What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is a cloud computing platform that can provide everything a business needs to run all or part of its computing operations virtually—including servers, storage, databases, networking, analytics and more.Azure is also appealing to many small and medium sized businesses. One reason for this is that it helps SMBs avoid huge capital outlays for equipment; it also removes the burden of upgrades and maintenance, as smaller organizations may not have in-house experts readily available to provide support. And because Azure makes it easy to add or remove computing resources in minutes as compared to hours (or days!), it provides increased flexibility that businesses simply wouldn’t have with a traditional on-premise datacenter.

Compute

This service group empowers companies to quickly provision Linux and Windows virtual machines, achieve high availability through autoscaling and supercharge app development using a serverless architecture. Users are able to create microservices, scalable cloud applications and APIs.

Storage

Microsoft’s virtual datacenters provide companies with agile connectivity and scalable infrastructure, eliminating the need for on-premises hardware. All data written to Azure is encrypted and accessible over HTTP or HTTPS. This service is also compatible with a variety of languages, including .NET, Java, Node.js, Python, PHP and others.

Backup

This group of services simplifies data recovery, allowing users to back up virtual machines, SQL workloads and on-premises VMware with a single click. Through Azure, companies can quickly restore data using VSS snapshot or fsfreeze without fear of application consistency.

Networking

This feature set allows organizations to create hybrid computing frameworks that utilize both private and public cloud infrastructure. By doing so, users can seamlessly deliver their custom applications to thousands of virtual machines, ensure the highest levels of compliance and cybersecurity and monitor their network resources in real time.

Top Business Benefits of Microsoft Azure Cloud

Now that we have a sense of the core services offered by Microsoft Azure, it may be helpful to dive into how they benefit modern businesses. First, it’s important to note that every organization has different needs when it comes to data storage, application development and resource management. For example, smaller companies that do not collect customer data may not require a massive amount of storage space, but may need a flexible and agile testing environment for their web apps. The trick to successfully integrating Azure is pinning down the exact capabilities and services an organization needs before signing up.

No on-site hardware required

Owning and operating on-premise data storage equipment comes with high upfront costs and consistent overhead, which can eat into a company’s IT budget. By moving their data, applications and computing processes to the cloud, organizations can essentially eliminate the need for on-site hardware. Businesses looking to keep some of their processes on private servers, whether due to convenience or compliance issues, can build a hybrid cloud environment using Azure’s advanced networking features.

Cost-effective subscription models

Microsoft Azure’s consumption based pricing structure allows small businesses and large enterprises to better manage their IT budgets and leverage the exact cloud features they need. This usage-based model is highly effective for decreasing infrastructure costs, reducing the burden placed on in-house IT management and streamlining cross-departmental workflows. If issues arise, users are backed by Microsoft’s extensive knowledge base and 24-hour support team.

World-class cyber-security

All data stored on Azure is protected by an advanced encryption process, and Microsoft’s data centers are outfitted with two-tier authentication, proxy card access readers and even biometric scanners. When paired with existing cybersecurity systems and policies, Azure’s built-in security tools can help maintain the privacy, integrity and availability of sensitive customer information. Through its multi-layered security model, Microsoft helps companies ward off data breaches, malware, DDos attacks and other evolving threats.

High availability

Unlike many of the competing cloud service vendors, Microsoft Azure provides high availability and redundancy across all of its data centers. The tech giant operates in 55 regions worldwide and is available in 140 countries, making Azure well-suited to companies with a global reach. Because of its massive presence, Microsoft is able to offer a service-level agreement that ensures 99.95% availability, which amounts to under 4.5 hours of downtime per year.

On-demand scalability

Business needs change over time, whether for growth or downsizing, which makes scalability a core concern for any infrastructure-related investment. Microsoft Azure’s public cloud framework allows organizations to increase their storage space and computing power on demand, ensuring maximum capacity during short-term bursts of traffic and long-term expansion projects. Azure was designed to scale alongside businesses, meaning users can adjust their service agreements to prevent disruption of their high-load applications.

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