Businesses considering migrating applications to the cloud have numerous cloud providers to choose from. Along with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure Cloud is among the two most widely used cloud platforms globally. In this article, we’ll discuss how Microsoft Azure works, what services it offers, and how businesses and other online entities are most commonly using it.
How Does Microsoft Azure Cloud Work?
Microsoft Azure Cloud is one of several leading solutions from Microsoft. The platform offers more than 200 cloud-based products and services to help businesses find online solutions to the challenges facing them and to better prepare themselves for success in the future. These services are grouped in 18 categories, including:
We’ll discuss Microsoft Azure services in more detail below, but first, here’s a quick primer on cloud services.
What Are Cloud Services?
Cloud technology enables access to a wide variety of online resources from practically any location where a computer or mobile device can connect to the provider.
Serverless systems, virtual computing, data storage, and many other resources are available once connected. With the rapid growth of could computing applications and platforms spanning numerous industries around the world, it is this virtual IT infrastructure that now drives successful businesses into the digital age.
By revolutionizing the accessibility of critical business functions, cloud technology makes everyday processes easier and more efficient, making it an appealing option for a growing number of businesses. In fact, according to Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud Report, 63% of companies surveyed are heavy users of public cloud, meaning that they’re currently running more than 25% of workloads in the cloud. That’s an increase from 59% in 2021 and 53% in 2020.
Survey respondents reported running 50% of workloads in the public cloud, with 48% of data in the public cloud. Six percent (6%) of respondents said they plan to run additional workloads in the public cloud over the next 12 months, and 7% reported plans to store additional data in the public cloud over the same period.
Flexera also discovered a shift in public cloud provider usage, according to a blog post summarizing the report. “The gap between cloud providers has continued to decrease year over year, with Azure usage surpassing that of AWS in several instances for the first time in the eleven years of the report,” Flexera explains.
With Microsoft Azure becoming a contender for the most widely used cloud platform, it’s worth evaluating if you’re considering migrating additional data or applications to the cloud.
A Closer Look at Microsoft Azure Cloud
With Microsoft Azure, companies can create, operate, and innovate their key applications with cutting-edge functionality, both in-house and anywhere in the global online world. And to do so using the specific tools and frameworks designed for their own industry or industries.
The ability to leverage these advanced technologies makes Microsoft Azure Cloud a cornerstone feature in many companies’ business process optimization. Here are a few of the reasons why Azure is a popular choice among today’s enterprises:
- Storing, accessing, and sharing data — from the other side of the office or the other side of the planet — is simplified and streamlined with a connection to the Azure portal.
- Azure also offers Microsoft’s state-of-art security multi-layered security across physical data storage centers, business infrastructure, and global operations.
- Microsoft Azure has partnered with countless technology giants, like Adobe, SAP, Cisco, Citrix, Red Hat, and many others, to create a thriving, state-of-the-art online ecosystem offering the best possible services and results to their customers.
- Microsoft Azure uses a pay-per-use model with no upfront charges, allowing customers to only pay for the services that they need and use. It’s free to start and follows a pay-per-use model, which means you pay only for the services you opt for.
- The software offers a high level of versatility by supporting a wide range of programming languages, including Java.
According to Microsoft, Azure’s cloud computing services are used by more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies. Azure maintains more than 200 physical data centers worldwide, according to Dgtl Infra, in more than 60 regions (more than any other cloud platform, Azure says). As of April 2021, Azure was on track to build 50 to 100 additional data centers each year, ZDNet reports.
Microsoft Azure Services
Microsoft Azure divides its 200+ service offerings into 18 distinct categories, making it easier for users to find and implement the exact services that they need to support their business.
These categories include:
- Web + Mobile
- Data + Analytics
- AI + Cognitive Services
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Management Tools
- Media Identity
- Enterprise Integration
- Security + Identity
- Developer Tools
- Monitoring + Management
- Microsoft Azure Stack
Using Microsoft Azure
Given the sheer number and variety of services available, it should be no surprise that businesses and industries find so many ways to integrate Microsoft Azure Cloud for their betterment.
Just a few of the more common uses include:
- Creation and development of applications
- Application testing and refinement
- Hosting and maintaining programs and applications
- Creation and use of virtual machines in various (or multiple) configurations
- Integration and syncing of features across virtual devices and directories
- Application evaluation and refinement via collected and stored metrics
- Creation and use of virtual hard drives (as an extension of a virtual machine) to provide massive data storage capacity
Microsoft Azure is also an ideal solution for government agencies and government-related industries that require the utmost in privacy and data security features but need a system that’s still simple and intuitive to use.
Developers who use software tools like Microsoft’s Visual Studio will enjoy the benefits of cloud integration capabilities built into Azure, especially the ease-of-use features for dev/test and production servers.
Microsoft Azure: A Leading Choice among Cloud Providers
According to Science Prog, Microsoft Azure is the fastest-growing cloud computing platform for the business sector, with quarterly revenue of $11.8 billion in June 2022.
Microsoft Azure Cloud offers more than 200 services to support business processes related to data and analytics, cloud migration, databases, containers, DevOps, and more than a dozen other categories. It’s often an ideal choice for businesses with data centers already working with Microsoft software and applications, as well as those looking to establish hybrid cloud systems to work with their own data center architecture at a physical location.