Introduced in February 2010, Microsoft Azure is cloud computing package that has made waves as a must-have service for both small businesses and global organizations alike. Named a leader in the 2017 Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Space by Gartner, Microsoft Azure is a promising platform for business owners in the IT industry who are looking to expand. However, despite being around for almost eight years now, most people are a bit lost; what is Microsoft Azure, exactly, and how is it different from the other cloud-based productivity tools Microsoft has to offer?
What Is It?
Microsoft Azure, by definition, is an “ever-expanding set of cloud services” that are meant to help organizations “meet their business challenges.” It’s essentially a massive cloud platform that allows users to build applications, manage services, and deploy them wherever they need to. This cloud computing service is similar to the Google Cloud Platform in the sense that it provides businesses with the tools, resources, and infrastructure they need to create and host development applications.
Microsoft Azure: The Difference
Most businesses and organizations traditionally host their own IT infrastructure. They have to purchase their own web or email server and host it on their own hardware (which, again, they’d need to purchase). They also have to host their databases, file storage servers, virtual machines, and user directories on their own hardware, purchasing more hardware and expansions as necessary once power got too low.
The alternative is to pay third-party companies to host their servers on third-party hardware. As one can imagine, this greatly compromises the business’s information security.
Microsoft Azure eliminates the need to purchase hardware for infrastructure. Using Azure, you have access to a set of cloud-hosted services that can handle all of your computing and network needs.
For instance, you can create virtual machines in minutes using their wide selection of machine templates—or design your own. They also offer managed SQL relational databases that you can utilize to save overheads. Their application services make application development and deployment simple, and their highly-secure data storage is extremely scalable to suit your business’s current needs.
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Why Should I Use It?
Faster Development Cycles
For application developers, utilizing Microsoft Azure in the business guarantees faster deployment cycles and immediate, more responsive feedback. This allows developers to explore all potential outcomes of various technologies in a way that suits your business objectives while eliminating the need for expensive overlay or complex infrastructure.
Thanks to its geographically decentralized infrastructure, Microsoft Azure has three important features that make it the best option for disaster recovery: Rolling Reboot Capabilities, Hot and Cold Standby Models, and Regional/Global Failover Options. These secondary system components ensure that during recovery periods, your critical business data can run from redundant sites for hours.
Microsoft Azure offers pay-as-you-go pricing allows users to purchase only as much as they need, making it a very attractive choice for small businesses and organizations. This pricing structure means businesses can manage their IT budget without compromising tools or cutting corners. Additionally, Azure’s massive infrastructure and expertise means you can launch customer and internal applications in the cloud, which consequently eliminates the need to pay for physical services or devices.
Microsoft describes Azure as “the cloud for all,” which speaks of the service’s reach and accessibility. With all the benefits it provides, it’s no wonder why hundreds—if not thousands—of SMB’s depend on Microsoft Azure for all their IT application development, management, and deployment needs.