The Microsoft Office 365 cloud offering has a well-known value proposition for small and mid-sized firms, but there’s a compelling value proposition for enterprise firms as well. Office365 provides improved access to information at a lower cost compared to software hosted in an enterprise firm’s datacenter. This is accomplished through the geo-redundancy of Microsoft’s Global Foundation Services.
Global Foundation Services is the platform for running all 200 Microsoft cloud services, such as Office 365, Azure, Bing, Hotmail, and X-Box Live. Microsoft datacenters have been deployed to over 30 points of presence globally on 5 continents. The backbone for the Global Foundation Services is a global network, established by partnering with over 1800 ISP’s worldwide to provide one of the top three most connected networks in the world.
Enterprise firms need real-time communication and collaboration with their worldwide employees, partners, and customers. However, all too often we see the scenario where an employee in Michigan shares a document with an employee in Rio de Janeiro by uploading the document to a datacenter in Chicago. The employee in Rio de Janeiro must access the datacenter all the way in Chicago to read the document; this can be a frustrating or unreliable user experience due to issues with network latency and availability.
Office 365 offers a better solution by replicating customer data across datacenters worldwide – multiple copies of data are stored in multiple locations. This means that the employee in Rio de Janeiro needs to reach a datacenter only as far away as Sao Paulo to open the document. While it’s true that some enterprise firms build real-time content replication between their own datacenters worldwide, this is an expensive undertaking that cannot compete with Office 365 licensing costs.
Enterprise firms also require higher availability because they have more users working in more time zones, and Office 365 offers a better high-availability solution than the traditional enterprise model. The traditional model is active/passive, meaning there is one set of hardware in constant use and another set of hardware sitting idle in case of a failover. Office 365 provides a more efficient model with multiple active nodes, again through geo-redundancy. This means that if your nearest datacenter fails, you can be redirected to the next-nearest datacenter within seconds. In the active/passive model, it can take hours to failover to idle hardware. The Office 365 model essentially replaces hardware with software, which is a contributing factor to its low price point.
Any company with a global reach, including employees, customers, partners, and vendors can benefit from the geo-redundant infrastructure of Office 365. If your organization is interested in learning more about global offerings from Microsoft or services to enhance the licenses you already own, give us a call. We’re happy to help you with local, regional and global needs.