Microsoft Azure: What It Is and Why It Matters

Microsoft Azure is usually described as having “limitless potential” and “unlimited possibilities,” but what does Azure actually do and what can it do for your business?

At its core, Azure is a public cloud computing platform — with solutions including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) that can be used for services such as analytics, virtual computing, storage, networking, and much more. It can be used to replace or supplement your on-premise servers.

1. Azure is a backup and disaster recovery dream tool. Why?

Because of its flexibility, advanced site recovery, and built-in integration.

As a cloud-based solution, Azure is innately flexible — it can back up your data in almost any language, on any OS, and from any location. Plus, you define the frequency and extent of your backup schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).

2. Host and Develop Web and Mobile Apps

Whether you’re looking for a platform for hosting, developing, or managing a web or mobile app, Azure makes those apps autonomous and adaptive with patch management, AutoScale, and integration for on-premise apps.

With Automatic patch management for your virtual machines, you can spend less time managing your infrastructure and focus on improving your apps. Azure also comes with continuous deployment support, which allows you to streamline ongoing code updates.

AutoScale is a feature built into Azure Web Apps that adjusts your resources automatically based on customer web traffic so you have the resources you need when traffic is high, and save money when you’re not in peak times.

Through Azure, you can seamlessly link your web app to an on-premise app. Connecting apps in both locations lets both employees and partners securely access resources inside your firewall — resources that would otherwise be difficult to access externally.

3. Distribute and Supplement Active Directory

Azure can integrate with your Active Directory to supplement your identity and access capabilities — this gives your DNS a global reach, centralized management, and robust security.

With Azure, you can globally distribute an Active Directory environment that is direct connect enabled. No other cloud provider has the ability to extend the reach of your domain controller and consolidate AD management like Azure.

If you have multiple locations or use on-premise apps or cloud apps like Microsoft 365, Active Directory integration with Azure will be the central tool for managing and maintaining access to all of these tools.

Azure also enables you to utilize multi-factor authentication, adding a new layer of security to your data and applications with zero hassle for your users. You can also easily implement single sign-on for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS cloud apps.

4. Innovate with IoT Industry Solutions

The scalability, flexibility, and security of Microsoft Azure makes it the perfect resource for companies moving toward IoT solutions. You can connect your devices to the cloud using solutions that integrate with your existing infrastructure and start collecting new data about your company.

Within the Azure IoT Hub, you can monitor and manage billions of devices and gain insights to help you make better business decisions, improve customer experiences, reduce complexity, lower costs, and speed up development.

The enhanced security of Azure is a huge asset for IoT solutions, which traditionally have security gaps that hackers can take advantage of. Other benefits include remote monitoring and predictive maintenance and analytics.

Getting started is easy with Azure IoT solution accelerators, preconfigured templates that are customizable to your needs.

Is Azure the same as AWS?

No, Azure is a cloud platform introduced by Microsoft in 2010, whereas AWS is another cloud platform introduced by Amazon in 2006. While both the platforms have similar use cases and are prevalent in the Big Data community, their parent companies are not the same.

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