Its been now couple of Years that I keep hearing about Microsoft Azure, We have been working on Office 365 since the ages it was called as BPOS, but never needed to get into Azure. But since past few months the enquiry about Azure has been increasing. People are getting more and more interested in getting to know about the product. I do get asked questions like

Is Azure the next version of Office 365 ?

Let me try to explain about Azure but before I start, lets looks at the technical definition provided on Microsoft website

Azure is an Internet-scale computing and services platform hosted in data centers managed or supported by Microsoft. It includes many separate features with corresponding developer services which can be used individually or together.

So if we try to simplify Microsoft’s definition from above, it looks like Microsoft is trying to rent out its data centers  to the subscribers. This is true but there is a little more to it. Microsoft has developed various Line of Business applications with its little over 30 years of existence in Market. These softwares like Windows Servers, SQL Servers, Exchange Servers has been really successful with all kind of Small and Big companies. But with the time world has started to move towards cloud and is more interested to pay for what it uses and not spending on unnecessary license cost or Server maintainance.  Also Smaller companies do not want to spend on In-house infrastructure.

Understanding the market changes, MS has decided to offer its products as services. It started with hosted Exchange Services like BPOS but now MS has decided to offer pretty much all its products on rental, meaning that you can rent a Server from them, You can Rent internet bandwidth to be used on that server and if you do not want to rent an entire server then you can just rent a service on that server like IIS to host your website.

Having said all this, let me try to redefine Azure for us, Microsoft Azure is a cloud bases interface where you can rent or use pretty much all Microsoft services as a whole server or as shared resources. All the billing are done as per the utilization of resources on prorate basis. Following are various services available with Microsoft Azure

Azure Console

 

Virtual Machines: 

You can create various virtual machines with various hardware and software configurations. You have option to choose from Basic, standard and performance hardware configurations and you can also decide which OS you need on it include Windows, Linux and various other operating system.  You have option to choose various storage from JBOTS to SSD, You can also purchase static and dynamic IP address to go with the machine.  You connect to the machine by directly RDPing into the VM

SQL Databases:

You can host your SQL Databases directly on Azure, these databases can be used by applications hosted on your Azure virtual machines or even on applications hosted on your on-premise servers over the internet.

Websites:

Yes, with Azure you can host websites on Microsoft server and believe me it provides the best range of hosting support from WordPress to Drupal and PHPBB to Magneto, You have various hosting packages to choose from depending upon performance of website you need.

 Directory Services

You can set up an instance of Directory services with Azure, a limited features directory services is available to free as well. This instance of directory services can sync with the on premise Active Directory as well for users accounts, Passwords and Groups. Further this directory services can be used for Office 365 authentication and as well as many other  cloud based services like Dropbox for business, Sales force and Many More.

Remote App Services

Windows Azure offers you to host your applications with them, you can choose from the standard templates available online like Microsoft Office or you can choose to install your own LOB application on remote app services. You do not get access to the physical server but you get seem-less connectivity to your applications from anywhere over the internet.  The minimum number of users per App host is 20.

Pricing for each component is independent, your final monthly consumption is the total of all the services utilized. This link is a good way to get some idea about pricing.

Listed above are the most prominent features and services offered by Microsoft Azure, there is a lot more to learn about it.

We offer dedicated support and migration services for Microsoft Azure, reach us to know more

Click here for more information about Azure.

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An automobile enthusiast at heart and computer geek by profession, started my Career with MS in 2005.Left Jobs and started Pledge Technologies (the parent company to Grishbi) back in 2009.We have been providing IT consulting to various Small and Medium businesses across US and UK since then.Our company specialises in Microsoft Server technologies like AD, Exchange, the rest and with numerous Office 365 migrations under our belt, we quite an expert with that too. Whatever we learn in our day to day life, we share it back on Grishbi as a Thank for all the love and support our customers have given us.
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