I recently signed up for a “free” month trial of Widows Azure. In return for signing up for an “outlook.com” account and providing your credit card information(for a $1 charge and future purchases) you receive $200 worth of credits for 30 days. Info Here
From the systems side of things, and having managed and managing physical hardware throughout my IT career, Microsoft gives the entry level guy a chance to use the same technology without worrying about the hardware…..for a very nice chunk of change. Of course you are also paying for Electricity, ISP’s, the team who manages the datacenter(s), etc… -> Availability.
From a business perspective, this availability is worth the cost. Does TC workout to be better? I would say it depends on what you need as a business. Microsoft would, of course, give a resilient YES. I will give you an example, which works for everything you encounter in life. Yes, everything…..
Balance….a.k.a “The Hybrid” theory. Use your own hardware and people for low to medium availability systems and items that you feel need to be “on-premise” or “in-house”. Then, use a 3-rd Party Cloud Provider, such as Windows Azure, for your high-priority systems. The ones that you will lose more $$$ than you can afford to if downtime occurs.
Of course, I would recommend every business to evaluate it’s systems and their worth to the company. Evaluate how much money you would lose for example if that “Customer Database System” was down for a day. Then, before you do anything, make sure you have backups…..TBC