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Microsoft Azure For Newbies: What You Need To Know

Azure also Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service provider by Microsoft. It offers a range of cloud-based services:

  • Compute
  • Networking
  • Storage
  • Databases
  • Analytics
  • Application services (integrated with other Microsoft services),
  • Mobile applications.

What is Microsoft Azure? 

It refers to several related cloud computing services:

  • Those that provide infrastructure support (“compute,” offering virtual machines)
  • Platform support (“software as a service”; PaaS)
  • Other supporting technologies for building web applications, mobile applications, private enterprise software, and network services.   
  • Scalable Cloud Services for building and deploying applications on the web.
  • Manage backend services, storage services for enterprise applications, disaster recovery, business continuity, database services, and more.

How Does It Work?

  • First of all, you must have an account in Microsoft Azure. Visit this and register.
  • After that, you have to download Azure SDK- this is where you will configure your workstation and manage resources.
  • Then, go to the Azure Portal and create a new Virtual Machine. 
  • If you don’t know how to do it, here is a quick guide about how to create a Virtual Machine in Microsoft Azure video
  • After creating a VM you must configure it and install required software updates on it.

What Are Its Benefits? 

1. Cost-effectiveness

Companies or startups are able to pay only for what they use instead of buying expensive servers, saving money and time.

And if your customer base has grown significantly, you are able to change the resources allocated by increasing them according to demand. 

This is really helpful when it comes to saving money and growing a business, especially for startups or small companies where every dollar counts.   

2. Control over your IT infrastructure

It also allows software developers and other employees to work remotely from different parts of the world.

There’s no need for office space since everything can be done from any place in the world with an internet connection.      

3. Scalability

Scalability means that you are able to extend the capabilities of your software or product without compromising on features.

With Azure, you can scale up (more VMs) and down whenever needed by paying only for what you use during those periods. 

4. Meantime to recovery (MTTR)

Azure also has a feature called “Auto-Recovery” which is really helpful when it comes to having an automated backup system in place. 

This feature protects your applications from downtime. You get notifications about changes in application health any time of the day or night.

With such, you can act quickly if anything happens with your app’s availability. The great thing is that this service doesn’t require additional setup since it’s part of the free tier service.

You can check out Azure Storage Service for details, which is very useful when working with scenarios such as backups, disaster recovery, continuous integration release, and some others.      

5. Performance and Reliability

Azure virtual machines are optimized to run enterprise-critical applications such as SQL Server or SAP HANA. It has a 99.99% SLA on storage while ensuring the maximum availability of data in local replicas. 

Also, you will get notifications about changes in application health any time of the day or night through the “Auto-Recovery” feature. 

If your business is dependent on having an application up 24/7 Azure provides this option by using its geo replica functionality read more here.   

6. Scalability on demand

You can pay only for what you use, as mentioned before. Plus, you get notifications about changes in application health any time of the day or night through the “Auto-Recovery” feature.  

Focus on growing and keeping your business growing. No more hassle and stress on management and calls to the support team for upgrades.

7. No upfront investment for hardware and software

You are able to create new resources in the cloud without having to buy hardware or software and pay for licenses. Needless to say, it’s a big boost for small startup businesses. 

It allows them to focus on their core business since they don’t need to worry about infrastructure maintenance and upkeep. 

You get to use a cloud environment where your application is able to scale in a matter of seconds. This is faster compared to the time it takes for on-premise hardware infrastructure to respond and be ready for additional users.

And since this service costs less than most IaaS providers out there, you’re able to save money by using such a solution. You will have more money left for product development while reducing downtime and other maintenance fees. 

It’s a secure environment where your applications will be hosted in geo-resourced data centers across the world that are owned and managed by Microsoft themselves.   

The “Auto Recovery” feature protects your applications from due downtime. You get to use a cloud environment where your application is able to scale in a matter of seconds. 

This is faster compared to the time it takes for on-premise hardware infrastructure to respond and be ready for additional users.     

Last but not least, Azure costs less than most IaaS providers out there while offering comparable performance as its competitors do.     

What About Other Azure Services?

Here are some of the other services that complement virtual machines:  

1. Azure Websites 

A service that allows you to spin up a website with just one click. You can easily scale your application via the portal or programmatically by making simple changes in files located on GitHub while keeping full control over your source code. 

2. Azure SQL Database 

This is massive database storage used by very large enterprises like Cisco, Samsung, Toyota, etc. Here are some solutions that you can build with Azure virtual machines:  ASP.NET MVC Web Application, Web APIs, and an iPhone application!     

3. Docker

Docker is an open platform for developers and sysadmins to build, ship, and run applications within containers. 

If you write code in any programming language (C#, Java, Node.js, etc.). You can use Docker to quickly build your application inside a container. The great thing about containers is that they are lightweight. 

Microsoft Azure has the following disadvantages

1. Microsoft Azure is not open-source.

The licensing restrictions are too complex to be considered simple and transparent for the clients.   This is a list posted on Microsoft Azure’s website, but it does not include information about limitations due to country of origin.

2. Pricing

Their pricing page also has extra charges that most IaaS providers do not have.  They limit bandwidth usage after which they cut your connection until you upgrade or downgrade your plan based on their terms and conditions.    

3. Support

Support tickets take too long to get answered sometimes. As with any cloud service,  support is crucial. Sometimes clients run into issues or bugs within their applications and they need quick solutions. 

If you can’t contact the right people at the right time, that’s a deal-breaker.      

Microsoft Azure alternatives comparison

Is Azure better than AWS?

Yes, it is! In comparison with AWS,  Microsoft Azure storage offers 99.9% SLA on Storage while ensuring the maximum availability of data in local replicas. 

Get notifications about changes in application health any time of the day or night through the “Auto-Recovery” feature.

As a business owner, you get to save even more because Azure is cheaper compared to AWS. Build a larger infrastructure and scale when needed.No more spending than other providers might charge you.      

Is Google Compute Engine better than Microsoft Azure?

It’s also cheaper, but not as reliable as Azure!  Even though Google Compute Engine offers a competitive pricing structure for VMs created per hour, it doesn’t come close to the 99.9% SLA offered by Azure storage services.     

You can have better performance with Microsoft Azure and take your business to the next level!  Start building your applications today and enjoy all the amazing benefits that this cloud platform has in store for you.  

Deploying virtual machines on such a solution is as easy; you don’t have to be a developer yet. Get to use a highly scalable cloud environment where your application is able to scale in real-time. 

Azure plans comparison

Most businesses have tried or are currently using the Azure cloud service for building their infrastructure and applications.

 But if you’re a newbie, then choosing the correct plan can be quite confusing. There are so many different options out there to choose from.     

Here are some features that you need to look into as you make your decision:

1. Data Transfer

How much data would your application require? Figure this so that you could create an estimate of how long it will take. Get to know this before your data is used up in the allotment.

2. Storage

How many storage accounts would you need?  This will depend on the number of replicas you want for your data. 

Try to base your decision on real-life scenarios as much as possible. Find an alternative if needed.     

3. Application metrics monitoring

How do you measure and monitor each one of your application’s performance? This is very important especially because different applications have different requirements when it comes to performance or resources.      

In summary, 

Azure does provide various tools needed for developing web applications without having to worry about system administration issues.

You can focus more on product development while taking advantage of Azure’s scalability features. Save money on hardware maintenance fees.

Take your business to the next level using Azure.

 

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