Delivering innovation at scale: The 3 pillars of successful Azure cloud operations

Around the world, organizations of all sizes rely on Microsoft Azure to bring modern services online—and deliver innovation at scale. Azure provides the flexibility to roll out cloud-based applications at breakneck speed. But running these applications and services in Azure can add complexity for already overworked IT teams, tasked with boosting performance and reducing costs in ever-evolving cloud environments.

To fulfill the promise of Azure deployments—without creating more chaos and out-of-control costs—an efficient cloud infrastructure is more important than ever. But what’s the best way to build efficiency and start streamlining operations?

With an enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure optimization solution, cloud operations (CloudOps) teams are better equipped to maximize business performance. In this blog, you’ll learn about the three pillars for building operational efficiency and driving success with Azure.


The Azure advantage

Microsoft Azure is increasingly popular for all types of cloud deployments, which makes perfect sense. Azure provides the foundation for modern enterprises to thrive, offering seamless scalability and on-premises compatibility to meet business needs. Yet, to harness its full potential, organizations must focus on building an infrastructure that not only supports their current needs but also sets the stage for future growth.


Navigating cloud complexity

Success in the cloud requires the right strategy, planning, and skillsets. However, many organizations often struggle to take full advantage of Azure’s benefits, especially as their environment grows more complex. The challenges in deploying, managing, and scaling Azure cloud infrastructure can include:

  • Skills gaps: Moving from on-premises to cloud infrastructure involves a whole different skillset. Best practices in cloud security, infrastructure design, and cost optimization are just a few of the skills in high demand. But the market for acquiring skilled cloud specialists and DevOps professionals is more competitive than ever. And the costs of “upskilling” existing staff can be prohibitive.
  • Time constraints: Managing the daily operations of cloud infrastructure is an ongoing burden, especially if staff are wasting time on low-level, manual tasks. As the cloud footprint begins to scale, even experienced teams have less time to meet the demands of the business—often leading to internal dissatisfaction and employee burnout.
  • Lack of visibility: To be effective, CloudOps teams need to clearly understand what services are in use and how they are being consumed enterprise-wide. The cloud gives engineers the freedom to spin up VMs and deploy new services, sometimes numbering in the thousands. But the impact on performance—or on the cloud budget—often isn’t known until much later. Native cloud management tools rarely provide enough visibility for operations teams to stay ahead of the sprawl.
  • Control of rising costs: Cloud expenses are challenging to keep at a predictable minimum, particularly when organizations want to maximize the benefits of cloud. Inefficient resource utilization and budget allocation, as well as ineffective management of Azure resources, can drive up costs. Actionable visibility and insights are essential for identifying ways to streamline consumption and control costs for the long term.


Unleashing innovation: The 3 pillars of success with Azure

Although cloud challenges can be all too common, here are three pillars for getting the most value from your Azure investment.


Pillar 1: Actionable visibility

Many organizations focus on cloud monitoring tools that track costs or usage alone. This leads to a point-in time, siloed view of resources. An enterprise-grade cloud optimization solution, backed by artificial intelligence (AI)- and machine learning (ML)-driven automation, can deliver actionable visibility that’s more comprehensive than native tools alone. It empowers CloudOps teams to efficiently manage all aspects of their cloud ecosystem.

How can you achieve this? Move beyond traditional monitoring tools towards solutions that deliver actionable visibility that connects performance, cost, usage, and reliability. Key capabilities of a potential solution include:

  • Advanced visualization: The right solution will allow CloudOps teams to understand cloud usage and costs on a granular level (e.g., by teams, business units, or machine types), so they can efficiently manage performance and availability.
  • Data-driven insights: Real-time analysis of the cloud infrastructure helps predict workload demands, so teams can make more informed decisions in a timely manner.
  • Resource and service intelligence: Look for a solution that provides a comprehensive at-a-glance view of the entire cloud environment, so taking inventory no longer requires toggling through multiple dashboards.


Pillar 2: Continuous infrastructure and cost optimization

Building an efficient cloud infrastructure is not just about cost-cutting; it’s about optimizing infrastructure for peak performance as well as for cost control. Teams need to ensure the reliability of their infrastructure while also giving engineers the power they need to innovate at speed—without worrying about business impact.

How can you achieve this? Embrace tools and practices that continuously optimize costs, resources, and processes, ensuring that the Azure environment serves as a catalyst for innovation rather than a financial burden. Key capabilities of a potential solution include:

  • Cost optimization: Consider tools that continuously optimize resources such as VMs and Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) clusters with a cost-efficient balance of resource types that support application performance and reliability.
  • Resource optimization: The right solution should enable operations teams to automatically leverage the ideal balance of instance types and discounted purchase options (on-demand, reserved, or spot resources) with enterprise-grade availability SLAs.
  • Process optimization: Optimization driven by intelligent automation can drastically reduce the time that CloudOps teams have to spend on high-effort, point-in-time cost-cutting initiatives.


Pillar 3: Intelligent automation

AI/ML-driven automation is ideal for addressing a gap in technology skillsets. By replacing manual configuration processes with cloud automation, more cloud resources can be managed by fewer people. And organizations can take advantage of the continuous optimization needed to operate more efficiently, flexibly, and cost-effectively on Azure.

How can you achieve this? Maximize efficiency by effortlessly scaling infrastructure with AI/ML-driven automation based on real-time analysis of VMs and container workload capacity, performance, availability requirements, and policies. Key capabilities of a potential solution include:

  • Workload automation: With hands-free infrastructure management, CloudOps teams can spend less time managing VMs and clusters—enabling better team utilization.
  • Platform automation: Automation of scaling and workload placement reduces operational complexity. Plus, it helps ensure resource efficiency by balancing performance, availability, and costs for containers and Kubernetes.
  • Infrastructure automation: Configurable automation of infrastructure provisioning frees up teams to add more value in platform development and speeds application delivery to line-of-business users.
  • Time-saving integrations: Enterprise-grade solutions should integrate with Azure-native tooling as well as open-source tools to deliver continuous resource and cost optimization.


Seize the opportunity to do more with Azure

Building an efficient cloud infrastructure is not a “one-and-done” activity. To enable innovation at scale, organizations must tackle the ongoing challenges of operating in the cloud. The right enterprise-grade solution can help.

With advanced visualization, continuous optimization, and intelligent automation, CloudOps teams can squeeze every last drop of business value out of every Azure investment—and drive competitive advantage in the marketplace.

To learn how to elevate success with Azure, read our guide Azure CloudOps: How to drive operational efficiency and application performance.

Explore how automation can help drive continuous optimization. Visit our interactive Azure CloudOps hub.