What is Azure?
Azure is Microsoft’s Global Cloud Platform. It provides a comprehensive set of cloud services that developers and businesses can use to build, deploy and manage applications through a global network of data centres. Azure allows businesses of all sizes to leverage the benefits of a highly secure, highly available and highly scalable platform that's available in over 42 regions globally.
Huge Scale, Huge Range
Azure is huge – huge in scale, huge in capacity, and huge in the range of products and services available to developers and end-customers. Constantly evolving, Azure has over 160 different services available across Compute, Networking, Storage, Web, Database, IoT, and Security.
Despite the vast range of services, businesses of any size can get started with Azure. The majority of customers are using 5 key services:
Cloud Services is Azure’s Platform-as-a-Service that supports applications that are scalable, reliable, and inexpensive to operate, whilst providing control over the virtual machines
Choose to be on-premises, in the Cloud or both. Choose your own virtual machine image or download a certified pre-configured image in the Azure Marketplace.
Azure Backup can be used to protect data by backing it up to the Microsoft Cloud. Data can be anything from a single file or folder up to a datacentre. Azure Backup can be used in conjunction with Windows client operating systems, Windows Server, System Center Data Protection Manager, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, Hyper-V VMs, as well as Azure IaaS VMs running on Windows and Linux.
Site Recovery can be used to orchestrate and automate protection of on-premises workloads running on Hyper-V virtual machines, VMware virtual machines, and physical servers to Azure or a secondary datacenter.
App Service Web Apps
App Service Web Apps is a fully managed platform that allows developers to build, deploy, and scale enterprise-grade web apps.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software, and setting up and running on-site data centres – the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure - it adds up quickly.
Most cloud computing services are provided as self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. That means delivering the right amount of IT resources – for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth – exactly when it’s needed, and from the right geographic location.
On-site data centres typically require a lot of “racking and stacking” – hardware setup, software patching and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centres, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacentre, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the Cloud provider’s network.