Host your servers, your applications, and
data in Microsoft Cloud datacenters.

  • Windows Server and CALS included in price
  • Pay for only what you use in compute hours and data storage
  • Increase or decrease power of the system easily at any time
  • Increase server count during business hours for higher usage, and then decrease server count outside business hours upon lower usage.
  • Choose different levels of data replication: have your data replicated locally our at a datacenter region 500 miles away.
  • No onsite backup and disaster recovery system needed
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Example Servers:

Why Small Businesses Should Care About Moving Their Servers to Microsoft

imageofwayneIf you are a company that does not have physical servers at your office but want to move on from having a second rate email system and an ad-hoc document management system—great! I’d direct you to Microsoft Office 365 for your email and document management. These days, if you can avoid having physical servers, your business is better off.

If you are a company with an investment in an on-premise server system, no worries! What I would recommend is that when it comes time to replace those servers, that you consider looking at what it would cost to move your applications and data to virtual servers hosted in Microsoft’s data center, known as Microsoft Azure.

Azure is a very sophisticated system with tons of functionality that is very customizable for a company looking to move their IT workloads to the Cloud. The options are actually nearly overwhelming when you first look at them.

Here at Xerillion, we know which ones matters to our clients, and below I’m going to go over why Azure is a great place to move your servers.

No Hardware
You no longer have to worry about server hardware. Typically if there is anything type of fault in a client’s computer network that we are stressing about, it some type of hardware failure. It rarely is the software or the data—usually the hardware...a failed hard drive, a failed power supply, ect. Also, ensuring the hardware is under manufacturer support is critical, and those warranties get pricy the older the hardware gets—often around $800/server after the 3rd year of its lifecycle. If you don’t have a server under manufacture warranty—and you think server warranties are wasted money—just wait until your server has a blow out Friday morning, and your IT company tells you that since our server is not under warranty, they have to go in the “second class citizen” queue for server, wait to speak to someone, be told that since we are not under warranty, to speak with an engineer same day will be $800, before you even know what the replacement part will cost, or if they can even supply you with a part. I digress, the main point here is that manufacturer warranties are critical for servers, and in the land of Azure—we don’t deal with them. Microsoft handles the hardware for us. We just put our virtual servers up there, our data and our applications.

Windows Server Software Licenses and Client Access Licenses are Included
You no longer have to maintain licenses of Windows Server, or Windows Server Client licenses—those are included. That is a great bargin since building a single server with 20 users accessing it, can run nearly $2,000 by itself. As long as you have your subscription, you are license compliant.

Why Microsoft Azure Matters to Small Businesses

High Availability is Cheap
Have you ever gotten a quote on a high availability server cluster before? They are start at nearly $100,000 if you want to do it right, and its like owning a jet. It is one thing if you can budget the capital outlay, it is another if you can afford the operating budget to maintain, care and nurture that monster, let’s say, $1,000/month with reliance on expensive IT engineers.

But, nonetheless, you need that application highly available and you need to know that part of the datacenter at Microsoft goes down, your application will minimal to no downtime.

With Microsoft Azure High Availability Sets, Azure replicates your server virtual machines across 3 “fault zones” in the data center. So, if the server rack holding your virtual server goes down, your virtual server will automatically be brought up live on another server rack. The cost—you pay only for the data storage of the replicated data, you do not have to pay for having a second virtual server running live as a hot-standby. In other words—the cost to you is peanuts compared to trying to replicate something like this at your own office.

Scale Sets
As a guy who has setup plenty of servers in my time, we typically spec out a server for a 5 year lifespan. So, we way-overpower the server specs to ensure the server can support our client’s growth of data and applications over a 5 year lifespan. This usually results in a server with dual Xeon 6-core processors, nearly 32-96GB of memory, two SAS 10K or 15K drive sets—one for the operating system, and one for the data. We usually have to double up on drives for redundancy, and have a “hot spare” drive that is unused in most cases, but we need it available if a hard drive does fail—because if two drives fail, that server is going down.

