Azure is part of Microsoft cloud computing services and was launched in 2010. Since then, it has grown in popularity. Nearly 90% of Fortune-500 companies are using Microsoft Azure, previously known as Windows Azure for managing their diversified business. The deeply integrated Microsoft Azure cloud solutions allow enterprises to build, deploy and manage from simple to complex apps easily. It supports wide range of programming languages, databases, devices, frameworks and operating systems. Extensive range of Microsoft Azure cloud solutions has made it so popular in short span of time.
Along with exceptional IaaS and PaaS facilities the security of Azure is another feature that makes it outstanding. It has been designed with Security Development Lifecycle or SDL which keeps data and information highly secured. It can access data in SQL and NoSQL and comes with facilities to get business insights for better decision making. Azure uses C#, C++ and Visual Basic as programming languages. Consultants can develop cloud computing solutions and its hybrid capabilities that can work in combination with various Virtual Private Networks ensure regular improvement in performance of these applications.
To gauze the capabilities of Microsoft Azure services understanding its major features is important. Here is list of top 10 Microsoft Azure services that are used most commonly and are major reasons for radical growth in popularity of this platform.
1. Virtual Machines or VMs
This is one of the main features of Azure cloud computing services. You can create virtual machines on windows or Linux platforms easily. You can create these virtual machines as per your needs like compute-optimized machine, memory-optimized or general purpose machine etc.
2. Active Directory
This is another most popular and one of the key features of Azure cloud computing solutions. Azure Active Directory or Azure AD is unlike Windows Server Active Directory which is on-premise facility. Azure AD gives rights to access applications running Microsoft Azure and on-premise environment. However Windows server active directory can be synced with Azure AD using AAD sync. By creating active directories enterprises gain considerable security from cyber encroachments and attacks. This requires single sign-on which makes accessing apps from anywhere simple. It also segregates rights and authorities of internal users and allows maintaining external users simultaneously.
It is most appreciated Azure cloud computing services which allows planning, tracking and discussion among teams very simple through agile tools. Azure DevOps services are ideal for building, testing and deploying with CICD as it provides access and collaboration with unlimited cloud-hosted private Git repos. Along with these Azure Devops server provides Azure Test Plans, Azure Artifacts and extension platform where you can access 1000+ extensions from Slack to Sonarcloud contributed by community.
4. Cosmos DB
Cosmos DB is Azure database that comes with high availability and low latency. It can be distributed globally with transparent master-replication. Cosmos DB is described by Microsoft for planet-based applications. It comes with single-digit latency in reading and writing data and 99.999-percent availability. Its elastic automatic-scaling matches demand with capability and comes with wire-protocol endpoints for API connectivity with MongoDB, SQL, Gremlin, Etcd and Table. Data sets in NoSql, MongoDB and Cassandra can be migrated smoothly to CosmosDB. This Azure database has been designed to handle mission-critical enterprise level workloads, keeping cost under control and smooth down or up-scaling.
5. Azure API Apps
Azure API apps have been developed for developers and vendors/publishers to provide them with means to create, develop, use and manage RESTFul Web APIs for their software/apps. Azure API Apps provide –
- SaaS connectivity
- Integration with Azure App services like Logic Apps, Mobile Apps and Web-Apps.
- Automation and management of process of creation, versioning, deploying and managing APIs.
- And, to create APIs in any languages such as Java, Python, .Net etc.
6. Azure Logic Apps
Enterprises need mechanism to automate business processes and integrating application for smooth working. Azure Logic Apps provide exactly the same which make this feature one of the top features of Azure cloud services. These are also called as ‘Server-less Apps’. These apps provide a mechanism for application integration and workflow definition in the cloud. Logic Apps is fully managed IPaaS with inbuilt scalability.
7. Azure CDN
Azure Content Delivery Network with the help of local nodes placed globally offers high-bandwidth and reduces latency time in delivering content to users. It caches content that is frequently used by user and also accelerates dynamic content by leveraging various network optimizing tools like CDN POPs.
8. Azure Bot Framework
This is one of the crucial features of Azure. Bots reduce time and save money. Users love to interact with Bots as these are available 24/7 and provide precise answers. Azure Bot Framework provides tools and services which developers need to integrate bots over different platforms without worrying about other details.
9. Azure Disaster Recovery
In matter of few minutes you can setup a recovery VM in different Azure region to secure the data. Site recovery is one of the major concerns of enterprises which make this feature very important for Azure users. Azure Site recovery is simple to setup and use. Applications running over multiple virtual machines are free from recovery issues. By enabling Site Recovery you can ensure compliance of industry regulations such ISO 27001.
10. Azure Backup
This feature of Azure secures data in Virtual Machines, SQL workloads and also in on-premise VMware apps. It is cost-effective and protects data from human errors and ransomwares. The central backup management portal of Azure manages entire activity and resources efficiently.
Azure cloud solutions come with massive variety which most of the time can lead to confusion. Enterprises need to focus on value of services to build an effective cloud environment. To make optimum use of Azure services knowledge and expertise over AWS is vital. However Azure itself has a very easy learning curve. Developers can develop apps using C# or C++ and Visual Basic which makes it easier platform. Pay-as-you-go option makes it cost-effective. Even medium or small industries can think of using these services managing against budget constraints and carry out a gradual shift.