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Microsoft Azure
Igor Djuricic

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Igor Djuricic

Nov 29, 2019

What is Microsoft Azure and Why Use It?

With the preview of Azure Arc, Microsoft today announced a major step in the evolution of its hybrid cloud story. Azure Arc takes the work the company has done on projects like Azure Stack, throws in containers and Kubernetes, as well as new infrastructure management features, and then allows its users to use Azure’s management tools and data services like Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale on virtually any platform — including that of its competitors. As long as there is a Kubernetes cluster, you’ll be able to deploy applications to them and manage them using the Azure portal. Arc also supports any Windows and Linux servers.

An In-Depth Look at the Cloud Services Platform from Microsoft

Today plenty of businesses still have real concerns about migrating applications to the cloud. Fears about network security, availability, and potential downtime swirl through the heads of chief decision makers, sometimes paralyzing organizations into standing pat on existing tech— even though it’s aging by the minute.

Enter Microsoft Azure, the industry leader’s solution for going to a partially or totally cloud-based architecture. Below is a detailed look at what Azure is, the power of partnering with Microsoft for a cloud or hybrid cloud solution, and the best way to get full and actionable visibility into your aggregated logs and infrastructure metrics so your organization can react quickly to opportunities.

What is Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft has leveraged its constantly-expanding worldwide network of data centers to create Azure, a cloud platform for building, deploying, and managing services and applications, anywhere. Azure lets you add cloud capabilities to your existing network through its platform as a service (PaaS) model, or entrust Microsoft with all of your computing and network needs with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Either option provides secure, reliable access to your cloud hosted data—one built on Microsoft’s proven architecture. Azure provides an ever expanding array of products and services designed to meet all your needs through one convenient, easy to manage platform. Below are just some of the capabilities Microsoft offers through Azure and tips for determining if the Microsoft cloud is the right choice for your organization.

What can Microsoft Azure Do?

Microsoft maintains a growing directory of Azure services, with more being added all the time. All the elements necessary to build a virtual network and deliver services or applications to a global audience are available, including:

Virtual machines

Create Microsoft or Linux virtual machines (VMs) in just minutes from a wide selection of marketplace templates or from your own custom machine images. These cloud-based VMs will host your apps and services as if they resided in your own data center.

SQL databases

Azure offers managed SQL relational databases, from one to an unlimited number, as a service.This saves you overhead and expenses on hardware, software, and the need for in-house expertise.

Azure Active Directory Domain services

Built on the same proven technology as Windows Active Directory, this service for Azure lets you remotely manage group policy, authentication, and everything else. This makes moving and existing security structure partially or totally to the cloud as easy as a few clicks.

Application services

With Azure it’s easier than ever to create and globally deploy applications that are compatible on all popular web and portable platforms. Reliable, scalable cloud access lets you respond quickly to your business’s ebb and flow, saving time and money. With the introduction of Azure WebApps to the Azure Marketplace, it’s easier than ever to manage production, testing and deployment of web applications that scale as quickly as your business. Prebuilt APIs for popular cloud services like Office 365, Salesforce and more greatly accelerate development.

Visual Studio team services

An add-on service available under Azure, Visual Studio team services offer a complete application lifecycle management (ALM) solution in the Microsoft cloud. Developers can share and track code changes, perform load testing, and deliver applications to production while collaborating in Azure from all over the world. Visual Studio team services simplify development and delivery for large companies or new ones building a service portfolio.

Storage

Count on Microsoft’s global infrastructure to provide safe, highly accessible data storage. With massive scalability and an intelligent pricing structure that lets you store infrequently accessed data at a huge savings, building a safe and cost-effective storage plan is simple in Microsoft Azure.

Why are people trusting their workloads to Microsoft Azure?

It’s been said that the on-premise data center has no future. Like mainframes and dial-up modems before them, self-hosted data centers are becoming obsolete, being replaced by increasingly available and affordable cloud solutions. Several important players have emerged in the cloud service sphere, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), perennial computing giant IBM, and Apple’s ubiquitous iCloud, which holds the picture memories and song preferences of hundreds of millions of smartphone users, among other data. With so many options, why are companies like 3M, BMW, and GE moving workloads to Microsoft Azure? Just some of the reasons:

Flexibility

With Microsoft Azure you can spin up new services and geometrically scale your data storage capabilities on the fly. Compare this to a static data center, which would require new hardware and OS purchasing, provisioning, and deployment before additional power could be brought to bear against your IT challenges. This modern flexibility makes Azure a tempting solution for organizations of any size.

Cost

Azure solutions don’t just make it faster and easier to add and scale infrastructure, they make it cheaper. Physical services and infrastructure devices like routers, load balancers and more quickly add up to thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then there’s the IT expertise required to run this equipment, which amounts to major payroll overhead. By leveraging Microsoft’s massive infrastructure and expertise, Azure can trim our annual IT budget by head-turning percentages.

Applications

With a la carte service offerings like Visual Studio Team Services, Visual Studio Application Insights, and Azure’s scalable, on-demand storage for both frequently accessed and ‘cold’ data, Microsoft makes developing and testing mission-critical apps a snap. Move an application from test to production mode on the fly across a globally distributed network. Microsoft also offers substantial licensing discounts for migrating their existing apps to Azure, which represents even more opportunity for savings.

Disaster recovery

Sometimes the unthinkable becomes the very immediate reality. Another advantage of Microsoft Azure lay in its high-speed and geographically decentralized infrastructure, which creates limitless options for disaster recovery plans. Ensure that your critical application and data can run from redundant sites during recovery periods that last minutes or hours instead of days. Lost time is lost business, and with Azure you can guarantee continuous service delivery even when disaster strikes.
The combination of Microsoft’s vast infrastructure, constant application and services development, and powerful presence in the global IT marketplace has made Microsoft Azure solutions the choice of two-thirds of the world’s Fortune 500 companies. But the infinite scalability of Azure can make it just as right for your small personal business.

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