If you're invested in Microsoft technologies, migrating to the cloud, using the Internet of Things (IoT) or considering a move to DevOps, you need to be aware of Azure. You’ve probably heard of Azure — especially if you're familiar with the concept infrastructure as code — but you may not be clear on its finer points. So, what is Azure?
Simply put, Azure is Microsoft's public cloud service. Like its competitors, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud, Azure offers infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) but also storage, databases, active directory and a host of other services.
What is Microsoft Azure?
Azure gives an organization all the building blocks it needs to have an IT infrastructure. Azure lets users store data, build websites, create and deploy solutions, customize applications and create virtual machines through infrastructure as code. And, as with other IaaS applications, users only pay for what they use, as they're using it.
Azure is agile and flexible, and most importantly, it's Microsoft-backed. If your organization has already invested in Microsoft 365, Azure will play well with that software in a way that other public clouds may not.
Why does your company need Azure?
Companies typically use Azure for a few key scenarios:
- As a cloud-based backup
- To manage IoT devices
- For DevOps
- For scalability
As a backup system: If there’s an outage or your on-premise system fails, Azure can function as your system's backup. It offers an entire suite of solutions, such as DNS server backup and data recovery. In the interim, you can run your systems off the cloud.
As IoT device management: IoT security is more important than ever. Devices with sensors offer hackers a lot of attack vectors, so you need to be aware of all your IoT devices and manage them as if they were computers. Azure offers a compliance manager for these devices, which helps you keep up with compliance management for your entire IoT network.
For DevOps and deployment: Azure offers a container management system that can be deployed against multiple environments. You can spin up environments quickly and automate software delivery easily.
For scalability: When a company is acquired, IT integration is often a problem, especially if one hasn't migrated their data to the cloud. Using Azure often makes this process easier — to migrate to the cloud, to work with other teams or to streamline an organization's infrastructure. In fact, if your organization might be acquired or expanding, it's a good business move to use Azure because it will make your company more attractive to any organization that might acquire it.
Getting started with Azure
Think you should be using Azure but aren't sure how to get started?
If you don't have a specialist on staff, your next step is finding a Microsoft partner near you to help with your implementation. A Microsoft partner is a technology consulting company that has proven itself; they specialize in Microsoft technologies and deliver solutions and support at the highest level. They can help you understand your use case, what tools your company is already using and how Azure can help you meet your specific business needs.
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