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How Microsoft Azure ticks the box for public, private cloud demands — Olokodana

By Prince Osuagwu

Software giants, Microsoft, is claiming   a bragging right to trusted public cloud riding on its Azure cloud package which it said is capable of instantly turning  users’ ideas into solutions faster.

It also claims to be the only cloud services provider to debut with a cloud package with four distinct requirements for cloud users to be comfortable with a safer data.

The global software maker says its Azure package ticks four important boxes of productive, hybrid, intelligent and trusted business models for any client.

Productive: The Azure cloud solution is said to have more than 100 services with great end-to-end tools to make a user successful.

Hybrid: It is developed and deployed wherever the user wants, being the only consistent hybrid cloud in the market, with ability to extend Azure on-premises using Azure Stack.

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Intelligent: It creates intelligent apps using powerful data and Artificial Intelligence, AI services.

Trusted, for them, means that having  over 95 per cent of Fortune 500 businesses, startups, governments, running on the Microsoft Cloud today is a testimony that on Azure, a user can be sure of his data security and privacy among others.

Not taking anything on face value, Hi-Tech recently engaged the company’s Business Lead, Intelligent Cloud, Middle East and Africa-Emerging markets, Mr Wale Olokodana to get more insight on what Azure does differently for cloud users…

There’s this bragging right Microsoft seems to be claiming on public cloud services…

Where we are today in the world is really about transformation. Technology is progressive and businesses are rethinking how to be more competitive in the ever increasing global world.

The global market place now is that people can develop solutions here in Nigeria and sell it anywhere in the world and what that has enabled is what we call the era of digital technology.

Digital technology is about two things: Making infrastructure and services available in the cloud and the progressiveness of data.

So in this digital transformation age, the platform that allows one to transform his competitive edge is the one he should work with. It means a platform that will help you to get your products and solutions to market faster using the tools and services that you are most comfortable with; it must be hybrid, it must be intelligent, allowing you to transform intelligently, infusing artificial intelligence, things like machine learning into the solutions and also such platform must be trusted to house your plans, transparency, privacy, and security. Without these four strengths, cloud service is meaningless.

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We claim the bragging right to having an Azure cloud platform that checks all four responsibilities.

You sound like Azure is only fit for mega organisations?

Microsoft Azure is actually a cloud platform for all comers whether you are start-up, big enterprise, small and medium business. Like I explained, it is cloud platform that is productive and hybrid, intelligent and trusted. These are four things that differentiate Azure from the rest.

Microsoft through Azure stack brings public cloud to users data centres so they can run public cloud light services inside their own data centres and connect seamlessly to our data centre out there. That is the big differentiator in the Nigerian market. It helps them to own the solution and be able to do more when need be.

There are Microsoft licensed cloud partners, is your solution not in direct competition with theirs?

No. It is actually complementary. Everybody has a skill to sell. We have our local service providers, they use our technology but they are serving at a different scale compared to what we are serving. The services we provide are complementary but sometimes differ when you think about us providing platform as a service.

First of all, it is important to understand the concept of hyper skilled cloud. It is cloud services in 54 different regions around the world offering different types of services. Cloud services differ, you have cloud platform as a service, software as a service; so it differentiates from what the service providers here provide.

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We provide infrastructural services, things around artificial intelligence; public cloud that democratises artificial intelligence using the power of hyper skill. Hyper skill means it is in many locations but connected together in different regions.

What in Azure’s DNA speaks to the complexities of the emerging markets?

When you think about Azure, think about a public cloud that provides platform for people to build solutions on. It enables even a start-up in Nigeria to build a solution based on its own local needs.

Users can, upon local market demands, build solutions from the platform to solve their needs, and the global stature of the platform will not be distorted.

Yet, in terms of purchase too, there is localisation. Customers can purchase through our partners , through our cloud solution providers and pay in naira denomination .

Through our CSP programme, we are able to do some level of localisation to acquisition of this platform. In the African market today, you have local solutions, some made in Nigeria, that are expanding across the world. Imagine the amount of the investment Azure has to make to empower infrastructure and allow people build on it, that is the power of public cloud.

If an individual user or cloud service provider has to buy own server, it would cost so much and worse still, if it doesn’t work, that money is gone down the drain. That is cost saving power  we brought to the local market and even democratised up to the point that you can make a local purchase through our several partners and pay in local currency.

Impact of Azure on Small business?

Azure helps the small businesses accelerate transformation by providing the capabilities and bringing it down to the local market. We have also raised awareness that one can accelerate his transformation, infuse intelligence into applications, reduce cost and build scalable global applications by using the power of computing.

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Secondly, the Azure style ensures they can run hybrid net. Everything doesn’t have to stay inside the Azure.

We have also launched Azure High Converge Infrastructure HCI making sure that people can actually build and buy the hardware once Azure services put it in their data centre, build and run visualisation and have the same consistent experience as though they were using the Azure.

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