Introduction to Microsoft Azure

Introduction to Microsoft Azure

In last weeks blog, we began to uncover the fundamentals of cloud computing and how it has proved revolutionary to a great number of businesses around the world. Having covered the basics, benefits and core concepts, we’re now ready to dive into Azure, the cloud solution from Microsoft. If you’ve not yet read the first part of this series, take a look here.

As mentioned previously, the cloud encompasses the great many computing processes that can now be performed securely online, through both public and private cloud providers. Azure is Microsoft’s answer to Cloud Computing and is available both publicly and privately, for SaaS, PaaS and IaaS setups. Microsoft Azure covers a great number of business-grade services such as remote storage, database hosting and virtual machines, just to name a few.

Designed for business and enterprise use, Microsoft Azure continues to act as a catalyst for major cloud transformations and provides a platform to build, manage and deploy cloud computing resources.

What can I do with Azure?

There is no shortage of services on offer under the Azure product banner, with over 100 services available – from running apps such as those from SAP, IBM and Oracle, through to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

While cloud platforms, like that of Microsoft Azure, can run applications on virtual machines – they can often do much more. Here’s an overview of what Azure is capable of:

  • Compute Services: Virtual Machines and serverless computing that perform calculations, execute logic and run applications.
  • Cloud Storage: Disks on virtual machines or databases that expand and shrink to meet your storage requirements.
  • Networking: Features that allow the setup of private network connections to on-premise environments and help control traffic into and out of Azure
  • App Hosting: Allows for the running of entire 3rd party web applications on a managed platform
  • AI: Facilitates the search and analysis of data to forecast behaviours, outcomes and trends.
  • Integration: Connecting applications and services and allow for workflows across systems both on-premises or in the cloud.
  • Security: Comprehensive controls for identity, access and data.
How does Azure work

Azure works on the principle of virtualisation – essentially meaning that its infrastructure actively seperates out the components that help a computer to run and uses a something called a hypervisor, to emulate the functions of a computer in a virtual machine. This method, allows users to use multiple virtual machines at once and use exactly the required amount of resources that they require for specific tasks.

The components that are used to power machines are housed in a large scale network of servers, housed throughout Microsoft datacentres around the world. These datacentres are built to be part of a global network, built on comprehensive security protocols.

Common use cases
  • Backup and Disaster Recovery: Azure backup can be set up to store copies of data in up to three fail-safe locations across two data centres, making data loss much less of a stress.
  • Identity Management: Azure can be integrated with an Active Directory, allowing you to supplement identity management capabilities, giving global reach, central management and robust security.
  • Mass Storage: Azure can store large amounts of unstructured data using Blob Storage features. Providing a smooth storage system for widespread use.
  • Security: Microsoft implements multi-layer security across data centres, infrastructure and operations – with security integrated directly into the hardware, firmware and across services offered.
  • Hybrid Cloud: Azure can act as a link between an on-premise server, and the world of cloud computing – allowing administrators to define the most efficient way of handling data between on and offline locations.

Having only scratched the surface, there are endless possibilities available with cloud computing and services such as Microsoft Azure. Designing a cloud-based solution is entirely dependent on the way your business runs, and the challenges it faces – if you’d like to learn more about a cloud transformation, chat to us today.