Microsoft showed off five new Azure customers at an event in New York on Wednesday, more evidence that companies born long before cloud computing became fashionable are modernizing their tech infrastructure.
The companies — UBS, Maersk, Hershey, Fruit of the Loom, and Geico — are all using Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure in different ways, but it appears they are all taking a hybrid approach to their infrastructure rather than going all-in on cloud computing.
UBS used Azure to build a risk-management system on Azure that improved calculation times by 100 percent and saved 40 percent in costs, and said it plans to move more applications to Azure over time. Hershey is adding Azure to a cloud computing strategy that also includes Amazon Web Services, using Microsoft’s machine-learning technology to analyze data captured by sensors.
In the early days of cloud computing, vendors encouraged their customers to put all their workloads in the cloud, and since many of those early customers were startups with little or no existing infrastructure, it worked. Older companies, however, are hesitant about shaking up their systems — even when acknowledging the benefits of the cloud — because CIOs tend to stay employed when things don’t break.
So cloud vendors like Azure are now emphasizing this kind of gradual move into the cloud, showing that you can run important parts of your business on the cloud and take advantage of the many benefits without slogging through a complete multiyear migration of a legacy system to a modern one. As Microsoft chases AWS, the battle for these types of customers will intensify, and we’ll be sure to ask Microsoft’s Scott Guthrie about this trend at the first GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit this June in Seattle.