$5,000 in Azure credits for NFPs – Are you taking advantage of it?

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Whilst it’s not new news, many of our discussions with NFP organisations over the past 12 months suggest a clear majority of NFPs are still not making use of the $5,000 (USD) Azure credits they are potentially eligible for.  Coupled with concerns around business continuity and security of data, there is an opportunity going begging!

The opportunity and potential use cases of a cloud workload in Azure are approaching endless, with the service stack growing exponentially.  It’s no wonder it’s too difficult for non-tech organisations to navigate what they should be implementing.  From virtual machines, to IOT (Internet of Things), storage, DevOps, SQL, networking and security options, what should you choose?

We’ll help by summarising a few key ‘use cases’ from within our client base:

Business Continuity

Managed smartly, you can replicate your current on-premises server environment into Azure as a failover and business continuity solution – at no additional licensing cost by using your free Azure credits. With the increase in security threats over the past year (remember WannaCry and NotPetya?)  many organisations are not waiting to be caught out. Instead, they are proactively addressing their environment to ensure uptime of computer systems in the case of a security breach or disaster.

High performance computing

One of the biggest benefits to Azure workloads is the speed of procurement and scalability.  Instead of waiting weeks for hardware delivery, then further weeks for setup and installation, Azure workloads can be provisioned in minutes.  Then after the fact, the resources can be scaled up and down in seconds – allowing you flexibility of budget, and agility for specific desired applications.  Do you have a big project that needs resource but only for a short time?  Instead of trying to squeeze it into your existing infrastructure and bogging down the rest of the organisation, build it with your Azure credits and turn it off when the project is complete!

Business Apps or IoT

Is one of the reasons you haven’t considered moving to the cloud your existing business apps don’t offer a SaaS (Software as a Service) option?  Use your Azure credits to build a test environment to see if you can host it in the cloud yourself. Many systems can be hosted in private cloud environments, with connections back to local offices, or remote connections setup inside of the cloud workload.  Because workloads are scalable on demand, if you aren’t able to run enough resource to an internal application on existing server hardware, you should consider whether it can be migrated online.

So what does $5,000 US credit buy me?

Unlike a one-off purchase of on-premises hardware that costs you regardless of how much you use it, you only pay for what you use in Azure.  So, for business continuity solutions which are rarely powered on, you consume little ongoing credits.  If your office hours aren’t 24/7, we can help manage the online hours of the workload to match your usage.  With reliable infrastructure and proactive IT service, the business continuity workload of a 50 staff NFP with three servers can be covered inside of the $5k grant.  With the help of Azure Hybrid benefits we can utilise discounted software from Connecting Up to run a 9-5 server with 8 CPU cores, 56GB RAM and 256GB of disk for less than $160 (US) a month.  Meaning you could run two of the them with your free credits!

Who qualifies and how do you apply?

Microsoft has a dedicated landing page on Azure for NFPs. Within this page there is a link to submit your application to qualify for the annual credits. Once you register, your application is reviewed and, if eligible, you’ll receive an email with a link to access Microsoft’s non-profit offers. Note that if you already have access to Office365 via the donations program, you will be automatically approved.

If you are needing assistance with any step in this process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. The IT Department can also assist with your transition to Azure and the integration with your existing infrastructure.