Microsoft Azure – Gaining Ground


December 6, 2017
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Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.  This is how Microsoft describes its Infrastructure package Azure. With AWS having taken a comfortable lead in the Infrastructure-as-a-Service market, Azure not only had to do a lot of catching up to do in market share, but also provide better and unique services to  challenge the well-entrenched AWS. Is Azure capable of doing that? That is what we are going to see. The most notable highlight of Azure is that it also supports hybrid cloud environments, which means Azure services can be delivered from the organization’s datacenters as it seamlessly combines cloud with on-premises infrastructure.

Azure Cloud services:

  • Compute
  • Storage
  • Networking & Content Delivery
  • Database
  • Analytics and Big Data
  • Intelligence
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Management & Monitoring
  • Mobile Services
  • Security, Identity & Access
  • Developer Tools
  • Enterprise Integration
  • Marketplace

Understanding Azure Service offerings:

Virtual Servers:

Deploying, managing and maintaining OS and server software is what the Virtual servers allow. Also offers a lightweight and simplified offering. With Azure, they are provided as Virtual Machines and Virtual Machine Images respectively.

Backend process logic:

Help run backend processes in response to events or schedules without the need of servers. With Azure, the offerings available are Functions and Event Grid.

Scalability:

Helps automatically change the number of instances based on workload. Developers can set defined thresholds that determine the instances to be added or removed. Azure offerings available are virtual Machine Scale Sets, App Service Scale Capability (PAAS), Auto Scaling

Storage:

Object Storage: It can be used with Cloud apps, content distribution, and archiving and data analytics. Azure offerings available are Block Blob.

Shared file storage: Helps share file storage between VMS. Azure offering is File Storage.

Database:

Relational DB: Helps build applications and websites which require high performance, reliable and secure database. Azure offers SQL Database including Postgres and MySQL

NoSQL (Document Storage): Helps to have globally distributed multi-modal database supporting key-value, documents, graphs and columnar. Azure offers Cosmos DB.

NoSQL (Key-Value Storage): Helps store semi-structured data. With Azure this can be accomplished with the convenient Table Storage.

Intelligence:

Virtual Personal Assistant: Helps in utilizing cognitive services, machine learning, analytics, etc. Helps build bots to interact with users via text messaging, Skype, Twitter and other collaboration services. Azure offerings available are Cortana Intelligence suite, Microsoft bot framework, and Service.

Speech Recognition: Helps applications to understand user commands contextually and recognize individual speakers, fine tunes speech recognition by eliminating background noise, speaking styles, etc. Azure offerings available are Bing Speech API, Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS), Speaker Recognition API, and Custom Recognition Intelligent Service (CRIS)

Visual Recognition: Helps filter actionable information from images, identifies objects in images. Helps detect, identify, organize and tag faces in photos, also helps recognize emotions. Azure offers Computer Vision API, Face API, Emotions API, and Video API.

Internet of Things:

IoT: Helps provide preconfigured solutions for maintaining, monitoring and deploying common IoT scenarios.  Also includes infrastructure and modules to create IoT gateway solutions. For this Azure offers IoT Edge.

Scaling the IaaS peak:

With all these unique features Microsoft Azure is well armed to win the cloud infrastructure race. Amazon Web Services may have taken a healthy lead, but recent reports have said that Azure is growing more than twice as fast. The revenue of Azure has increased by 90% and has gone beyond AWS’s growth for at least eight straight quarters. Microsoft is acquiring high-profile clients as it goes on adding features, lowering prices and expanding data center capacity around the world.  The fight is really on and this only provides a healthy option to the customers.

Author: PreludeSys CoE for .Net


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