Microsoft Azure – Overview

The Microsoft Azure (formerly Windows Azure) is a flexible cloud–computing platform that supports applications, data, and infrastructure in the cloud, together with a cloud marketplace.

The Microsoft Azure platform reduces the level of upfront investment required for expensive infrastructure and allows you to host your server’s infrastructure rather than buying and maintaining your own. With the Microsoft Azure Platform you pay only for what you use, scale up when you need capacity and pull it back when you don’t. Microsoft handle all the patches and maintenance – all in a secure environment with up to 99.95% uptime 24×7.

There are two flexible Cloud Computing platforms, proving both ‘Platform as a Service’ and ‘Infrastructure as a Service.’

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) abstracts IT hardware into a pool of computing, storage and connectivity capabilities that are delivered to you exactly when you need them for a usage-based cost.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivers a range of solutions, both in the cloud and as hybrid applications. Development tooling includes Visual Studio in addition to third party and open source development environments such as PHP, Ruby on Rails and Python.

Microsoft Azure is geo-dispersed and highly available with 11 key Data Centers and over 30 CDN’s, on average Microsoft are adding 1-2 Data Centers a year.

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Microsoft Azure Benefits

  • Increase agility – By using Microsoft Azure customers can increase agility by provisioning environments quickly. Customers will also be able to quickly de-provision environments after they are no longer needed to stopping paying for resources that are no longer being utilized.
  • Reduce Cost – By using Microsoft Azure customers can reduce costs by only paying for what they need (billed per minute). Whole environments can be provisioned, de-provisioned (deleted), or paused when not needed. For example imagine turning off your entire test environment every night or over the weekend when it is not in use.
  • Move from Capital to Operational Expenditures – Microsoft Azure Services require zero upfront costs and can be provisioned in minutes. Virtual Machines are on a pay per use model. When machines are not needed and are de-provisioned there are no costs. This enables teams to run machines only when they are actually being used.
  • No Need to Manage Servers –Customers building environments on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines avoid building and maintaining physical servers in their data centers. This allows them to focus on the business problems and applications not managing servers.
  • Free Up Data Center Capacity –Running environments on Microsoft Azure frees the customer’s existing data centers capacity for production and mission critical workloads. This will also help reduce or postpone the need to expand existing data center capacity.
  • Auto scaling – One of the key benefits that the Microsoft Azure technology platform delivers is the ability to rapidly scale your application in the cloud in response to changes in demand.