Azure is Microsoft’s cloud offering. With Azure, Microsoft is trying to chip away at the market share of Amazon’s Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and other competitors. Azure has many great things to offer and the biggest one is that it integrates properly with other Microsoft products. This is where Microsoft and Google have a huge advantage over Amazon; people already trust their products and are familiarized with them. Amazon has impressing cloud offerings, but people haven’t really ever used Amazon for anything other than buying products. We have been using email, search, operating systems, and more from Microsoft and Google, which makes us more open to adopting their cloud platforms. The basic features of all the cloud offerings are very similar and in order to compete they have to offer good cloud storage and servers.
Where the products differ are the new features they are working on. All the big companies offering cloud services know that what they need killer features in order to dominate the market. If you are interested in Microsoft Azure or have been looking for a cloud platform to adopt, then here are 3 Azure features you need to know about.
Cloud services are great but there is a slight issue; you don’t have complete control over them. The minute you decide to shift to the cloud, your server and your computing power goes away from your hand. There are also the minor disadvantages of slower read speeds as well as less privacy. If you truly want to control everything about your data and computing while still benefiting from cloud services, then you need to look at hybrid services. Hybrid services combine cloud and private networks to give you the best of both worlds. Azure Stack is still in beta so it might require a bit more polish with time, but it is still a great hybrid solution.
With Azure Stack, you do not take your data into Azure, instead Azure comes to your data center and works within the bounds of your data network. This allows you to control each and every aspect of your data and where it is transmitted. It also allows you to work much faster than a pure cloud service will ever be able to do.
We cannot state how much of a difference this makes; when you work with Azure, you are working with software you already know. If you were to look at how Amazon Web Services work, you might have a hard time understanding as it requires proper training and could take you a few weeks or months to be able to grasp the AWS functionalities. There is no such learning curve when it comes to Microsoft Azure. This is Microsoft’s biggest advantage when it comes to new services – people have been using Microsoft Software since they started using computers. Even people who use Apple computers use Microsoft Office. This means that there is a design language by Microsoft which we all understand and it is easy for us to grasp a completely new product which uses the same design language.
If your organization is new to cloud computing and other services then this will make a huge difference. It isn’t just for casual users either; even your developers will be surprised by how easy it is for them to work with Microsoft Azure since it uses the same conventions as almost all of Microsoft’s development frameworks and software. Using Microsoft Azure is like entering a new building and realizing you already know where every room is, since you’ve been in the exact same designed building somewhere else.
If you are into gaming then you will know who Cortana is. Cortana was the name of the Artificial Intelligence which helped Master Chief in the Halo video game series. When Microsoft launched their own commercial machine learning suite they named it Cortana. The name might have a fun backstory, but Cortana is nothing to joke about. It is an impressive piece of machine learning service which you can use in your analytics and network to make it better. The Cortana Intelligence Suite uses machine learning to analyze data and predict the future. It is also very simple to set up; if you know what you are doing with your own data, it will take you a few minutes to have Cortana up and running on your data servers. Machine learning is the future and it is nice to see Microsoft include it in Azure.