SharePoint on Azure (IaaS)
The diagram indicates that Microsoft hosts the complete infrastructure (server, storage, network and administrative services) on your behalf in Azure – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). SharePoint on Azure is online. This means that you can have global access to your SharePoint resources if you so choose. But the deployed VMs can be used as local servers, unlike in SharePoint Online, which does not give you direct access to the servers. You have complete administrative access to virtual machines in Azure.
No procurement costs (for HW)
The costs for necessary hardware (servers) are precisely zero, as the infrastructure and required services are made available in Azure. What’s more, Visual Studio subscribers have the added advantage of using development and test licenses and hence of cutting their software licensing costs.
You only pay for what you actually use. Billing mostly takes place per minute of deployed resources – apart from fixed IP addresses or the storage space required for virtual machines. This enables high scalability of resources, for instance in stress or load testing, or to include additional servers that are disabled again at the end of the tests. This cuts the costs of ongoing operations.
Scalability and availability
SharePoint infrastructure can be up and running at the drop of a hat. As we have seen, the system allows the configuration of test and even development environments. Horizontal and vertical scaling is possible for production deployment. Servers with the same configuration can be pooled as resource groups, facilitating horizontal scaling and also ensuring high availability of services configured on the servers themselves.
The process of authenticating your customers and employees with Azure AD is simple and uncomplicated, therefore allowing easy access to the selected SharePoint in Azure contents.
You have the option of using predefined solution templates. A solution template is like a master copy that can be loaded to provide a certain system in Azure.
Equally, you can quickly configure individual SharePoint servers and any other ones you may need – for instance, SQL servers and Windows servers (with Active Directory) – yourself or connect the SharePoint server with your local servers. This would produce a possibly hybrid scenario, in which you host the Active Directory (Windows server) or critical company data (SQL server) in a local environment while outsourcing the host function for SharePoint in Azure.