New Applications often mean new servers. The rate of technical change in our industry means our workforce has different demands and so our “line of business” applications need to be updated. This could mean a new version or modifications that add a web service front end. Whichever way, there usually is a new hardware request in there somewhere.

What do you do if budgets are tight? Do you buy a smaller box and hope it does the job, or do you cut funding for another project? Tough decisions IT departments have to make. What is different these days is that there is a different option. You could use a platform service such as Windows Azure.

Windows Azure can lower your up-front capital costs. With consumption-based pricing, packages and partner discounts lower the barriers to entry to cloud services adoption and ensure a predictable IT spend.

Microsoft’s data centers can provide organizations with the equivalent of hundreds or even thousands of servers. Now, instead of buying new hardware, you add the resources you need and pay for only that usage. Reducing the number of physical servers in your environment slashes other costs, such as the price of power, cooling and the day-to-day maintenance physical hardware requires. This frees IT people to focus on software, and to simply carry on running and maintaining application as they do today, with the knowledge that they can improve the throughput performance in minutes.

When the need arises to increase the performance of some applications in an environment to keep up with new demand, it often means investing in a new server or undertaking a performance-tuning exercise, both of which incur costs. By contrast, moving those applications to Windows Azure provides a means to scale these applications and increase throughput at reduced costs compared to adding new hardware and software.

To take advantage of this cloud computing scenario requires some planning to transition a cloud application from your on-premise systems.  After reading the above you probably have lots of questions, most everyone does when anyone mentions the cloud. To help with this the TechNet has put together a new Cloud hub. This hub contains information and resources to help you understand this option above and be able to take advantage of. Called Getting Business Done with the Cloud, the site contains 7 scenarios today; we will be adding new scenarios on regular basis, to continue to explain the cloud options and how to implement them quickly.

The particular scenario mentioned above can be found on the How to Manage Server Costs with Windows Azure section of the hub.