What Is Microsoft Windows Azure?
Azure is Microsoft’s platform for both hybrid and fully cloud-based IT architectures. The Azure environment is affordable and infinitely scaleable, allowing organizations to invest in the infrastructure they need and pay only for the exact services they utilize. Microsoft, Azure offers interoperability with the industry’s most popular tools and services.
- Azure supports five data formats and offers short-term and long-term storage solutions.
- Azure makes available a fully functional virtual version of any hardware required in a data center without a massive initial hardware expenditure.
- With Azure, you can back up your storage needs and scale automatically, and as with all Azure products, you pay only for the space and compute time actually used.
Microsoft Azure fundamentals
Many organizations are at some stage of hybridization between legacy architecture and virtualization. Azure’s tools can help you extend your on-premise operations or create new services on Microsoft’s globally distributed hosting centers by offering:
Azure Virtual Network. Build secure networks, isolate testing environments, and quickly filter IP traffic from a central command console. Components you can instantly deploy and manage:
- Gateways and routers
- Load balancers
Azure Virtual Machine (Azure VM) is an image service instance that provides on-demand and scalable computing resources with usage-based pricing. Azure Virtual Machine uses Microsoft’s machine-building tools or selects from the industry’s leading array of virtual machine images (VMIs), including the following:
- Windows, Linux and Ubuntu servers
- Database hosts like SQL, Oracle, IBM and more
- Server fabric cluster images for deploying and managing microservices architectures like Docker, Chef, Puppet and others.
In addition to pay-as-you-use pricing, the total cost of ownership savings include the following:
- No startup costs, termination fees, or hardware expenditures
- Free trial account
- Per-minute pricing for cloud computing services
- Enterprise-grade service-level agreements (SLA) with no additional support contracts
Microsoft Azure Services provide a fully functional virtual version of any hardware required in a data center without a massive initial hardware expenditure. Even better, your infrastructure and services are replicated across Microsoft’s global network, ensuring instant workarounds in the event of local or regional outages.
Microsoft Azure CLI is a cross-platform command-line tool for managing and administering Microsoft Azure.
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) offers the quickest way to start developing and deploying cloud-native apps in Azure, data centers, or at the edge with built-in code-to-cloud pipelines and guardrails.
Intelligent and secure Azure SQL database services make it easy to migrate your SQL workloads with SQL Server on an Azure Virtual Machine.
Does managing all these services, machines, and datasets sound daunting? Azure provides the tools for pinpoint control over when, where, and how often your critical data is backed up.
Build and run apps with Microsoft Azure
For many businesses, nothing is more critical than the methods they use to build, test, deploy, and monitor applications. As a cloud provider, Azure brings all of Microsoft’s famous development tools—and some entirely new ones—to cloud architecture, giving developers more options than ever. Here’s a short list of tools in Azure for taking complete control of your applications in either a hybrid or full cloud environment.
- Build and deploy powerful web and cloud applications and services in minutes with Azure Cloud Services.
- Visual Studio Team Services are especially valuable to smaller teams, VST is free for up to five users and supports development in all languages. The customizable Azure Status dashboards provide a high-level view of development and operations.
- Azure DevTest Labs lets you quickly outline and provision virtual testing environments, selecting from an extensive library of custom image files to get you started. Manage your lab activities from a central screen and streamline work processes to shorten your application delivery cycle.
- Azure’s Web App for Containers supports powerful Docker technology to build and customize applications at the micro level. Take advantage of containers’ ability to autoscale with demand and pay only for the power and cloud services you use.
- HockeyApp, Azure’s Hockey application, helps developers quickly decipher complex crash reports, chart crashes for similarities to aid in troubleshooting, and trim hours spent troubleshooting.
- Xamarin is for developing and managing mobile applications across the ‘big three’ languages—iOS, Android, and Windows—without bogging down the backend details of coding across platforms. Among other enhancements, Xamarin lets developers in your Azure environment instantly integrate authentication across the most popular communities, including:
- Azure Active Directory
- Custom-defined identity parameters
Put together the above capabilities with the right Azure developer associate team, and Azure empowers you to build, test, deploy, and continually improve your critical applications with seamless frequency.
With every passing day and the new technologies it brings, the old way of developing and testing applications in-house is moving further into the rearview mirror. Azure replicates the capabilities of hosting all equipment and processes internally.
