Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform which offers software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It offers more than 600 cloud services and supports a wide range of operating systems, databases, and developer tools. Microsoft Azure was first announced in October 2008 and initially released as Windows Azure on February 1, 2010, and later renamed to Microsoft Azure on 25 March 2015. Today, almost 95% of Fortune 500 Companies use Microsoft Azure due to its functionality, ease-of-use, and high value for money.
This article will give you an overview of some of the most popular Microsoft Azure services and help you understand how companies can leverage across the entire architecture as an agile platform to run applications on the cloud and improve current applications with cloud capabilities.
These services help you develop, deploy, and maintain various applications on the Azure platform. Let’s explore Azure AI, Azure Analytics, and Azure IoT services in more detail.
Microsoft Azure gives you quick access to AI services and helps you optimize business processes across your organization, engage with customers, and empower your employees. Developers can create engaging and interactive applications on Azure’s AI Platform which offers cutting-edge AI capabilities such as NLP, speech recognition, voice synthesis, face detection, video indexing, and text analytics. The Microsoft Azure Bot Service releases intelligent agents on different platforms, which can be used to create intelligent chat applications.
With Microsoft Azure, you can process and analyze large amounts of data to make intelligent critical business decisions with Azure’s analytics suite. It allows you to run complicated queries across a huge set of data and gives you valuable and actionable insights.
The analytics solution delivers an interactive real-time workspace to data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts working on common projects, thus enabling them to quickly perform real-time analysis of large data sets on different topics.
Azure IoT provides users with a platform and a range of services to allow the development of IoT solutions without reinventing the wheel. Azure’s IoT Central (SaaS) gives you pre-configured solutions, while Azure IoT solution accelerators offer flexibility to develop a custom solution based on your organizational needs. Azure IoT Hub is the core platform (PaaS) that supports Azure IoT Central and Azure IoT solution accelerators. Azure IoT also offers numerous SDKs and integration support to connect a range of IoT devices and gather insights from data with advanced analytics and visualization.
Azure data services store and manage your data safely on the cloud. Here is an overview of Azure Storage.
Microsoft Azure’s data storage service delivers secure and scalable cloud storage for structured and unstructured data. Using Azure Storage, you are ensured of safe integration of your on-premises data with the cloud data. Azure Storage supports several popular storage options such as blob, queue, file, and NoSQL. You can store data of any size, from a small blob to a large file, as per your business requirements, without a negative impact on the production environment.
Microsoft Azure offers several development tools and services to improve the overall software development and deployment process. Here’s a quick look at Azure DevOps.
Azure DevOps automates the software delivery process and boosts your software development capabilities by providing a better alternative to self-managed CI/CD servers and open-source DevOps tools. Microsoft Azure DevOps technology empowers you with hassle-free delivery with its fast and reliable tools. It is an extensible platform that has the capability to augment your existing tools and IDEs and offer several integrations in the Marketplace.
Azure compute services are the hosting services responsible for the hosting and running of application workloads. Here’s a look at two of the most frequently used Azure Compute Services - Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) and Azure Container Service.
Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine (VM) is an on-demand, scalable computing resource, which does not require any physical hardware, which also eliminates maintenance cost, giving you the flexibility of virtualization. Cloud administrators simply need to select the operating system, configure required resources, and create the webserver – all of which can be accomplished within a few minutes.
Microsoft Azure helps users leverage the modern container-based development practices and microservice architecture you can migrate.NET applications to microservice using Windows Server containers with Azure Service Fabric. You can also use Azure Kubernetes Service to scale and orchestrate Linux Containers. You have the option to choose between Docker Hub and Azure Container Registry to store images and deploy them to any preferred target. It further simplifies the configuration process and optimizes it on the cloud. It also consumes less space as compared to VMs and starts instantly, thereby speeding up the process.
Azure Network Services are those that perform networking operations within Azure and between Azure and on-premises infrastructure. Here’s a deeper look at the Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) service.
Azure CDN allows the distribution of large files by delivering high bandwidth content and reduce the download time. It caches the file to an Azure data center that is closest to the user’s location, thus lowering the latency to a great extent and decrease the load on the application by relieving it from the whole process of content delivery. End-users derive the main benefit from this service as it delivers an enhanced user experience for them.
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