Cloud After COVID: How Azure Adoption Has Changed Since the Pandemic

Sreeraj Vasukuttan

Remember the first week of March 2020? In response to COVID-19, institutions around the globe switched operating models to avoid business disruption and to keep their employees safe. The transition was painful, but we discovered something as the dust settled. Many organizations realized that their existing investment in cloud-based technology was the key to business resiliency; it enabled them to adjust to the new reality faster than institutions who weren’t cloud equipped. 

Following that realization was an acceleration in cloud adoption across industries. Even though the world is starting to recover from the impact of COVID-19, cloud adoption is not slowing down. Perhaps we are witnessing a cloud awakening that is shaping the next big wave of public cloud adoption. But how have things changed in the last six months? Let’s look at the areas where Microsoft Azure solutions are growing the fastest. 

The Need for a Modern Work Infrastructure Drives Azure Adoption

Over the last six months, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams has grown from 33 million to 115 million (last reported). Teams has become a communication and collaboration hub of modern work. As part of Microsoft 365, Teams runs on top of services highly integrated with Azure. So as the Teams adoption is growing, the need for services, such as Azure Active Directory, Conditional Access, Azure Multi-Factor Authentication, and Azure Express Route, is also growing. These Azure technologies underpinning Microsoft 365 make your modern work infrastructure robust and secure. 

Desktop as a service in cloud is another sector that displayed consistent growth in demand since the beginning of the pandemic. Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure, Micrsoft’s DaaS on the cloud offering, has seen a massive spike in growth since March. Due to security and compliance reasons, a lot of companies were not set for a fully remote model when they needed to be. Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure helps solve this problem by giving organizations more control over apps and data, while allowing their employees to access those resources from their own devices working remotely. 

Related: Top Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure

An Uptick in IaaS and PaaS Workload and Migrations 

Since March, there has been a demand increase for both IaaS and PaaS services on Azure for almost all types of workloads. The need for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solutions in Azure has been at an all-time high. More and more organizations are taking advantage of Azure BCDR solutions, such as Azure Site Recovery and Azure Backup. Backing up data to a separate location was previously only available to enterprise companies. Now, even small businesses can back up their data to the cloud and recover it in case of in-house failures. 

We have seen an uptick in migrating on-premises infrastructure and apps to the cloud as well. Companies are moving their on-premises Microsoft infrastructure by taking advantage of Azure benefits such as Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reserved Instances and Windows Server/SQL Server Extended Security Updates. Using the cost advantage of Azure, companies would first move their Windows Server and SQL Servers to Azure and slowly start migrating their on-premises apps to the cloud. We’ve noticed the rate at which companies migrate their apps has increased. 

The Need for Cloud Managed Services Is Growing Too 

As cloud adoption accelerates, the demand for cloud managed services is also increasing. Many companies run a lean IT team. The need to monitor and protect your cloud environment can get in the way of innovation and growth. As my colleague, Stacy put in her post, “Proactive monitoring can help you prevent cybersecurity issues, minimize downtime or application delays, and keep track of usage and spending.” 

However, a lot of small to mid-size organizations do not have the additional skill sets required to effectively manage their cloud investments. Retraining employees for cloud skills to match the pace of cloud adoption is also not that easy either. Hiring specialized talent for managing cloud can be expensive, not to mention difficult because of the talent shortage. A Managed Services Provider can be the backup you need to keep an eye on things and can give your team the bandwidth to accomplish more. 

The acceleration of cloud adoption since the pandemic is also driving the demand for cloud managed services. Connection’s Azure Managed Services team can help you manage your Azure Investments. You can learn more about how Connection helps businesses with small IT teams minimize the risk of migrating to the cloud and manage their Azure environment in our case study.

Sreeraj Vasukuttan is a Technical Marketing Manager at Connection with a passion for technology and marketing. He enjoys writing about cloud, security, and end-user compute. In his free time, he loves watching films, cooking, and traveling with his family.