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Microsoft Cloud Options: Office 365 and Azure

by Erik Briceno

When it comes to cloud computing, there are many options that allow businesses to take advantage of the opportunity for increasing productivity while also controlling costs.

Some of the more popular options today come from Microsoft, where they offer several cloud-based services, including Azure and Office 365. While both are rooted in the cloud, each offers different services and solutions for businesses.

To understand the difference between them — how they work and what they offer —it’s helpful to understand the different types of cloud platforms.

Cloud Terminology 101

There are three primary types of cloud computing, with each one encompassing the elements of the previous ones to offer a wider array of services:

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): This type of cloud computing gives you an instant infrastructure. You’re essentially renting the hardware, which is managed by the provider. It includes the physical data center, networking security and firewalls, and servers and storage.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): This type of cloud computing encompasses the infrastructure you’d get with IaaS, but adds more services such as operating systems, development tools, database management and business analytics.
  • Software as a service (SaaS): This type of cloud computing encompasses everything you’d get with IaaS and PaaS, but adds the software components. This allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the internet.

Office 356 and Azure: Different Options for Different Needs

Microsoft Cloud Options: Office 365 and AzureOffice 365 is SaaS — it’s a cloud-based subscription service that includes online versions of the Office desktop apps you’re familiar with, such as Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Because it’s based in the cloud, it allows your employees to access and work on files from anywhere, anytime, with any device.

Azure can be IaaS or PaaS — it’s Microsoft’s cloud platform with a wide range of capabilities. With the IaaS model, Azure is essentially an operating system for cloud computing. With the PaaS model, it can be used for development, service hosting and/or service management. And it’s possible for businesses to take advantage of features of both models, depending on their needs.

Azure is designed to make IT management easier, and it can support both Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms. It allows companies to build, host and manage applications without extensive — and expensive — onsite resources. The Azure website lists hundreds of available products including full virtual machines, databases, file storage, backups, and services for mobile and web apps.

“One of the top benefits of using Microsoft Azure is the ease with which you can integrate different Microsoft solutions and applications under one roof,” said IT executive Matthew Ramsey. Because it allows users to integrate different Microsoft products under one roof, it provides “a single go-to platform for taking advantage of all enterprise solutions.”

Finding the Right Fit with Office 365 and Azure

Ultimately, Office 365 and Azure are both platforms that help manage data, but they have very distinct purposes. Not only do they offer different capabilities, they can work together for even more flexibility. When their functionalities are combined, they can provide businesses with the IT infrastructure, development framework and software they need for business operations.

Through our extensive experience with cloud computing, V2 Systems is positioned to help guide you to successful results in leveraging cloud solutions for a successful two-pronged strategy that will reduce overhead costs and increase employee productivity. Our expert engineers can design a successful IT managed services process specific to your needs.


Since 1995, Manassas Park, VA-based V2 Systems has employed local systems administrators, network engineers, security consultants, help desk technicians and partnering companies to meet a wide range of clients’ IT needs, from research, to implementation, to maintenance. Concentrate on your VISION…We’ll handle the TECHNOLOGY! 



About ebriceno
Erik Briceño is the owner of V2 Systems, Inc., one of Northern Virginia’s leading Information Technology Managed Service Providers. He is an inspiring leader for its employees and instrumental business partner for its customers. He is passionate about V2’s purpose, dedicated to exceeding expectations and a consummate professional not afraid of jumping in and getting his hands dirty. Prior to joining V2 Systems in 2002, Erik was a co-founder and COO of, a leading provider of online resources servicing over 5,000 independent musical artists. At, Erik spearheaded all aspects of corporate development, funding, strategic vision, and business development for the firm. From 1997 to 1999 Erik held the position of Acoustic Systems Engineer for Electric Boat Corporation, a leading defense contractor. In this role, Erik was responsible for the acoustic fidelity of two noise critical systems and components in the US Navy’s nuclear submarine systems. Erik holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a Masters of Business Administration from George Mason University. When not working, you will find Erik a dedicated family man, raising two young children with his lovely wife Karen. Together, they enjoy building legos, playing baseball, skiing, riding horses, swimming, traveling, and fixing up old Mopars.
Microsoft Cloud Options: Office 365 and Azure
Microsoft Cloud Options: Office 365 and Azure