Almost every business has some of its operations taking place in the cloud. Indeed, cloud computing is not only a current and prominent method of conducting business, it’s also the future of many different industries. Whether it’s for data storage, application/website hosting, app development, maintaining a cloud-based server, handling infrastructure, or deploying SaaS (software as a service) solutions, the cloud is a magnificent tool to suit virtually every need. A major player in the world of cloud computing is Microsoft Azure, a powerful and versatile cloud solution for businesses. In this article, we’ll tell you about Microsoft Azure and what you need to know about how to use it to benefit your business.
Microsoft Azure Defined
Microsoft Azure is a versatile cloud platform for use with a lot of different functions and ways to help businesses from a wide spectrum of different industries. Users are empowered to create cloud-based resources that can be applied across many different types of business tasks. These can include virtual machines, containers (which is one of the most popular uses for the service), hosting databases, backups, media, and much more. Think of it as the cloud-based parallel to Microsoft Windows, only instead of being an operating system for a specific machine or network of machines, it’s a full operating system for the cloud. Azure supports a large number of programming languages and operating systems.
Uses And Applications
Microsoft Azure has plenty to offer. As a public cloud computing platform, it has several different service models and worthwhile features that users can use for a wide array of business functions. Microsoft breaks its functions down into six primary categories: Operations, Applications, Storage, Networking, Computing, and Identity. It also offers the following service models:
- Software as a Service
- Platform as a Service
- Infrastructure as a Service
And a not insignificant amount of deployment features, including a tools-based approach, app service management, and external pipelines. Essentially, Azure has everything a company needs for accomplishing virtually any business task.
Building applications in Microsoft Azure requires a bit of study into how its different architectures work. While Microsoft themselves provide a handy guide, the idea behind architecting an application that will be extremely functional and useful in the program is to design it in a certain way.
Microsoft recommends creating a self-healing program that can fix itself in the event of a failure on top of building some redundancies into your application.
This will effectively prevent a single point of failure from bringing down the entire thing. If you want to make your application scalable, you’ll need to minimize the coordination between the different application services in order to achieve that particular goal.
You can also leverage partitioning around any computer, database, or network limitations and tailor it to your specific business needs. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with designing applications and container instances. You’ll be glad you did, as you’ll be well equipped to design any application for Microsoft Azure using managed services (PaaS), creating a database, or using the service as a host.
Microsoft Azure has something else unique going for it: its well-architected framework. The well-architected framework is a set of guidelines you can use to improve workload quality. The core tenets of the framework are reliability (recovering from failures), security (protecting everything), optimizing cost (cost management), operational excellence (everything working consistently as it should), and performance efficiency (adapt and scale to changes).
Azure has built-in features that help you measure and analyze your workloads against these metrics, making it easy to work within the idea of the well-architected framework. Using these tools is a good method of ensuring Azure workloads are operating optimally and producing high-quality, incredibly stable cloud architecture.
The topic of security for Microsoft Azure is complex and highly nuanced, not to mention extensive. Securing Azure is actually pretty simple. Microsoft already built-in several security tools such as vulnerability scanning, monitoring, firewalls, penetration testing, role-based access, layered security architecture, encryption, and analytics.
But there’s always a way to take your security to the next level.
For example, you could always implement an additional security measure at runtime by using additional cloud-based security programs with your azure container instances.
It’s pretty easy to do and set up while also enhancing your overall security. Whether you decide to use only Azure’s built-in features or are determined to supplement it with additional security layers, keeping your containers secure is critical to getting the most out of the platform.