For many people Microsoft Azure is a cloud platform that is a place for hosting your data. This only begins to scratch the surface on what it can do, it’s like describing a Swiss Army Knife as just a knife.

Microsoft calls Azure “An ever-expanding set of cloud services to help your organisation meet your business challenges. It’s the freedom to build, manage, and deploy applications on a massive, global network using your favourite tools and frameworks.”

Thinking about Azure in this way opens up a myriad of possibilities. It’s not just for Microsoft products either, you can host any application and there is a range of hybrid options for those not ready for 100% cloud.

With Azure you can easily:

  1. Test and develop intelligent applications and services in a flexible way that suits you
  2. Create a reliable home for all of your portals, websites, apps and data
  3. Provide a better framework for centralised authentication of on premise and cloud based applications
  4. Enhance data security with cloud-based back-up and disaster recovery services for on premise, hybrid or pure cloud-based systems

Azure services

Azure is actually a collection of over 100 distinct services and more in the pipeline. Each service comes with a cost which is based on the system usage. Many of these services are free for the first few thousand calls and this allows you to test them out.

Engage users in richer ways by building native mobile apps, responsive web apps, bots and mixed reality.

Develop with open-source technologies such as Kubernetes and modernise applications using serverless computing with Azure Functions.

Easily connect applications, data and devices by taking advantage of more than 150 out-of-the-box connectors that include Salesforce, Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox and Google services.

Any tool, language or framework

Azure is easy to use because of its flexibility, you can develop applications using any language you want, the platform is built to work for you.

Azure has a number of tools to improve your capability and productivity, that are available on PC or Mac. Visual studio is a great tool that makes creating code on Azure easy. This paired with the Visual Studio App centre, allows you to quickly create and test hybrid applications including native mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Infrastructure, Networking and Security

You can design and build your own infrastructure solution completely in Azure. Leveraging Azure’s powerful software defined networking security features, unlimited compute and storage all with their own high availability and scalability features. Not all organisations are ready or able to move completely to the cloud right now with their entire infrastructure but Azure is flexible enough to allow you to make this move at your own pace. This makes operational and commercial sense and support a hybrid on-premise and cloud based infrastructure where you get the best of both worlds.

If you are using Office 365 then you may not know it, but you are already using Azure Active Directory for authentication. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities where Azure can act as the central security authority for all your supported cloud-based services as well as your on-premise services. Additional security features such as multi-factor authentication, conditional access and self-service password reset can all be enabled to enhance your security. These are all services that would need a lot of on-premise hardware in the past but can now all be enabled as a service in Azure.

Manage your Apps

Manage the applications no matter how large or complex. In Azure use the management tools you feel most comfortable with, including the Azure portal, PowerShell, BASH or REST APIs.

Easily automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, speed up application delivery and eliminate errors. Get built-in support for application monitoring, log analytics, patching, backup and website recovery so you focus on your app, not infrastructure.

Read our article on Azure Operations Management Suite (OMS) for more information.

Speed and Agility

Speed to market and Agile development are top priorities in today’s fast moving market. The development platform has DevOps built in as part of the end-to-end service offered.

Save even more time and money by moving your development and test environments to the cloud where you can provision and spin up your development environment in minutes.

Keep it secure

Microsoft leads the industry in establishing clear security and privacy requirements and then consistently meeting these requirements. Azure meets a broad set of international and industry-specific compliance standards, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ISO 27001, as well as country-specific standards, including UK G-Cloud. Rigorous third-party audits, such as those undertaken by the British Standards Institute, verify Azure’s adherence to the strict security controls these standards mandate.

 

Azure is a massive platform with services for application development, cloud infrastructure, infrastructure management, AI, Data Science, Hybrid cloud deployment and a host of other capability. Almost all of the services complement each other and work together to drive huge synergies across your infrastructure and application development. The benefits of using Azure include; more capability, improved application development, more flexible and resilient infrastructure and the list goes on and on.

Please get in touch to talk to our team of certified Azure consultants to see how we can help.