With more of us than ever working from home than before, if you don’t know what Microsoft Azure is already, then you need to.
Microsoft Azure offers lots of great benefits to businesses through its cloud infrastructure. It can help you transform into the digital powerhouse you need to be in the 21st century to compete.
In this article, we’ll be guiding you through everything you need to know about the platform.
An Introduction to Cloud Computing
To understand Microsoft Azure, first, you need to have a basic understanding of cloud computing.
You probably already use cloud computing services, whether you know it or not. For example, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive are both cloud computing services. All it means is you’re using the internet to store your business’s software, files, and more as opposed to storing them in a physical hard drive.
Cloud computing files and software are all stored on huge remote servers, provided by a given company. This allows you to access them wherever and whenever you need to, provided you have an internet connection.
What Is Microsoft Azure?
If the above didn’t give it away already, Azure is a cloud computing service owned by Microsoft.
There are a huge amount of products and services that you can use on the Azure platform. It’s where Microsoft hosts most of its SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS products.
Generally speaking though, these products can be grouped into three main functions:
- Virtual machines
- Cloud services
- App services
Virtual machines sound complicated, but they’re actually quite a simple idea.
A virtual machine is a given computer file. This file ‘acts’ like a real computer. Web developers use these files to test and trial new changes in a safe sandbox environment.
Because the virtual machine is closed off from the rest of the system, it means any changes made won’t affect the wider system. A great example of what a virtual machine could be used for is to access virus-infected data. This data may infect the virtual machine, but it is unable to spread further.
Microsoft Azure offers a huge host of SaaS products on the platform. Some of the most popular products are:
- Web development tools
- Operating systems
- Networking firewalls
The big benefit of the Azure service products is instead of paying for a whole product to install onto a hard drive, you only pay for what you really use. You’ll also get access to the latest updates without needing to purchase new programs every year.
Microsoft Azure app services are vast. There are a huge amount of web development apps offered within the service that can help IT teams.
One of the reasons the Azure app service is so popular is because of the wide variety of programming languages and frameworks it can work with.
Who Uses Microsoft Azure?
A staggering amount of businesses use Microsoft Azure. An estimated 85% of Fortune 500 companies are using the Microsoft Cloud in some manner, while the Azure platform has more than 715 million users.
This is due to the vast nature of the platform and the huge amount of services offered. But it’s also because it’s from such a large and trusted brand. Businesses of all sizes use the platform and it may well be right for yours too.
Benefits of Microsoft Azure
The biggest benefit of Microsoft Azure revolves around cost. For many smaller businesses, investing in many different programs is a cost they simply can’t afford. They also then have the additional challenge of having the computing power to actually run the programs.
Azure is an on-demand licensing model. This means you pay for what you use when you use it. This allows businesses access to programs they may otherwise be unable to afford or host.
All this allows businesses to be more productive and efficient with the right tools for the job at a better cost.
Another big benefit of the platform is the fact that it’s owned by Microsoft. Being one of the largest multinational computer technology companies in the world means Azure is both dependable and secure.
Microsoft invests a huge amount of money into cybersecurity. This ensures any client or customer data you have on the platform benefits from this investment.
By dependable, we mean all Azure services are virtual. This means, unlike physical hardware, they won’t crash and cause operations downtime in your business.
How Much Does Microsoft Azure Cost?
Because of the pay-as-you-go nature of Azure, this isn’t a simple answer. How much Azure costs will vary on how many programs you’re using and how much you’re using them.
Don’t let the mysteriousness of it put you off though. There are no upfront costs to sign up for Azure so you can figure out what you need within the platform before you pay for it.
All you need to do to join is provide basic information about your company and provide a payment method. Microsoft often has offers for new users to receive $200 in credit for the first month while they try the service.
All this to say, it’s very low risk for businesses.
If you’ve decided you’d like to trial Microsoft Azure for your business, it’s well worth ensuring you follow Microsoft Azure optimization best practices to get off to the best start.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service with a huge range of products and services available. For businesses, it can be an invaluable resource due to its affordability, dependability, and security.
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