Azure Services

Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform. Through its Microsoft Partnership, CTO provides a range of Azure Services, including compute, analytics, storage, and networking. Clients can pick and choose from these Azure Services to develop and scale new applications, or run existing applications in the public cloud.

In addition, Azure Services offers 4 different forms of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and serverless.

CTO charges for Azure Services on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning customers receive a bill each month that only charges them for the specific resources they have used. Alternatively, if customers’ usage is more certain, they can reserve resources on a 1 Year or 3 Year term (called an Upfront Reserved Instance) for a significantly reduced fee.

CTO’s use of the Azure platform aims to help businesses manage challenges and meet their organisational goals. Azure Services provides tools that support all industries – including e-commerce and finance – and is compatible with open-source technologies. This provides users with the flexibility to use their preferred tools and technologies.

What do CTO typically use Microsoft Azure for?

Because Microsoft Azure consists of numerous service offerings, its use cases are extremely diverse. Running virtual machines in the cloud is one of the most popular uses for Microsoft Azure. These compute resources can host infrastructure components, such as domain name system (DNS) servers; Windows Server services — such as Internet Information Services (IIS); or third-party applications. Microsoft also supports the use of third-party operating systems, such as Linux.

Azure for DR and Backup

Some organizations use Azure for data backup and, through Azure Site Recovery (ASR), disaster recovery. CTO can assist clients’ use of Azure as an alternative to their own data centre. Many organizations also use Azure storage as an archive, in order to meet their long-term Data retention requirements.

Azure for Hosting Sage and SAP

Rather than invest in local servers and storage, some organisations choose to run some, or all, of their business applications in Azure. As such, Azure is also commonly used as a platform for hosting databases in the cloud. Microsoft offers serverless relational databases such as Azure SQL and non-relational databases such  as NoSQL.

CTO has extensive experience of using Azure Services to run Sage and SAP Business One in the cloud, rather than committing significant capital expenditure to hardware in order to run these line-of-business application on-premise. We work closely with numerous Sage and SAP third party providers to specify the perfect solution for the business or organisation.

Azure products and services

Microsoft sorts Azure Services into nearly two dozen categories: –

Compute. These services enable a user to deploy and manage VMs, containers and batch jobs, as well as support remote application access. Compute resources created within the Azure cloud can be configured with either public IP addresses or private IP addresses, depending on whether the resource needs to be accessible to the outside world.

Mobile. These products help developers build cloud applications for mobile devices, providing notification services, support for back-end tasks, tools for building application program interfaces (APIs) and the ability to couple geospatial context with data.

Web. These services support the development and deployment of web applications. They also offer features for search, content delivery, API management, notification and reporting.

Storage. This category of services provides scalable cloud storage for structured and unstructured data. It also supports big data projects, persistent storage and archival storage.

Analytics. These services provide distributed analytics and storage, as well as features for real-time analytics, big data analytics, data lakes, machine learning (ML), business intelligence (BI), internet of things (IoT) data streams and data warehousing.

Networking. This group includes virtual networks, dedicated connections and gateways, as well as services for traffic management and diagnostics, load balancing, DNS hosting and network protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Media and content delivery network (CDN). These CDN services include on-demand streaming, digital rights protection, encoding and media playback and indexing.

Integration. These are services for server backup, site recovery and connecting private and public clouds.

Identity. These offerings ensure only authorized users can access Azure services and help protect encryption keys and other sensitive information in the cloud. Services include support for Azure Active Directory and multifactor authentication (MFA).

Internet of things. These services help users capture, monitor and analyze IoT data from sensors and other devices. Services include notifications, analytics, monitoring and support for coding and execution.

DevOps. This group provides project and collaboration tools, such as Azure DevOps — formerly Visual Studio Team Services — that facilitate DevOps software development processes. It also offers features for application diagnostics, DevOps tool integrations and test labs for build tests and experimentation.

Development. These services help application developers share code, test applications and track potential issues. Azure supports a range of application programming languages, including JavaScript, Python, .NET and Node.js. Tools in this category also include support for Azure DevOps, software development kits (SDKs) and blockchain.

Security. These products provide capabilities to identify and respond to cloud security threats, as well as manage encryption keys and other sensitive assets.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. This is a wide range of services that a developer can use to infuse artificial intelligence, machine learning and cognitive computing capabilities into applications and data sets.

Containers. These services help an enterprise create, register, orchestrate and manage huge volumes of containers in the Azure cloud, using common platforms such as Docker and Kubernetes.

Management and governance. These services provide a range of backup, recovery, compliance, automation, scheduling and monitoring tools that can help a cloud administrator manage an Azure deployment.

Blockchain. The Azure Blockchain Service allows you to join a blockchain consortium or to create your own.

Mixed reality. These services are designed to help developers create content for the Windows Mixed Reality environment.

Databases. This category includes Database as a Service (DBaaS) offerings for SQL and NoSQL, as well as other database instances — such as Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Database for PostgreSQL. It also includes Azure SQL Data Warehouse support, caching and hybrid database integration and migration features. Azure SQL is the platform’s flagship database service. It is a relational database that provides SQL functionality without the need for deploying a SQL server.

Migration. This suite of tools helps an organization estimate workload migration costs and perform the actual migration of workloads from local data centers to the Azure cloud.

Intune. Microsoft Intune can be used to enroll user devices, thereby making it possible to push security policies and mobile apps to those devices. Mobile apps can be deployed either to groups of users or to a collection of devices. Intune also provides tools for tracking which apps are being used. A remote wipe feature allows the organization’s data to be securely removed from devices without removing a user’s mobile apps in the process.

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