The benefits of the cloud are well documented at this point – cost savings, reduction in IT complexity, shared responsibility of security, and a new approach to integrating applications and data sources all create an aura of vast improvement. While the cloud certainly has the potential to deliver on these aspirations, it can only be done on a platform that is inherently flexible, agile, and user-friendly. This is how Microsoft Azure, the cloud platform used by 80 percent of the Fortune 500 has become recognized as the go-to solution for organizations starting out, or those migrating to the cloud.
With Azure Cloud, Microsoft differentiates itself from others in the market because it brings 30+ years worth of business/technology solutions experience to a platform that addresses the needs of the modern enterprise. Azure applies a unique approach to data and application management, security, and how it uses a technology foundation to support business objectives.
Both cloud natives and enterprises migrating from legacy environments recognize that Microsoft knows how organizations get work done. That legacy is built in to Azure and has made it the fastest growing enterprise cloud platform. Consider that 700 million devices run Windows 10, the number of Office 365 seats grew by 32% last year to 120 million across the globe, and that Azure has 31% of the total cloud platform market and is growing fast. It’s easy to see why customers rely on Azure – in a world that requires agility and connectedness, Azure helps them remain competitive and get the most value from their data and assets.
The platform offers an array of services and layers on which customer companies can build, deploy, manage, and innovate to create new business opportunities. Azure also can be implemented and used by organizations in ways that serve highly unique needs. Some cloud platforms operate as a single, comprehensive unit, but Azure can be applied in any environment that is services-based, whether it’s hybrid, multi-cloud, or requires extensive customization. Here’s how it does that:
- A rapid-response IT environment
Managers, administrators, and users can access and manage different components of their cloud environment with a console called Azure Portal. It provides a user-friendly tool that helps manage access and admin rights. Azure users can spin up new services and accompanying storage as required for them to effectively manage workloads and usage demands. Storage services, called Azure Blog Storage, can be added within minutes. Azure Integration Services, the tools for integrating data sources and applications, can be managed through this console as well.
The promise of the cloud is all about addressing needs rapidly and simply so their technology investments can quickly meet business needs. By being able to delegate the ability to create services, apply them so they can facilitate needs, and store data and assets in context, teams can rely on Azure to help them immediately deliver solutions rather than having to wait in an IT queue for issues to be resolved.
- Flexible, comprehensive and secure platform
Azure integrates services, tools, and capabilities to create an agile “stack” into which an organization can migrate legacy resources or build an entirely new IT architecture from the ground-up. It provides these tools and functionality to create a comprehensive platform that can serve the needs of organizations of any size and IT structure:
- Virtual machines: These resources replace actual servers that, in an on-premise environment, companies have to configure, manage, maintain, update, and secure. Azure’s virtual machines conduct these various manual efforts and provide the foundation for handling an organization’s workloads.
- Cloud services: Azure cloud services provide the fundamental elements for building scalable applications, APIs, and other data sources. With no hardware to manage, an IT team can emphasize application development and continuous innovation.
- Application services: Once apps are developed, the application service piece ensures scalability and extensibility so that apps can automatically meet the demands of users and the market.
- Simplified development and deployment options
Azure provides a development and deployment environment through its Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that enables an organization to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications. It gives customers a pay-as-you-go flexibility to access services when needed.
Some see the cloud merely as an outsourced infrastructure. But those who use Azure to build apps that can extend their data see that it’s a platform for transformation. A PaaS approach with Azure can help organizations that want to emphasize application excellence and continuous digital innovation move forward without the burden of asset management and other onerous IT tasks. These organizations seek growth as a by-product of their technology investment, and Azure can help them scale as they identify and reach new markets.
- Business insights and data intelligence
Data-driven insights into business operations are critical to making smart operational choices. Azure provides native support for all of MIcrosoft’s intelligence tools including Microsoft Analytics and Insights, and Power BI. Azure uses these tools to connect different data sources so information can be collected, analyzed, and put to use to make smart decisions about business issues and IT investments. The ability to pull data from different repositories and activities makes for a more insightful view into the business and helps organizations cut through the massive amount of data that is available to them.
Effectively managing an IT environment for growth-focused organizations requires understanding how the cloud platform you choose best fits with your organizational goals. You want growth, flexibility, and agility, but you also need to to future-proof development so you can use your resources effectively. Azure is comprehensive in what it offers enterprise customers, but it’s also flexible enough to operate as an environment that supports changing IT and business needs, while adapting as organizational needs change. SADA experts can help you assess your best approach.