What is Azure?

What is Azure?


4 min read

"Desperate times call for desperate measures! 😤"

These are not desperate times🙂, but more than ever before, the world is rapidly evolving. Technology has brought about so many changes in the world, most especially the world of work. Cloud computing has enabled everyone to easily adapt to changes at any point by providing modern solutions which are scalable, secure, fast, and readily available. The ease of adaptability to an ever-changing world is one among the many benefits of the cloud. In recent years, the use of cloud technology has expanded significantly, so many organizations, businesses, and individuals are moving to the cloud.

Azure is a cloud computing service provided by Microsoft. It is an ever-expanding set of services that help to build solutions that meet your business goals. Like most cloud computing services, Azure offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) computing models. Azure provides more than 200 services that enable one to do everything from running existing applications on virtual machines, to exploring new software capabilities, such as intelligent bots and mixed reality.

Azure Services

Azure provides a wide range of services. The image below gives an overview of the services. azure-services-6c41a736.png

The most commonly used Azure services are:

  • Compute: This is an on-demand service for running cloud-based applications. It provides computing resources such as disks, processors, memory, networking, and operating systems.
  • Networking: Linking compute resources and providing access to applications is the key function of Azure networking. Azure provides a variety of networking capabilities that can be used together or separately. These include connectivity services, application protection services, application delivery services, and network monitoring.
  • Storage: This is a cloud storage solution for modern data storage scenarios. It offers a massively scalable object store for data objects, disk storage for Azure virtual machines (VMs), a file system service for the cloud, a messaging store for reliable messaging, and a NoSQL store.
  • Mobile: With Azure, developers can create mobile back-end services for iOS, Android, and Windows apps quickly and easily. Features that used to take time and increase project risks, such as adding corporate sign-in and then connecting to on-premises resources such as SAP, Oracle, SQL Server, and SharePoint, are now simple to include.
  • Databases: Azure provides multiple database services to store a wide variety of data types and volumes. And with global connectivity, this data is available to users instantly.
  • Web: Azure includes first-class support to build and host web apps and HTTP-based web services.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Azure IoT technologies and services provides options to create a wide variety of IoT solutions that enable digital transformation.
  • Big Data: Data comes in all formats and sizes. Big data refers to large volumes of data. Data from weather systems, genomic research, imaging platforms, and many other scenarios generate hundreds of gigabytes of data. This amount of data makes it hard to analyze and make decisions. It's often so large that traditional forms of processing and analysis are no longer appropriate. Open-source cluster technologies have been developed to deal with these large data sets. Azure supports a broad range of technologies and services to provide big data and analytic solutions.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI solutions provided by Azure is based around a broad range of services, the core of which is machine learning. Machine learning is a data science technique that allows computers to use existing data to forecast future behaviors, outcomes, and trends. Using machine learning, computers learn without being explicitly programmed. This makes apps and devices smarter.
  • DevOps: Azure DevOps provides developer services for allowing teams to plan work, collaborate on code development, and build and deploy applications. Azure DevOps supports a collaborative culture and set of processes that bring together developers, project managers, and contributors to develop software. It allows organizations to create and improve products at a faster pace than they can with traditional software development approaches.

All these services and so much more can be accessed from the Azure portal.

Get Started with Azure

One good way to get started with Azure is by going through the learning resources on Microsoft Learn. Azure provides a free account which includes free access to popular Azure products for 12 months, credit to spend for the first 30 days, and access to more than 25 products that are always free. There is also a free account for students.

All these would be very useful in learning so much more about Azure and exploring its services.