Azure is Microsoft’s cloud offering. It provides a fantastic set of features and is very business oriented. This is the biggest difference one can see when comparing Azure with other cloud offerings. Companies like Amazon and Google also have cloud services but they are geared differently than Azure. While their backend capabilities are similar, Azure provides a much better approach towards business use cases.
Microsoft is a technology company but it is also a business services company; Microsoft understands how businesses work as its products such as Office, Outlook, and Windows have been used in offices all around the world for decades. This understanding of office culture and organizational needs can be seen in how easy it is to use Azure to provide benefits to the organization. One reason that Azure is so exciting is what the future holds for it; with features like IoT and machine learning being built into Azure users can be assured that it will only get better with time. The fact that it is already a powerful system with limitless use cases makes it an easy pick for any company looking to migrate to the cloud.
1) IoT Services
The Internet of Things has a very different infrastructure than the technologies being used today. In order to enable IoT, companies need cloud services that can intelligently analyze and use sensor data and bind actions based on this sensor data. The internet of things is built on sensors; automation means that the devices need to be able to sense when they should perform a particular task.
Azure has a specialized set of IoT services bundles together to provide everything needed to power an IoT network. This includes DocumentDB, Stream Analytics, HDInsight, and Event Hubs. These services provide data collection, ad-hoc networking and queering, data analysis, and much more. Any company looking to get serious about the Internet of Things will be well served by these services.
2) Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery has always been a strong point of cloud services. Some of the first cloud customers were banks and financial institutions that needed to have access to their data no matter what disaster struck. Azure provides much better disaster recovery options than most of the alternatives. Azure keeps your data safe by making redundant copies in multiple locations. You can manually choose the locations of your database backups but even if you do not, Azure will manage the security by default. Companies can even extend their Active Directory to Azure backups for uninterrupted services even if your main data site goes down.
3) User Generated Content hosting
These days, content is king. User generated content is also notoriously hard to manage; it needs to be categorized, optimized, and processed quickly without needing the user to do anything. User generated content doesn’t just mean videos and pictures uploaded by the users, it also includes comments, reviews, shares, and anything else which users leave on websites. DocumentDB automatically indexes all the data it receives which makes it perfect for storing user generated content of all types.
4) Feature Testing
Azure offers fantastic virtual machine solutions for testing out new features. Almost every respectable cloud service provider allows you to create virtual machines or instances in order to test out features, but Azure is very different when it comes to paying for these virtual machines. Most bill by the hour, so even if you use a VM for only a few minutes your organization will end up paying for an hour’s worth of use. Azure bills you for exactly the time that you use the VMs for, which lowers costs substantially. Microsoft also has very powerful setups available for its virtual machines. You can set up Oracle, Windows, or Linux systems with a single click and choose if you want to run SQL server on it. This saves you time and saves your organization expensive licensing costs.
5) Product databases and catalogs
DocumentDB in Azure is a JSON store, which means it can easily and quickly work with several systems and store information and attributes easily. Azure is very powerful when it comes to complex databases. The more attributes and links there are between data, the more useful Azure will be for your organization. The database can be of products, IoT devices, or any object and Azure will be able to handle it with ease. Nested data and flexible schemas are built into DocumentDB which allows complex databases to work instantaneously.
If you already use Microsoft Azure, here are some of the best practices for monitoring and managing Microsoft Azure.