etc…).

Feature Parity – The differences in offerings (Server vs. Azure AppFabric, SQL Azure vs. SQL Server) create confusion. Means loss of control as well as reeducation of IT staff. Deployment model differences create challenges for SCM and monitoring of cloud solutions creates nightmares for established Dev Ops organizations.

Release Cadence – We discussed this on the DL earlier. I get many client that want to be able to test things before they get deployed to their environments and also control when they get “upgraded”. This relates directly to the #1 trust issue in that they just don’t trust that things will always work when upgrades happen. As complexity in services and solutions grows, they see this only getting harder to guarantee.

Persistent VM’s – SharePoint, a dedicated SQL Server box, Active Directory, etc…. Solutions they work with now that they would like to port. But since they can’t run them all in Azure currently, they’re stuck doing hybrid models which drags down the value add for the Windows Azure platform by complicating development efforts.


Value Added Services – additional SaaS offerings for email, virus scan, etc… Don’t force them to build it themselves or locate additional third party providers. Some of this could be met by a more viable app/service marketplace as long as it provides integrated billing with some assurances of provider/service quality from MSFT.

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