Jul 28
Ten Reasons to run Project Server 2013 on AZURE instead of On Premise or Project Online

When thinking about using Microsoft Project Server for your PMO, your first thought may be to run using Project Server on premise.  As you think of other option, the idea of using Project Online may be effective as well.  You then start asking questions and find hosting companies like BemoPro and Project Host can manage project server.  But there is another option for running project server and that is running project serve in AZURE.

Ouch my head starts to hurt. Another option to weight into the mix of project server solutions.  And so, I started my list of why it may be good to run from project server on AZURE versus running on premise.  At first I didn't think it was a good option, but as I understand more about the platform and its abilities, I realized that it's a really good solution.

My list of why I like running project server 2013 on Azure.

  1. Purchasing of hardware is not required.  Selecting only the VM size that is required keeps the cost down and can easily be increase as usage increases.
  2. Setup is real easy.  Azure provides a SharePoint Farm Installation wizard that basically sets up everything you need to install and run SharePoint and Project Server.  The wizard setups three virtual machines; domain controller, SQL Server and a SharePoint virtual machine. With a simple click of the mouse and about 60 minutes, SharePoint is up and running.  The next step is to download and install project server to complete the setup and then project sever is ready for your company to use. 
  3. Migrating databases to Azure project server is both possible and much easier.  Azure provides methods for exporting and importing files into Azure.  Once databases can be more to the cloud, then SharePoint content and project server databases can be configured into SharePoint.   If later, you don't like the AZURE solution, the databases can be moved back down to premise.  Migrating to Project online requires the use of third party tools or manual importing of single projects.
  4. Testing and other staging databases can be setup using Azure VMs as well.  Cost saving here to because hardware is not purchase, use smaller VM to keep costs down and shutdown the VMs when they are not used.  Storage costs are still accruing because data is saved but CPU and other miscellaneous costs are not occurring when the CPU is shut down.
  5. SharePoint and Project Server 2013 is stable and doesn't get new features and updates.  While it's a good marketing plug for Project Online to get the most recent upgrades and features. The fact is many organizations like stable platforms and don't like changes on the fly.
  6. SharePoint and Project Server 2010 can run in Azure VMs.  This option takes more work than running the Azure SharePoint Farm wizard as mention above, but the VMs can be setup and configure to run SharePoint and Project Server 2010.
  7. Writing project server reports is going to be easier because you still have full access to the SQL server database and will be able to access data that is not possible when using project online. Report writers can also use 3rd party reporting tools, because they can be installed on the VMs.
  8. SQL Server tools such as SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services), SSAS (SQL Server Analysis Services) are available and developers are familiar with using them.
  9. Feels like you have more control of project server because you have access to SharePoint Central in the Azure VM giving you more features to enable or disable.  Also, you have access to restore and backup project schedules and other functions that you don't have when using Project Online.
  10. Running project server on Azure is a lot more fun.  This is mostly fun for me because it's a new way to look at project server.

So now we have another option for PMOs to think about when deciding where to run their project server.  It's just something to think about.  Call me if you have any questions.

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