Azure cloud services are a continuously-expanding collection of cloud-based alternatives to on-premise hardware and services available to anyone who is ready to build their business in the cloud without having to deal with the headaches of manually installing and managing hardware servers and software.

Developers can also use Azure cloud services to create apps in the cloud. Azure cloud services are in such high demand that it is expected to overtake Microsoft Windows in revenue over the next five years. What you’re really looking at is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to replace the overwhelming responsibilities of managing physical hardware.

It is an evolving full range of services

The cloud isn’t just “someone else’s computer,” and Azure cloud services makes this prominently clear. In addition to IaaS, you also get to access other options such as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) so you never have to manage a server again. Not to mention, you no longer have to worry about configuring/patching underlying servers. Azure cloud services also offers storage and services which can be used as building blocks for cloud-based apps and sites.

It’s hard to believe Azure cloud services made its debut in 2014, but it has certainly come a long way since then. In fact, Azure cloud services are run by data centers in 140 countries – offering convenient access across the globe.

Why are Azure cloud services important?

Modern businesses must compete in an always-on environment. When you need instant provision computing resources on demand, Azure cloud services can offer the solution. Planning and deploying an on-site data is not only time-consuming, but it is also expensive and onerous with upgrades, energy, storage, floor space, and maintenance costs. Yet, Azure cloud services go beyond cost efficiencies to providing time savings so that employees are free to work on strategic initiatives rather than spending time on maintenance, security, and upgrades.

Recently, Microsoft added features to Azure’s Machine Learning Service to offer a no-code model for app creation along with Cognitive Services algorithms which can retrieve relevant insights from both structured and unstructured data. In 2019, Azure Blockchain Service was launched. As you can see, the services really do meet the demands of tech-savvy consumers and an increasingly competitive market and global business landscape.

With Azure’s autoscale feature, VM’s are much easier to deploy. Further, Azure offers comprehensive security along with IoT, container, and file-sharing features that ensure a user-friendly environment.

So then, why is any of this important? For organizations who already use Microsoft applications, Azure cloud services can be the icing on the cake – more especially for SMBs and startups who do not have the resources for an on-premise infrastructure. In fact, Azure cloud services offers a resources-used billing structure. It’s like having the support of an IT team to help scale growth.

Further, Azure cloud services can support multiple Linux distributions including the following:

● Clear Linux
● Oracle Linux
● SUSE Linux Enterprise
● Ubuntu
● CoreOS
● CentOS

As a result, your company does not have to purchase, install, maintain, or repair pesky on-site hardware. Then, you have the added benefit of online services with backup reliability so that you won’t have to worry about downtime while waiting on repairs to be made. Also, cloud services can be scaled up or down immediately such as to accommodate spikes in traffic.

For global companies, they can continue to meet privacy requirements and regulations by transferring their data to the location of their choice. For developers, Azure cloud services offers a wide variety of AI tools and even a no-code option. It’s no surprise then that companies such as SAP and Wal-Mart both rely on Azure cloud services.

What other features can you access with Azure cloud services?

To explain Azure’s full range of services would require a novel, and it should be a scalable novel because the list of features is ever-expanding. Moreover, services are organized by category. Let’s look into the most popular ones:

Databases and storage: You have Azure Queues for messaging between app components, Azure Blobs for hosting unstructured data, Azure files, and Azure Tables for storing structured data. To migrate SQL Server databases, you can utilize Azure SQL Database which is fully managed. If you have big data, you can depend on Azure Cosmos DB which is a multi-model database that is global and fully managed.

Desktop and mobile app tools: You have access to multiple versions of the Visual Studio development environment and Azure DevOps. But wait, there’s more. Azure also provides options around third-party dev tools for software deployment, performance management, workflow monitoring, sharing code, and more. This includes the choice to use Terraform, Ansible, or Jenkins.

Container services: Run applications in a secure, standardized, and encapsulated environment with quick scalability. Azure also has a marketplace that simplifies deployment and scaling container images. Additionally, you can manage containerized workloads via the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Azure currently has over 100 container images offered in its marketplace.

Machine learning and AI: Azure cloud services comes with the Azure Machine Learning service that facilitates building and training ML in the cloud.

All of these services can be managed effectively from the Azure portal which offers a customizable dashboard and real-time data at a glance with a point-and-click interface for adding more services as needed. If you have repetitive tasks, you can use the Azure Command Line Interface or Azure PowerShell. You can even analyzer and query logs while setting up notifications for critical conditions or automate tasks triggered by specific user actions.

And, you get all of these types of services and management tools with a simple administration and management tool. There are no upfront costs as it is a pay-as-you-go system. When you want to add a new service, costs are estimated automatically.

Final thought

If you’re ready to break away from the hardware headaches, Azure cloud services offers best-in-class resources without the associated costs. Are you ready to try your hand at Azure? SSI can help create the right mix of services tailored specifically to address your unique business needs.