Whereby, Infrastructure-as-a-service – Microsoft Azure cloud offers virtualization through its mature Hyper-V technology. For smaller organizations, Microsoft Azure services entail tangible benefits from the economies of scale. And whereas, for large-scale implementations, the services entail reduced IT maintenance costs and increased productivity.
On the other hand, for Platform-as-a-service – Microsoft Azure server renders comprehensive capabilities to your IT team. Enabling them to develop custom solutions, manage their design, development, and deployment.
Therefore, there is absolutely no need to purchase and manage any additional server hardware, software, security, storage or other network components used earlier to deliver custom solutions.
Rather than invest in local servers and storage, these organizations choose to run some, or all, of their business applications in Azure.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Notably, Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform.
It provides a range of cloud services, including compute, analytics, storage, and networking. Whereby, users can pick and choose from these services to develop and scale new applications. Or even run existing applications, in the public cloud.
Basically, to address issues with managing multi-cloud environments, some teams are turning to a cloud management platform to bring disparate environments under control.
In addition, to ensure availability, Microsoft has Azure data centers located around the world.
And as of January 2020, Microsoft Azure services are now available in 55 regions, spread across 140 countries. Unfortunately, not all services are available in all regions.
Therefore, Azure users must ensure that workload and data storage locations comply with all prevailing compliance requirements or other legislation.
Why Use Microsoft Azure?
Simply, because Microsoft Azure consists of numerous service offerings. And in general, its use cases are extremely diverse. For example, running virtual machines or containers in the cloud is one of the most popular uses for Microsoft Azure.
Whereby, these compute resources can host infrastructure components. Like Domain Name System (in short DNS) servers. As well as Windows Server Services such as Internet Information Services (in short IIS), or even third-party applications. Microsoft also supports the use of third-party operating systems, such as Linux.
In addition, Microsoft Azure is also commonly used as a platform for hosting databases in the cloud. Offering serverless relational databases such as Azure SQL and non-relational databases such as NoSQL.
Microsoft Azure is also a popular platform for backup and disaster recovery. Additionally, many organizations use Azure storage as an archival solution in order to meet their long-term data retention requirements.
By all means, the Azure Cloud Solutions allows you to;
Before proceeding, you can have a look at some more 11 Business Benefits of Microsoft Azure Cloud Solutions.
How does Microsoft Azure work?
In the first place, Microsoft Azure is a subscription-based service. Once customers subscribe to Azure, they have access to all the services included in the Azure Portal.
Although Microsoft does not charge a subscription fee, the various Azure services are made available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Meaning subscribers receive a bill each month that only charges them for the specific resources they have used.
In addition, a number of third-party vendors also make software directly available through Azure.
The cost billed for third-party applications varies widely but may involve paying a subscription fee for the application. Plus a usage fee for the infrastructure used to host the application.
Customer support options for Azure include;
Eventually, these customer support plans vary in terms of scope and price. So, for your information, basic support is available to all Azure accounts. But Microsoft charges a fee for the other support offerings.
Then again, Developer Support costs $29 per month, while Standard support costs $100 per month and Professional Direct support is $1000 per month. Microsoft does not disclose the pricing for Premier support.
Which are the Azure Main Products and Services?
Security and Privacy are built into the Azure platform. With Microsoft being committed to the highest levels of trust, transparency, standards conformance, and regulatory compliance. And with the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider.
Azure offers solution partners that can help deploy and manage your existing solutions, as well as offer ready-made or custom solutions for you. Plus, you can find an experienced managed service partner. Or even have your existing outsourcing partner to become an Azure partner.
Ninety percent of Fortune 500 companies trust their business to run on the Microsoft Cloud and are doing amazing things with it. Microsoft sorts Azure cloud services into nearly two dozen categories including:
1. Compute, Mobile & Web
The Compute services enable a user to deploy and manage VMs, containers and batch jobs, as well as support remote application access. Compute resources created within the Azure cloud can be configured with either public IP addresses or private IP addresses, depending on whether the resource needs to be accessible to the outside world.
The Mobile products help developers build cloud applications for mobile devices, providing notification services, support for back-end tasks, tools for building application program interfaces (APIs) and the ability to couple geospatial context with data.
Web services support the development and deployment of web applications. They also offer features for search, content delivery, API management, notification, and reporting.
2. Storage & Analytics
As for Analytics, it provides distributed analytics and storage, as well as features for real-time analytics, big data analytics, data lakes, machine learning (ML), business intelligence (BI), internet of things (IoT) data streams and data warehousing.
