What is Microsoft Azure?
Understand Microsoft’s cloud solution and where it sits among cloud offerings
Microsoft Azure is a pay as you go public cloud computing platform that offers a number of cloud services, including analytics, storage and networking. You can pick and choose from any of these services to enable you to develop and scale new applications or run existing ones.
The Microsoft Azure platform has been designed with a range of tools to help all industry sectors. It has 4 different forms of cloud computing to choose from: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and serverless.
How does Microsoft Azure work?
Once you have subscribed you get access to the Azure portal and all the services available. You can then create cloud-based resources, such as virtual machines (VM) and databases, which frees up hardware storage on your own equipment.
Microsoft has formed partnerships with a number of third-party suppliers who make their software available on the Azure Portal. These do require a subscription and incur a usage fee.
What is Microsoft Azure used for?
Microsoft Azure can be used for a myriad of things. One of its most popular features is the ability to run virtual machines or containers in the cloud. These resources can host servers, deliver Windows Server services (IIS), and third-party applications. It also supports the Linux operating system if needed.
However, it is most widely used as a platform for cloud hosting databases, relational databases like Azure SQL, NoSQL (which is a non-relational database) and Common Data Service (used for Power Apps solutions).
It is also frequently used for backup and disaster recovery, and Azure storage serves as an archive to store data.
Microsoft Azure Pricing
There are five support options for Microsoft Azure:
- Professional Direct
These plans vary in price depending on what scale of support is required.
Azure uses a pay-as-you-go pricing structure based on usage, and each service will have its own unique pricing tier.
Should my organisation adopt Microsoft Azure?
Azure normally becomes a viable route for mid-cap organisations and above that are already heavily entrenched within the Microsoft ecosystem. In these cases, Azure can assist in linking various Microsoft applications together, enhancing an overall cloud tenant and simplifying management.
However, as can be seen with the number of support options, Azure is a complex product and is far from the cheapest cloud solution available. If an organisation is not experienced in using and configuring Azure, it’s easy to quickly run up very large bills without getting the results desired.
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