But as with most executive information, the true value of all this data power depends on the individual’s ability to see and respond to the critical. That’s where Azure’s rich data management and analytics potential comes in.
Microsoft Azure stack data management
Azure presents various ways to handle your data so you can customize storage and backup policy for your needs. Offering both short-term (hot) and long-term (cool) storage solutions, Azure supports five data formats.
- File a simple, cloud-based replacement for the data center file server that utilizes server message block (SMB) 3.0 encryption for ironclad data security.
- Queue built-in resilience with infinitely scaleable storage that grows on demand and allows your architecture to use queued data to work around outages.
- Disk with industry-leading high availability and a choice between standard hard disk drive (HDD) or ultra-fast solid-state drive (SSD) storage, manage and scale your critical infrastructure data easily.
- Table extremely low latency for structured or unstructured data access to NoSQL, key-value storage.
- Azure Blob manages billions of objects and exabytes of data between hot, cool, and archive layers, with built-in redundancy distributed across global archives.
Microsoft Azure data backup and security
Whatever combination of storage formats you employ, Azure Backup gives you a powerful, centralized management screen for working with hot and cool data. Use the handy GUI tools to simplify backups.
- Cheap elasticity
Gone are the days of bulk buying disk arrays anticipating data growth. With Azure Backup, your storage needs scale automatically, and you pay only for the space and compute time you use.
Provide an extra layer of security for your hot, cool and archived data with industry-leading encryption so virtual machines with highly-sensitive data are backed up and secure.
- Simplified compliance
Many regulated industries, including healthcare, government, education, and others, require adherence to compliance policies for using and storing data. Azure backup makes it easy to instantly create and implement a compliance plan that will satisfy even the most stringent requirements.
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is an enterprise identity service that provides single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and conditional access to guard against 99.9 percent of cybersecurity attacks.
A disaster isn’t a question of if but when. Inevitably all organizations face partial or complete failure, and recovering from it can see a business either thrive or fail. Azure Site Recovery is Microsoft’s cloud and hybrid lifeline.
To provide true replication for immediate recovery, physical data centers require a secondary mirror site that can be brought into production in the event the primary center fails. But Azure provides a cloud solution that doesn’t come with massive upfront spending on hardware, personnel, and utility expenses like electricity and climate control.
With Azure Site Recovery, it’s simple to automate replication and manage disasters from the central Azure Storage Explorer console. Restore an individual object or an entire production environment, even a heterogenous one that mixes platforms like Hyper-V, VMWare, and legacy physical servers.
In the old days, storing and managing data could be one of IT management's most expensive and time-consuming aspects. But making Azure an integral part of your cloud or hybrid environment takes the stress (and much of the cost) out of building sound backup and archive policies.
Microsoft Azure data analytics tools
With so much data streaming around the clock, pinpointing problems that impact performance isn’t finding a needle in a haystack—it’s a needle in a hay field. Fortunately, Microsoft’s Azure platform offers internal tools and partners with third parties to give you options for gaining a visual grasp of your environment.
HD Insight is an open-source, fully managed analytics platform powered by Apache Hadoop that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry (PCI), and Service Organization Controls (SOC) compliance regulations, simplifying your control of the fine workings of your environment.
Data Lake Analytics visualizes your operations with data lake analytics, which can be configured to automatically troubleshoot your apps and provide recommendations for improving performance and lowering costs.
Azure Machine Learning empowers data scientists and developers to build, deploy, and manage high-quality models quickly and confidently. It accelerates time to value with industry-leading machine learning operations (MLOps), open-source interoperability, and integrated tools. A drag-and-drop GUI interface makes it simple to build and deploy machine learning and advanced analytics solutions that are completely managed in the cloud. Powerful partnering solutions maximize the power of your Azure environment with the Sumo Logic App for Azure, an industry leader in data analytics, visualization, and monitoring.
Microsoft Azure management with Sumo Logic
Sumo Logic enables you to support your on-premises and Azure apps. Simple integration with Azure Monitor and Event Hub and out-of-the-box content provides visibility into Azure Audit, Network Inspector, SQL, Active Directory, and more. Learn more about how Sumo Logic helps secure Azure apps with built-in machine learning and simplify compliance requirements.
Complete visibility for DevSecOps
Reduce downtime and move from reactive to proactive monitoring.