Oh, yes and on top of that, we need proper backup and disaster recovery system.

Anyway, we build in all of this power, and then we run the server 24x7x365—because that what we do with servers. So, we provide, and pay for, server resources that run at the same power from 8am to 5pm when we have 20 people on the system, as we do from 5pm to 12am when we might have 1 person on the system, and yet again from 12am to 5am when we likely have nobody on the system.

In Azure, we can increase our server resources, or “scale out” to meet the demand of all 20 people during business hours, then “scale in” our server resources —and save money!—when there are only a few people needed access to the system. Extend that further, if you know nobody is going to be on your system from say 1am to 5am each day, you can opt to turn them off and return the money back to other parts of your company.

Azure servers we install for our clients run between 10 cents to 60 cents per hour, so let’s just call it 30 cents an hour average.

Run 2 servers 24x7 in a month—your bill, $446

Run 2 servers during business hours —your bill, $150

And of course, there are all kinds of variations in between. The bottom line—you only pay for what you need when you need it.

No Disaster Recovery System Needed

We sell and integrate a really great backup and disaster recovery system for our clients that have on-premise server systems. I believe in it thoroughly and it has come through for us many times.

The interesting thing in Azure, is that if all a client’s servers in Azure, we don’t need to quote a disaster recovery system.

Often backup and disaster recovery systems we install range from $2,000—$5,000 for the appliance, another $1,000—$2,000 to install it, and the storage costs range from $200—$600+/month for offsite storage.

This is a moot point if your systems are in Azure. We don’t have to put this in a quote for you, and you don’t have to pay for it.

In Azure, Azure has its own backup and disaster recovery system, which we can use to restore files directly on the server, or we can opt to bring up an entire copy for your server if needed. The cost? Just the data storage, which is cheap. The backup system comes free with your Azure subscription.

Don’t Get me Wrong Here…..
I’m not anti-server, and even in 2016 as I’m writing this, at least 75% of our clients have physical servers onsite. Many of our clients have big investments in applications that work really well in their business and provide great value in their business operations. What I’m saying though is this—when it comes time to replace your existing servers, instead of spending $15,000—$30,000 on new hardware, plus the ongoing care and maintenance of those servers—let’s call that $500—$1,000/month plus the BDR system of $500/month, so $1500/month in total. Let’s look at the price to put your system in Azure and never have to worry about server hardware or Windows Server licensing again.

Wondering what happens if your servers are all in the Cloud and your Internet goes down?
Good question, and I get asked that a lot.

At Xerillion we have no server anymore. We have our email and documents in Office 365. We do run Quickbooks and our quoting application on two servers in Microsoft Azure, which we run from 6am to 6pm business days as that is the only time they are needed.

We have a very good 50Mb fiber Internet circuit that seems to never go down, though we do have a Comcast backup Internet connection as well, that, really, hardly gets used.

We have a smart firewall that knows how to “failover” and “failback” should our primary Internet connection go down.

I used to always tell clients—if you can swing it always get a backup Internet connection.

These days though, if they are primarily in the Cloud, my feeling is, if you have a good fiber Internet circuit from a reputable company, the likelihood of that going down for any meaningful amount of time is pretty unlikely. If a backup Internet connection is cheap, as in $200/month or less, AND you have a substantial amount of people at that office location, Ok, I’m in with a backup Internet connection.

But if you are a services company with people often in the field, traveling, and not a heavy office presnse, I don’t think you need a backup Internet connection. If your Internet really goes down for an extended time, you can go to Starbucks, Panera, or just look for an xfinitywifi connecti—they are all over these days!!! Or just work from home. Put the extra $1,200—$2,400/year you would have spent on a backup Internet connection towards a few Microsoft Surface Pro 4’s…...but that is another story.

Wayne signature

Wayne Chapin