Offloading an on premises server onto Azure...?

We mulling over migrating an on premises server to Azure for a current customer.  I've provided a scenario in hopes that someone can provide some insight and answers in order to assist us with our decision to propose Azure as a possible solution.

(Example)  A customer of mine has an on premise server running Windows 2012 R2 with Active Directory used for authentication from their client computers.  They also use the same server for File Sharing, and running and accessing 3 LBA Line of Business Applications of which the client computers access on the server via shared drives.  The current on premises server has a total capacity of 1TB with redundancy.
Can said customer use Azure to run and operate their Windows 2012 R2 server AND access and use their LBA Line of Business Applications to work JUST AS IF THEY WERE WORKING FROM A LOCAL SERVER?
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AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Apps or LBA also moving to Azure cloud?
eitconsultingAuthor Commented:
AmitIT ArchitectCommented:
Any reason to move to Azure. Need to understand the requirement first.
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Cliff GaliherCommented:
It will not be just like a local server. First, there is simply the raw differences in speed and latency. Even the fastest WAN links can't compare to LAN. Some applications won't care, others may. But saying it'd be "just like a local server" will never be technically accurate.

With the right setup, it can be made to operate just like any server colocated in an offsite datacenter. The "azure" magic would be transparent. Whether that is "good enough" is app end usage specific.
eitconsultingAuthor Commented:
Upon offloading the server into the Azure cloud, does Microsoft also offer to maintain every aspect of the server (including the Line of Business software programs specific to the customer's daily needs (ie.. Quickbooks, litigation software, dental software, etc..)) as if a local IT person were managing and maintaining the server locally?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Nope. With an azure VM, they don't even manage the OS. Patching and configuration is still all up to the customer.

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eitconsultingAuthor Commented:
Thank you.  Good to know.  Perhaps the following is a topic for a different question but I'm going to ask since you appear knowledgeable about the Azure topic.  What is your opinion about future OS's and Tech support?  Do you see everything/OS's going to a subscription basis particularly Microsoft's OS's and therefore, requiring customers store more and more data in the cloud and ultimately rely more and more on the cloud?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
I don't see Microsoft going to a subscription model for either their client or server OSes.  I think Windows 10 pretty well illustrates that in that it'll be a perpetual license and they plan on monetizing it from OEM sales with new hardware.  The server landscape is a bit more murky, but there are plenty of workloads that will require on-premises servers moving forward and my crystal ball says Microsoft will continue to release and sell periodic Server versions (such as 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2, and v.Next) also with a perpetual license...not subscription based.

I think there is a place for the subscription model, and Azure does a good job of illustrating that. But there will be certain kinds of work that simply will always be better offline/on-prem, and Microsoft continues to pursue that as well. Win10 is no slouch.  Early looks at Server v.Next look good. And while Office 365 ProPlus gets the media attention, Office 2016 is nearing release and shows Microsoft continues to support the perpetual licensing model even for Office.

I see the future as one of mix-and-match. Not all subscription and cloud, and not all on-prem. Bandwidth and speed is evolving to allow the IT administrator to choose new models for specific purposes. If anything, that makes local support and IT *more* important, not less. But it means IT Pros will be less screwdriver wielding, installing equipment in racks and pulling wire, and more like architects who may never pick up a hammer, but draw exquisite and intricate technology plans for businesses.  You don't just go out and build a house. You do so with great planning.  The IT Pro's job is evolving in that regard.
eitconsultingAuthor Commented:
Thanks Cliff.  Great responses.  I opened a "File Cloud Sharing" question earlier.  Care to take a look and respond?
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