According to the Times article Cloud provides silver lining in Microsoft results, "Microsoft’s cloud computing division nearly doubled its sales at the end of last year as demand for data storage and processing power continued to rise.” As Software Engineers it is easy to see why. Microsoft's Azure Cloud enables us to develop scalable web systems in the cloud.
Azure provides services for all of your needs. If you have ever had a project that required infrastructure and services that you do not already own such as a network, database service or server, then you may have experienced a delay in getting your solution out into production. Relying on other teams, managers and procurement who may not share your vision or have other priorities inevitably leads to delay. Azure offers everything you need in one place, from Infrastructure (IaaS), Platform such as Databases (PaaS) and Software (SaaS) which support the growth of your application needs.
Need a new server, network infrastructure or database server that you do not already own? In Azure, you can handpick what you need in matter of minutes within its Web Portal. The portal is a central way of managing and maintaining these services, giving you and your developers everything needed to achieve your goals. It is maintained by Azure and you only pay for what you need.
If you have an application that may need to scale to meet changes in demand, you will understand that the problem is not always an easy one to resolve. Hosted in house or on dedicated machines in a data centre, you may need to implement a load balancer that could add additional cost, as well as deploy additional servers that are replicas of your existing kit.
Whether this is to increase/decrease the hardware capacity (for performance reasons or to reduce costs), or increase the number of instances with load balancing (scale up), Azure lets you achieve all this with a simple toggle and slider. For your Web Applications, in App Services you do not even have to configure a Load Balancer, Azure abstracts this complexity from you so you can be just concerned with running your application and serving your users.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can transform your application and give you the innovative advantage over the competition. It has never been easier getting started with Artificial Intelligence in the cloud thanks to Azure. The Microsoft AI platform allows you to create the next generation of applications with its AI services from image recognition to bot services. AI can solve a variety of real world business problems and a good data source is key to the success of any machine-learning endeavour.
Azure supports many development languages. Your developers can innovate with their existing technologies and know they have the flexibility to use the best technology for the job.
Azure offers numerous ways to host these solutions so that your organisation can choose that aligns with your strategy. When many people think Microsoft they think c#, Asp.Net and Visual Basic but you can run other languages such as Java, Node.js and Python to name a few.
Microsoft's global incident response team works round the clock to mitigate the effects of any attack against its cloud services. This means that with Azure you are in a trusted environment protected by some of the best cloud security experience and know how.
And with Microsoft, it is clear you own and control your data in the cloud.
Security, both physical and digital is state of the art, including 24x7x365 surveillance, environmental protections and extensive secure access policies. With datacentres across the world, you get to choose which region including several in the UK and Europe to host your resources.
Azure recognise the strict requirements many organisations and governments have and are continuously meeting international and industry-specific compliance standards. They also provide readily available templates, which align with UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Cloud Security Principles
Azure Active Directory enables you to apply similar concepts to the cloud to on premise Directory, a single login for all services and brings these benefits up into the cloud.
Azure AD takes the burden of managing passwords from you as a developer. Gone are the days of having to manage usernames and password hashes. You can consume Azure AD for all of your accounts. As the authentication strategy is standardised, you utilise these accounts with multiple services such as Salesforce and the user when logged in would have access to both your applications and other services with the single account. This is single sign on for the web.
Azure Container Service (AKS) is a free container service that can manage Kubernetes hosts.
Containers use OS level virtualisation rather than hardware virtualization. They are easier to build than traditional VMs and easy to deploy to different environments. You can pack more into a single server than VM’s with less OS overhead. Software providers publish their container images (image of working copies of their solutions) to a container registry that are available with a simple pull command. Container’s that are built are designed to run anywhere.
If you have not already used Application Insights, now is a good time to start. It gives you full metrics of your Web Applications. AI is the replacement for Error Logs in your application. It digests the log data you send it in near real-time, alerting you of inconsistencies with performance and giving you a simple timeline based UI to find and fix your bugs.
If you have a requirement that needs to scale on demand horizontally to any number of users, serverless may be the key to your success. You might have a Web API that only consumes x requests per second and then you receive a spike of traffic 10,000 times greater than your typical amount. A simple example for this would be a Ticket Merchant who sees spikes on days new tickets come on sale.
Many UK businesses already realise the benefits to using Azure as their platform of choice. You can see list containing some of these users from the link below. The list varies from Government Agencies, Public Sector and healthcare service, to commercial businesses.
To discuss all things Azure and how to get a proof of concept up and running in Azure, call me at 360 Systems on 0151-355-7911 and ask for John.