3. Networking & CDN
This group includes virtual networks, dedicated connections and gateways, as well as services for traffic management and diagnostics, load balancing, DNS hosting and network protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
For the Media and content delivery network (CDN), these CDN services include on-demand streaming, digital rights protection, encoding and media playback, and indexing.
4. Integration, Identity & IoT
The Integration services are for server backup, site recovery and connecting private and public clouds.
Offerings on Identity ensure only authorized users can access Azure services and help protect encryption keys and other sensitive information in the cloud. Services include support for Azure Active Directory and multifactor authentication (in short MFA).
As of the Internet of things (IoT), these services help users capture, monitor and analyze IoT data from sensors and other devices. Services include notifications, analytics, monitoring and support for coding and execution.
5. DevOps, Development, Security & AI
In the DevOps group, it provides project and collaboration tools, such as Azure DevOps — formerly Visual Studio Team Services — that facilitate DevOps software development processes. It also offers features for application diagnostics, DevOps tool integrations and test labs for build tests and experimentation.
Through the Security products, it provides capabilities to identify and respond to cloud security threats, as well as manage encryption keys and other sensitive assets.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are a wide range of services that a developer can use to infuse artificial intelligence. As well as, machine learning, and cognitive computing capabilities into applications and data sets.
6. Containers, Databases & Migration
As for the Databases, this category includes Database as a Service (DBaaS) offerings for SQL and NoSQL, as well as other database instances — such as Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Database for PostgreSQL.
It also includes Azure SQL Data Warehouse support, caching, and hybrid database integration and migration features. Azure SQL is the platform’s flagship database service. Azure SQL is a relational database that provides SQL functionality without the need for deploying a SQL server.
The Migration suite of tools helps an organization estimate workload migration costs and perform the actual migration of workloads from local data centers to the Azure cloud.
7. Management, Governance & Mixed Reality
Management and Governance are services that provide a range of backup, recovery, compliance, automation, scheduling, and monitoring tools. Helping a cloud administrator manage an Azure deployment.
Mixed reality are services are designed to help developers create content for the Windows Mixed Reality environment.
8. Blockchain & Intune
The Azure Blockchain Service allows you to join a blockchain consortium or to create your own.
Last but not least, Microsoft Intune can be used to enroll user devices, thereby making it possible to push security policies and mobile apps to those devices. Mobile apps can be deployed either to groups of users or to a collection of devices.
Intune also provides tools for tracking which apps are being used. A remote wipe feature allows the organization’s data to be securely removed from devices. Without removing a user’s mobile apps in the process.
How much does Microsoft Azure Cost?
Similar to other public cloud providers, Azure primarily uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model that charges based on usage. However, if a single application uses multiple Azure services, each service might involve multiple pricing tiers.
In addition, if a user makes a long-term commitment to certain services, such as compute instances, Microsoft offers a discounted rate. Given the many factors involved in cloud service pricing, an organization should review and manage its cloud usage to minimize costs.
Azure-native tools, such as Azure Cost Management, can help monitor, visualize and optimize cloud spending. It’s also possible to use third-party tools, such as Cloudability or RightScale, to manage Azure resource usage and associated costs.
Microsoft Azure is one of several major public cloud service providers operating on a large global scale. Other major providers include Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM. Currently, there is a lack of standardization among cloud services and capabilities.
Meaning no two cloud providers offer the same service in the exact same way, using the same APIs or integrations. This makes it difficult for a business to use more than one public cloud provider when pursuing a multi-cloud strategy. Third-party cloud management tools can reduce some of these challenges.
Microsoft first unveiled its plans to introduce a cloud computing service called Windows Azure in 2008. Preview versions of the service became available and matured, leading to its commercial launch in early 2010.
Its early iterations of Azure cloud services fell behind more established offerings such as AWS. Fortunately, the portfolio continued to evolve and support a larger base of programming languages, frameworks, and operating systems.
By early 2014, Microsoft recognized that the implications of cloud computing stretched far beyond Windows, and the service was rebranded as Microsoft Azure. Majorly, data security concerns and regulatory compliance requirements make privacy a major issue for cloud subscribers.
To address these worries, Microsoft Online Trust Center has been created. Mainly, which provides detailed information about the company’s security, privacy and compliance initiatives.
According to the Trust Center, Microsoft will only use customer data if it is necessary to provide the agreed-upon services. And it will never disclose customer data to government agencies unless it is required by law.
By all means, I hope the above-revised guide on Microsoft Azure towards your business cloud computing needs was helpful and supportive enough.
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