Azure – what is it exactly?

January 8th, 2017 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

You may have recently seen a television commercial for “The Microsoft Cloud,” which featured Healthcare, Cancer Research, and Cybercrime. So, what does this have to do with Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is the Microsoft product name for the Microsoft Cloud. The names are used synonymously in the technical industry.

The Cloud digital transformational shift, question remains, “What is Azure, and for whom is it meant?”

Azure was announced in October 2008 and released on February 2010 as Windows Azure, and was then renamed to Microsoft Azure in March 2014.

Azure is a cloud computing platform plus, the underlying infrastructure and management services created by Microsoft to build, deploy, and manage applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.

What Microsoft Azure Data Centers?

There are 34 interconnected Microsoft Data Regions around the world with more planned.

Microsoft describes Azure as a “growing collection of integrated cloud services, including analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web.” Azure’s integrated tools, pre-built templates and managed services simplify the task of building and managing enterprise applications (apps).

Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella calls Azure, “the industry’s most complete cloud — for every business, every industry and every geography.”

The Complete Cloud

For many businesses, their first foray into leveraging cloud software as a service (SaaS) is with Microsoft Office 365, Exchange online for hosted email, or CRM online for managing business and customer relationships. However, the Azure platform is much more than just an online business software delivery platform.

Here are just a few of the things that you can do with Azure:
• Build and deploy modern, cross platform web and mobile applications.
• Store, backup and recover your data in the cloud with Azure-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS).
• Run your Line of Business applications on Azure.
• Run large scale compute jobs and perform powerful predictive analytics.
• Encode, store and stream audio and video at scale.
• Build intelligent products and services leveraging Internet of Things services.

Use Azure, and your partner, to rapidly build, deploy, and host solutions across a worldwide network and to create hybrid solutions which seamlessly integrate on premise existing IT with Azure.

Many leverage Azure to protect data and meet privacy standards like the new international cloud privacy standard, ISO 27018, or HIPAA.

Azure customers can quickly scale up infrastructure, just importantly, scale it down, while only paying for what they use.

Azure also supports a broad selection of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases and devices.

Contrary to the perception that Azure is for Windows only, nearly 1 in three Azure virtual machines are Linux.3

Widespread Adoption

More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on Azure, which offers enterprise grade SLAs on services. In addition, Microsoft is the only vendor positioned as a Leader across Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Application Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Cloud Storage Services for the second consecutive year.1

What is Microsoft Azure IOT

Microsoft’s powerful Azure Internet of Things Hub and tool suite has also been widely adopted for use in commercial and scientific applications to securely connect and manage Internet of Things (IoT) assets. The service processes more than two trillion IoT messages weekly.4

From broadcasting the Olympics to building massively multiplayer online games, Azure customers are doing some amazing things, and in increasing numbers. Microsoft recently revealed that the rate of Azure customer growth has accelerated to more than 120k new Azure customer subscriptions per month.4 In line with the accelerated adoption, the company is projecting an annualized commercial cloud revenue run rate of $20 Billion in 2018.3

Cloud Leadership

With Azure, Microsoft has made a huge commitment to cloud computing. Since opening its first datacenter, Microsoft has invested more than $15 billion in building its global cloud infrastructure.5 In addition, the company recently announced it would build its first Azure data center in France this year as part of a $3 billion investment to build its cloud services in Europe.6

Microsoft is quickly closing the gap in market share with IaaS provider Amazon Web Services, (AWS). While 37.1% of IT professionals surveyed indicated that Amazon AWS is their primary IaaS platform, Microsoft Azure is a close second at 28.4%, followed by Google Cloud Platform at 16.5%.7

and hot off the press…….
Microsoft isn’t building its own connected car — but it is launching a new Azure-based cloud platform for car manufacturers to use the cloud to power their own connected-car services.

The new Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform will go live as a public preview later this year.
“This is not an in-car operating system or a ‘finished product’,” Microsoft’s EVP for business development Peggy Johnson writes in this week’s announcement. “It’s a living, agile platform that starts with the cloud as the foundation and aims to address five core scenarios that our partners have told us are key priorities: predictive maintenance, improved in-car productivity, advanced navigation, customer insights and help building autonomous driving capabilities.”

Microsoft also announced that it is partnering with the Renault-Nissan Alliance to bring the new connected-car services to Renault-Nissan’s next-gen connected vehicles. The two companies were already working together on other projects before this, so it’s maybe no surprise that Renault-Nissan is Microsoft’s first partner.
Microsoft is also working with BMW to develop that company’s BMW Connected platform on top of Azure. BMW and Nissan also showed in-car integrations with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant at CES this year, so your future car could potentially use Cortana to power its voice-enabled services. For the time being, though, it looks like these are still experiments.

Microsoft has talked about its aim to bring “intelligence” to as many of its services as possible. It has also recently opened up Cortana to third-party developers, so bringing it to its connected car platform is a logical next step (and we’re also seeing Amazon doing the same thing with Alexa, ).

Johnson also used today’s announcement to take a thinly veiled swipe at Google/Alphabet, which spun out its self-driving car unit a few weeks ago. “As you may have gathered, Microsoft is not building its own connected car,” she writes. “Instead, we want to help automakers create connected car solutions that fit seamlessly with their brands, address their customers’ unique needs, competitively differentiate their products and generate new and sustainable revenue streams.”

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