Microsoft Azure is the public cloud computing platform by Microsoft which offers software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It comprises more than 600 cloud services and supports varied operating systems, databases, and developer tools. And, even better, Splunk On-Call integrates with Microsoft Azure to help on-call teams improve incident response for Azure-based environments.
Below is a brief overview of some of the most popular Microsoft Azure services and how you can leverage them across your entire architecture:
The List of Microsoft Azure Services
1) Azure Application Services
Azure application services help you develop, deploy, and maintain various applications on the Azure platform. These include Azure AI, Azure Analytics, Azure IoT, Azure Active Directory (AD), Azure Media Services, and Azure Scheduler.
Let’s look at the three most notable application services: Azure AI, Azure Analytics, and Azure IoT.
1.1 Azure AI
Microsoft Azure enables your AI teams to have quick access to AI services and helps you engage with customers, empower your employees, and optimize business processes across the organization. Your developers can create interactive applications on Azure’s AI Platform which offers AI capabilities like NLP, speech recognition, voice synthesis, face detection, video indexing, and text analytics.
Further, Microsoft Azure Bot Service releases intelligent agents on different platforms (website, facebook messenger, skype, email, SMS, etc.) that can be used to create intelligent chat applications.
1.2 Azure Analytics
You can process and analyze large volumes of data to make well-informed critical business decisions with Azure’s analytics suite. It allows your analytics team to run complicated queries across huge sets of data and get actionable insights.
Backed by Apache, the analytics solution offers an interactive real-time workspace to your data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts working on shared projects that enable them to quickly perform real-time analysis of large data sets on varied topics.
1.3 Azure Internet of Things (IoT)
Azure IoT provides your organization with platform and services that can help you develop IoT solutions without reinventing the wheel. Azure’s IoT Central (SaaS) offers pre-configured solutions while “Azure IoT solution accelerators” offer more flexibility to develop a custom solution for your organization. Azure IoT Hub - is the core platform (PaaS) supporting Azure IoT Central and Azure IoT solution accelerators.
Further, Azure IoT offers numerous SDKs and integration support for connecting a range of IoT devices and gather insights from the incoming data with advanced analytics and visualization.
2) Azure Data Services
Below is an overview of Azure Storage, one of the most prevalent data services provided by Microsoft Azure.
2.1 Azure Storage
Microsoft Azure’s data storage service offers secure and scalable cloud storage for both, structured and unstructured data. Using Azure Storage, your data security experts can ensure safe integration of your on-premise data with the cloud data.
Azure Storage supports multiple storage options such as blob, queue, file, and NoSQL. You can store any size of data, from a small size blob to a large file, as per your business requirement without affecting the production environment.
3) Azure Development Services
Microsoft Azure offers multiple development tools and services to enhance the overall software development and deployment process. Here’s a quick look at one of the essential services by Microsoft i.e. Azure DevOps, enabling continuous delivery to customers.
3.1 Azure DevOps
Azure DevOps automates your software delivery process and boosts your software development by providing an alternative to the self-managed CI/CD servers and open source DevOps tools. Microsoft Azure DevOps technology can help you in hassle-free delivery with its fast and reliable tools. It is an extensible platform which can augment your existing tools and IDEs and offer hundreds of integrations in the Marketplace.
4) Azure Compute Services
Azure compute services are the hosting services responsible for hosting and running the application workloads. These include Azure Virtual Machines (VMs), Azure Container Service, Azure App Services, Azure Batch, and Azure ServiceFabric.
Here’s a brief note on two of the most frequently used Azure Compute Services: Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) and Azure Container Service:
4.1 Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)
A Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine (VM) is an on-demand, scalable computing resource. You don’t need to buy any physical hardware and bear its maintenance cost; you have the flexibility of virtualization. Your cloud administrators only need to select the operating system, configure the required resources, and create the web server – all this gets done within a few minutes.
4.2 Azure Container Service
Azure helps you leverage the modern container-based development practices and microservices architecture. You can migrate your .NET applications to microservices using Windows Server containers with Azure Service Fabric. Further, you can use Azure Kubernetes Service to scale and orchestrate Linux Containers.
You can choose between Docker Hub and Azure Container Registry to store your images and deploy to any preferred target. Moreover, it simplifies the configuration process and optimizes it for the cloud. The major advantage is that it consumes less space as compared to VMs and starts instantly; hence speeding up the processes.
5) Azure Network Services
Azure Network Services refer to those services that perform networking operations within Azure and between Azure and on-premise infrastructure. These include Azure Virtual Network, Azure ExpressRoute, Azure-provided DNS, Azure Traffic Manager and Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN).
Following is a brief outline on the Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) service:
5.1 Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Azure CDN allows distribution of large files by providing high bandwidth content and reducing the file download time. It caches the file to an Azure data center closest to the user’s geographical location. Hence, it lowers the latency to a great extent and decreases the load on application by relieving it from the whole process of delivering the content. The end-users derive the main benefit out of this service as it offers a better experience to them.
At its core, Azure replaces or supplements your on-premise infrastructure. However, it delivers a vast range of other services that improve the functioning of several departments in your organization and help you resolve critical business problems.
For instance, you can get big data insights with Azure analytics, and manage your billions of IoT devices on a unified Azure platform, you can interact with your users with AI bots through various platforms, and get a secure and scalable cloud data storage. You can also automate your development, testing, and deployment with DevOps, and deliver content across the globe without facing any latency issues.
These services are only a glimpse of what Azure can do for your business. Many enterprises across the globe are utilizing the capabilities of Microsoft Azure applications to optimize their business models as it revolutionizes overall infrastructure and application performance.
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