comparing Microsoft Azure and Sharepoint is like comparing Apples and Oranges

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 post to help clarify that these two services are not in direct competition.

What is Microsoft Azure?

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 server based software,  you will need a Windows Server. Either Cloud or “on premises”.

What is Microsoft SharePoint?

Azure 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 OneDrive for Business for file sharing of your company data.). It can store documents for your team to access. It can house checklists for your team to work on. An advanced SharePoint programmer can create advanced customized workflows for your business using SharePoint which you can use to track leads, sales, orders, or internal projects. It is very robust in what it does, but it doesn’t run regular Windows Software. For that, you need a server.  Azure is an option for running a virtual server in the cloud.

For server setup and support in Toronto, speak to our team today. We have been offering small business IT solutions since 2003.