Cloud Insights Based on Microsoft’s Most Recent Earnings

Rarely do I take the opportunity to reflect on a technology provider’s earning call. In fact, I do not think I have ever done so. Rather, I focus my energy and thoughts on evaluating the technology a company provides and its merit and value. Today I deviate somewhat from my traditional stance. Some of the highlights from Microsoft’s FY2021 Q2 earnings provide organizations insights on next steps they should take in the cloud.

The Stats

Everyone loves statistics so I will look at those first. Microsoft shared some notable ones in the earnings it announced earlier this week. Consider:

  • Microsoft announced seven new datacenter regions. It will build these in Asia, Europe, and Latin America along with adding support for Top Secret classified workloads in the US.
  • Power Platform crossed 11 million monthly active users. Power Platform equips organizations to build applications, automate processes, create virtual agents, and analyze data. Power Platform’s 11 million monthly active users represent a 95 percent year over year increase.
  • Enterprise use of Teams continues to expand. 117 organizations have more than 100,000 Teams users. Over 2,700 organizations have more than 10,000 users.
  • Paid Office 365 commercial seats increased 15 percent year over year. Microsoft finds many organizations that take advantage of its free trial offers turn into paying customers.

Cloud Insights

The roadmap shared and recent milestones achieved by Microsoft provide organizations insight as how to best proceed in the cloud.

First, organizations should carefully consider the cloud region or regions in which they host their applications and data.

Azure N America Regions January 2021
Source: Microsoft

Microsoft has made it much easier to get started hosting applications and data in its Azure cloud. The challenge for many then becomes, “In which cloud region should they host their applications and data?
Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or any of the many cloud providers all present a similar dilemma. They each offer multiple regions in which organizations may host their applications and data. For example, currently in North America, Azure makes more than 10 regions available in which organizations may host their applications and data.
While most organizations choose the cloud region geographically closest to them, they may want to consider other regions. For instance, other regions may charge less for the services an organization needs. Alternatively, organizations may want to use regions outside where they operate to protect them from natural disasters in their area.

Second, automate, automate, automate.

Moving applications and data to the cloud largely means the end of traditional infrastructure tasks. Running network cables, plugging in new servers and storage, and swapping out hard drives are so last decade. Now the real work of monitoring, automating, and optimizing the cloud environment begins.
This helps explain, in part, the jump in the number of Microsoft Power Platform users. Power Platform consists of four components, Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents. Of these four, individuals responsible for automating and optimizing operations in Microsoft Azure may find Power Apps a useful tool. It also helps that Microsoft’s partner Udacity.com currently offers a free programming course for Power Platform.

Third, remember to back up your data in the cloud.

Microsoft experienced a surge in the number of Teams users in 2020 largely driven by the current pandemic. This growth coupled with the continuing increase in the number of Office 365 users minimally translates into organizations storing more data in the cloud.
Here’s where organizations should take heed. They ultimately retain responsibility for the data they store in the cloud, including data created and stored within Office 365. While Microsoft assumes responsibility for the availability and maintenance of the Office 365 applications, organization retain responsibility for their data. Microsoft’s service agreement makes this plain.
Perhaps one of the best ways to do so is to use SaaS backup services. DCIG will be revealing its TOP 5 SaaS backup solutions for Office 365 next week so stay tuned.

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