What is Microsoft Azure, and is it the right choice for your business? These might sound like big questions, but we’re going to run you through the answers in this blog. The truth is, Microsoft Azure is a powerful choice for organisations of all shapes and sizes, and if you have been considering a move to the cloud but haven’t been quite sure how to go about it, Azure could be the answer.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Put simply, Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing offering – in the organisation’s own words, an ‘open, flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform’. It offers a massive range of services, including virtual machines, SQL databases, Azure Active Directory Domain services, cloud-based storage, and Visual Studio team services for the development of new applications – all deployable remotely and flexibly via the cloud. Or, you can outsource your entire computing and networking portfolio to Microsoft Azure and deploy the lot as infrastructure-as-a-service.
If this seems like a very broad product description – well, that’s the point. Microsoft Azure is an enormously broad and flexible cloud computing platform, with hundreds of services across compute, mobile, storage, data management, messaging and media. Being able to flexibly mix and match these in order to develop a portfolio of services precisely attuned to your own organisation’s needs is one of the major benefits of Microsoft Azure.
And there are many more. Here are just five to think about.
Integration with other Microsoft tools
It is no secret that Windows is the world’s most popular operation and Microsoft applications are used by more or less every business in the world. This means that the process of moving to Microsoft Azure is likely to be smoother and more familiar for your staff than with other public cloud platforms – and that integration with tools you may already be using, such as Visual Studio and ASP.NET, will be seamless.
As with any public cloud platform, Microsoft Azure makes it faster, easier and more cost-effective to scale up your IT infrastructure. There is no longer any need to purchase and install physical hardware such as servers and routers. Additionally, Azure can leverage Microsoft’s enormous scale, experience and expertise, resulting in further potential cost savings passed on to customers. Microsoft offers a pay-as-you-go model, meaning that you only pay for the resources you need.
Analytics and intelligence
Microsoft Azure is a sophisticated platform for developing business intelligence and actionable insights to improve your operations. Its machine learning, bots and cognitive API capabilities are more powerful than those of any other public cloud platform, and its Machine Learning Studio incorporates a massive library of algorithms. These can help your business predict future trends, detect anomalies to prevent fraud and detect equipment failure, and cluster and classify data for a vast array of different functions.
Cybersecurity is quite rightly a key concern of all IT managers today, and Microsoft Azure provides exceptional peace of mind. Microsoft currently holds more security certifications than any other cloud provider and meets a range of country-specific standards for cloud security, such as G-Cloud in the UK and the IRAP in Australia. Azure was designed on the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL), an industry-leading security process. In short, Microsoft Azure offers trustworthiness, integrity and reliability from the outset – vital considerations for any cloud migration project.
A strategic outlook
With any outsourced IT function, one of the most compelling benefits within your organisation is the opportunity to free up internal IT resource, taking them away from day-to-day operations and focusing their attention and creativity on long-term strategy. This is no different with Microsoft Azure – and indeed, Microsoft Azure can even directly support such innovation, because new services are being rolled out on the platform at such a dramatic pace.
Ready to start your Azure journey? Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.