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What Is Microsoft Azure? An Overview In Plain English

An Overview of Microsoft Azure (Formerly Windows Azure)

Microsoft Azure is a platform that enables users to engage in agile cloud computing, and is designed for creating and managing apps through Microsoft’s data centres.

There is a myriad of tools within the platform that you can use to excel your IT performance dramatically. As a consequence of its flexibility, even official guidelines about Azure can be confusing and difficult to understand. As a basic definition, Azure (formerly Windows Azure) is Microsoft’s operating system for cloud computing.

The operating system was released commercially just a few years ago, on the 1st of February 2010. It was designed to minimise any ongoing expenses and simplify any IT management processes, and has certainly made an impact on the market.

Microsoft Azure: The Benefits

Microsoft’s website states that Azure;

“is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.”

According to Microsoft, there are a number of benefits;

“Azure delivers a 99.95% monthly SLA and enables you to build and run highly available applications without focusing on the infrastructure.”

Furthermore, Azure is incredibly flexible, and allows you to use multiple languages, frameworks, and tools to create the customised applications that you need. As a platform, it also allows you to scale applications up with unlimited servers and storage.

Microsoft Azure Features

Microsoft Azure has a number of features and services;

    • Cloud Services: PaaS (Platform as a Service) can be utilised to build applications and services.
    • Web sites: Azure allows its users to develop sites on ASP.NET, Node.js, PHP, or Python.
    • Virtual Machines: Primarily a migration tool, allowing developers to migrate apps and infrastructure without altering code.
    • Data: SQL Database extends applications into the cloud, utilising SQL Server.
    • Media: This is a Platform as a Service feature that can be utilised for protecting content, streaming media, and more.

A Brief History of Azure

October 2008: Azure Platform released.

March 2009: SQL Azure Relational Database released.

November 2009: Added PHP, Java, CDN, and more.

February 2010: Azure Platform becomes available on the market.

June 2010: Updates including .NET Framework 4 and Spatial Data Support.

October 2010: Multiple updates, including the introduction of a new Azure Platform Management Portal, Remote Desktop, Full-IIS support, and better dev tools.

December 2011: Adds SQL Azure reporting, Traffic Manager, and more.

June 2012: New features added, such as Web sites, Virtual Machines For Windows & Linux, and a new portal.

April 2014: Windows Azure now called Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure has a short but vibrant history, and has developed significantly since 2008. The platform will continue to evolve over time as the needs of its users demand more.

It remains a consistently reliable platform, and with only a few major outages in its history; two of these in 2012, and two more in 2013.

dsp & Windows / Microsoft Azure

We’re delighted to say that dsp was selected to join the Windows Azure Circle Partner program, which is a group of specialised Microsoft partner organisations. These organisations provide deployment planning services for organisations interested in moving to the cloud and utilizing Windows Azure.

dsp Delivery Director, Simon Brooks, said;

“By joining the Windows Azure Circle, dsp has proven its mastering of Microsoft cloud technologies and continued drive for success in the future of the public cloud.”

For more information about our Azure services, get in touch with dsp today by calling 08701 999 377.

You can also contact us online.

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