Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft Azure in 2023
What is Microsoft Azure?
Comprised of more than 200 products and cloud services, Azure is one of the industry’s leading cloud computing platforms, usurped only by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Millions of users rely on Azure daily to connect their computers and mobile devices to virtual machines, storage, serverless computing, and much more. Microsoft Azure is employed by dozens of companies that are household names, including Verizon, LG Electronics, CenturyLink, LinkedIn, Intel, and Adobe — to name a few. In fact, 95% of Fortune 500 companies use Azure to further their digital transformation.
Cloud computing platforms are the future: Companies are flocking to cloud services by droves to digitally transform their businesses. In turn, these services help them become more efficient, competitive, and effective. The benefits of cloud computing include the following:
- Reduced overall costs
- Improved agility through automation and self-provisioning
- Improved scalability by implementing resources on an as-needed basis
- The ability to instantly access applications around the world
- The ability for companies to focus on core competencies in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors for an improved customer experience
What Does SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and Serverless Mean in Azure?
The Azure umbrella encompasses hundreds of products and services. Its web-based platform allows companies to build apps and services, then test, manage, and deploy them to their customers. It services three core areas: virtual machines, app services, and cloud services.
The Microsoft Azure platform provides four solutions on a pay-as-you-go basis. They are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and serverless. So, let’s take a closer look.
SaaS connects users to cloud-based apps, which include email, calendaring, and office tools (e.g., Microsoft Office 365). The benefits of SaaS are pay-per-usage scenarios, access to sophisticated applications, and app access from anywhere.
PaaS refers to the complete development and deployment of data to the cloud. Like IaaS, PaaS includes the infrastructure for networking, servers, and storage; however, it builds upon IaaS by providing business intelligence (BI) services, development tools, middleware, container orchestrators (Kubernetes), management, and more. It’s designed to support everything from building and testing to managing and updating.
Azure IaaS is a service that offers essential networking services, computing, and storage resources on-demand on a pay-as-you-go basis. It helps companies gain real-time business insights and saves money on hardware costs (e.g., no on-premises data centers are needed). It also helps businesses provision new applications to increase their infrastructure’s reliability.
Serverless computing eliminates the need for developers to manage infrastructure. Instead, the cloud service provider automatically provisions, scales, and manages the infrastructure needed to run the code. The result is improved productivity and the ability to introduce products to the market faster. Businesses can then focus on innovation and optimize their resources.
How Does Azure Work?
Microsoft Azure is used on a subscription basis. Once a user is subscribed to Azure, they gain access to the products, services, and resources that are available within the Azure cloud computing platform. The first step is to create an Azure account at Microsoft. From there, you’ll have access to free and paid services, including Azure Blob Storage, Azure SQL Database, Azure Virtual Machines, and more. Essentially, Microsoft Azure provides everything needed to plan, develop and launch your data into the cloud. Once subscribed to Azure, you’ll also have access to groundbreaking tools, such as Azure AI and Azure ML (machine learning).
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