Everything you need to know to improve your business with Microsoft Azure

Everything you need to know to improve your business with Microsoft Azure

24 May 2016

Microsoft Azure is the only major cloud platform ranked by Gartner Magic Quadrant as an industry leader for both infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). This powerful combination of managed and unmanaged services lets you build, deploy, and manage applications any way you like for unmatched productivity.

In a nutshell, Microsoft Azure provides eleven tangible benefits to businesses that adopt its infrastructure through its service offerings. In this article we’ll be providing a business owner’s perspective on each of these services and how they can positively affect a business.

Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft's public cloud computing platform. It provides a range of cloud services, including those for compute, analytics, storage and networking. Users can pick and choose from these services to develop and scale new applications, or run existing applications, in the public cloud. 

Microsoft categorizes Azure services into 11 main product types:

  1. Compute – Essentially what the Compute suite of solutions gives is an ability to create virtual machines to help with the processing of large amounts of data, typically this would be of most benefit to companies that have to perform large scale simulations. The oil and gas industry may use Compute to remotely access large processing capabilities for gas process simulators like Aspen HYSYS.

    Conversely, a company that produces special effects for television or file may use Compute to render 3-D effects or export high-resolution, 4K Ultra HD or Quad HD media.

  2. Web and Mobile – This allows businesses such as web developers to host an environment in which they can create, test and deploy mobile and web applications. The possibilities begin to grow with the capability to communicate with other databases and applications and with the ability to “push” data to mobile devices.

  3. Data storage – As its name suggests, this is a private cloud on which any business, large or small, can store its confidential data and make it accessible anywhere in the world. Because this includes database hosting, the information that is uploaded can be structured and sorted, so it can work hand-in-hand with service 2: Web and Mobile.

  4. Analytics – Analysis of the data and making sense of it is carried out with this service. It helps developers create low-cost solutions that collect real-time information from websites, mobile devices and connected appliances and remotely control and monitor them.

  5. Networking – This service helps businesses create virtual networks; this is usually used for hosting the businesses’ websites, and includes the functions that help it manage the volume of visitors and the domain names that are used to view them.

  6. Media and content delivery network (CDN) – A CDN helps businesses websites remain quickly accessible, with fast loading speeds regardless of where the user may be visiting their website from. This also applies to data and access to mobile applications.

  7. Hybrid integration – These services help seamlessly marry a business’ data storage, cloud infrastructure and its website hosting, creating a single environment that reduces support and development time. In layman terms, this means that software development projects require fewer resources to bring to market because they are all in the same ecosystem.

  8. Identity and access management (IAM) – Many solutions may require access from several users at once, and controlling information in this case may be difficult. If your business needs multiple users, or even different development teams to work on a system, this allows you to control their access.

  9. Internet of Things (IoT) – The Internet of Things is a globally accessible network of sensors, some of these can be placed in appliances and household object in order to collect information, or even control their settings. These services help users capture, monitor and analyze IoT data from sensors and other devices.

  10. Development – When your business engages software developers to create an application, website or interactive solution, and there are different teams working on the project, they will need to share code, test applications and track potential issues. Azure supports a range of application programming languages, including JavaScript, Python, .NET and Node.js.

  11. Management and security – These products help your development company’s cloud administrators manage their Azure deployment, schedule and run jobs, and create automation. This product group also includes capabilities for identifying and responding to cloud security threats that are compliant to over 38 different global standards including ISO/IEC 27018, MPAA, MTCS, SOC 1 2 & 3, UK G-Cloud and the US Department of Defense (DISA).

As a business owner or IT manager, the Azure suite of services allows a seamless and versatile environment. One access point for websites, applications, databases and shared documents.

If you’d like to find out more about Cloud Computing, new technologies and how they can benefit your organisation, visit Insight’s Azure Cloud page here.