Microsoft Azure: A Quick Overview

Microsoft Azure: A Quick Overview

Our previous blog post (Year of the Cloud), argued that a tipping point had been reached in enterprise cloud adoption. In this post, we present an overview of Microsoft Azure, the world’s fastest growing cloud platform for corporate and public sector organisations.

What is Azure?

Launched in February 2010 (as Windows Azure), Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service for building, testing, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centres.

Azure provides Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) supporting a range of different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Since launch, Azure has grown to become the world’s best cloud services platform for corporate customers measured in terms of revenue; completeness of offering; future vision; scalability; use of advanced technologies to help customers drive digital transformation; and ability to perform across a wide range of industries – see Microsoft Azure: The World’s #1 Cloud Services Platform

In June of last year, the central role of Azure in supporting digital transformation was recognised by Gartner with Microsoft being positioned as a leader in their Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Magic Quadrant for the fourth consecutive year – see Microsoft Azure: A Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant

More than 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use Microsoft’s cloud services.

Azure Services

Azure provides a wide range of services, applications and related products grouped around the categories shown in the Infographic below.

Figure 1: Azure Solutions

Azure SolutionsAzure Solutions

 Source: Microsoft Azure Solutions

The 3-minute video embedded below illustrates the comprehensive range of Azure cloud services available to developers and IT professionals for building, deploying and managing applications, from simple mobile apps to complex enterprise solutions.

Source: Tour of Microsoft Azure

Azure Data Centres

The Azure Platform is supported by a growing network of Microsoft-managed data centres providing highly reliable, operationally excellent, cost-effective, environmentally sustainable and trustworthy cloud computing experiences for customers and partners worldwide.

It is available in over 140 countries served by the data centres shown below, backed by Microsoft’s $15 billion (USD) investment in global data centre infrastructure.

Three new UK Azure data centres were opened in September 2016, in London, Durham and Cardiff.

A short pictorial tour of a typical centre can be found here.

Figure 2: Microsoft Worldwide Data Centres

Microsoft Worldwide Data Centres

Source: Photos: A tour inside one of Microsoft's cloud datacenters

Why Choose Azure

A growing number of organisations around the world are choosing Azure over the previous cloud leader AWS – see Azure v AWS.

  • Azure provides more comprehensive compliance coverage than AWS, being the first major cloud provider to contractually commit to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Security, privacy and compliance are embedded into the core development methodology of Azure, providing world class protection.
  • Azure hybrid solutions offer complete portability of applications and workloads, reducing risks and complexity.
  • For UK customers, local Azure data centres ensure high performance, reliability and support.
  • World class IaaS, SaaS and PaaS solutions using any development tool or language.
  • Leading-edge solutions incorporating emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, cognitive APIs, bots, machine learning, the blockchain, big data and predictive analytics.
  • Flexible pricing options to meet the needs of both large and small organisations.

To see how leading brands are successfully using Azure please see here – Azure Case Studies.

Accelerating Digital through Azure

As stated in our previous post, migrating to the cloud does not automatically translate into successful digital transformation. A range of other complex issues are involved. Digital transformation, however, cannot take place unless supported by the flexibility, lower costs, enhanced efficiency, performance and security provided by a cloud-enabled infrastructure such as Azure.

By providing the ability to scale up or down, efficiency, elasticity and cost optimisation, Microsoft Azure facilitates new ways of working, acting as a catalyst for accelerating the digital transformation of your organisation.

As a Gold Competency Microsoft Cloud Platform partner, Bridgeall can support your journey to the cloud in a number of ways:

  • Cloud Readiness Assessment
  • ROI Calculation Service
  • Design and Architecture
  • Prototypes and Proof-of-cConcepts
  • Information Architecture Design
  • Development & Implementation
  • Operational Management Services

Please do not hesitate to Contact Us if you think we can help.

The next post in this series will provide highly practical advice on planning your journey to Azure.