Microsoft Azure for The AEC World – Why You Need It!

June 28, 2017



So, you’ve probably heard about Microsoft Azure, most folks have in this day and age, but you’re not really sure what it is and why it should matter to you? Well, as a specialist in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry here at ZenTek, I can tell you that –with no exceptions- Azure is a product you need.


Let’s start with what Azure is. Every time I have a conversation about it, I get responses like: “Oh, yea – that’s for programmers and software developers to host their code, right?”  I then have to explain that while that may be technically correct, that’s really a very small part of what Azure does and it’s certainly not the part anyone in AEC cares about! Azure is a cloud-based, intelligent, storage portal with advanced security, coupled with extremely low storage and access fees. It has dozens of applications (and more being added every day) but there are three tools in Azure that make it vitally important to design firms.


  1. Cloud-Based Data Backups: Whether your looking to do full system snapshots, or basic file/folder restoration, you can eliminate tapes, drives, software and server costs from your annual budget. You can also dramatically decrease your IT staff’s workload by shifting to Azure Backup. Let’s put this into perspective. I recently did an Azure Backup install for a small AEC firm that had one physical server and was backing up around 500GB of data weekly, to tape. Their in-house estimate of costs for the backup systems, plus labor, was about $9,000/year. Not an unreasonable price, really. With Azure Backup though, I brought total costs down to under $60/month. How’s that for savings? Not only that, but Azure added reliability and security they could have never afforded on their own.

  2. Disaster Recovery (DR): What happens to your profits when your server goes down? How much time has elapsed since your last backup, and how much time will it take to restore data to your local servers? What if you lose power for a week, or more? Wouldn’t it be great if the moment something bad happened, your staff were immediately shunted over to a duplicate server, in the cloud, that was being updated with your work every few minutes and had guaranteed power and access no matter what? This is the type of system every AEC firm dreams of but just can’t afford to implement on their own. With Azure Disaster Recovery, I put a DR system for their server in place, with secondary replication to (3) data centers and an Azure Virtual Machine, for under $150/month.

  3. Virtual Servers: Physical servers are expensive, problematic, and have a life span of 2-3 years at best. Sure, you can spin up Virtual Machines (VM) on top of them to expand your server setup, but you need to buy expensive hardware to do that and spend a ton more securing, setting up, and maintaining them. Industry averages put the annual costs of physical servers around $17,000.00 per server/year once you factor in power, cooling, and IT support time for them. Shift to an Azure Virtual Server and you can do all your file hosting in the most secure facilities in the world. Not only that, but you’ll never need to buy another server again. Need more space/RAM/processing power? A simple call to ZenTek and we can up those parameters on your server. Need to spin up more servers? We can have it up in a matter of hours. All that, and the Virtual Servers can be simply tied to the Azure DR and Backup systems as well. It’s also far cheaper – the most expensive Azure Virtual Servers (8 cores/28 GB RAM) which is way more than most AEC folks will ever need, still cost less than ½ of the physical server structure you’re using today.


Azure encrypts all your data before it ever leaves your office, using a key that only you have, and places it in a guaranteed uptime data center, with a financially backed SLA. It replicates your data across multiple other data centers – either globally or regionally, your choice! It’s a time and money saver of epic proportions, and it’s a must have for AEC firms who work with the lowest profit margins of any professional service industry in the world. Why not just email ZenTek today to see how we can help you get your firm onto the most secure platform in history, at far less than you’re paying today?


Jim C.

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