What’s The Difference Between Microsoft Azure and SharePoint?

What is Microsoft Azure? What is Microsoft SharePoint?

If you’re not an IT professional, navigating IT products or services can be mind boggling.  We’re always happy to answer questions and help clients better understand the options available to them.

Recently, a new client asked a great question.  She wanted to better understand why a business might need Microsoft Azure versus Microsoft SharePoint.  We figure others out there may be confused, so we’re sharing this great question and our answer, shown below.

Apples & Oranges

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Microsoft Azure is a virtual private cloud. It is like having your own private datacenter, which is run by Microsoft. The difference is that none of the hardware costs or hardware maintenance rests on your shoulders. It is run on clusters of redundant servers that Microsoft logically slices up into smaller chunks that you can “rent”.

This way you don’t have any of the upfront cost of purchasing servers or any of the maintenance costs associated with server ownership. The servers are “virtual”. You own the data on them and can export the entire virtual server if you ever find that you don’t want to run your servers in the cloud any longer (although that is highly unlikely).

You still need Windows Servers to run all of your other applications (Fastcompany, Workshare, Accpac, Simply Accounting, etc.. ) For as long as you need to run those soft wares, you will need a Windows Server. Either Cloud or “on premises”.

This cannot be compared to SharePoint. They are apples and oranges. SharePoint is a customizable web application that can integrate with various other Microsoft services (like Exchange server for Outlook integration of your company data, and SkyDrive Pro for file sharing of your company data.). It is very robust in what it does, but it doesn’t run regular Windows Software. For that, you need a server, and so Azure is an option.

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