Five of the most frequently asked Azure questions, answered

Efficiency, productivity, and insights can all be optimised with access to Microsoft Azure’s comprehensive suite of tools, and the list of benefits is only growing. 

Offering many services and tools, Microsoft Azure can often be complex and challenging for users new and old to take full advantage of. Multifaceted in capabilities and dependent on use cases, many enterprises will interact with Microsoft Azure in unique and individual ways. 

Previously, we’ve provided an introduction to Microsoft Azure, as well as an exploration of the many benefits that automation can bring to teams of any size. 

To continue helping users across all skill levels to elevate their knowledge of Microsoft Azure, and empower how they interact with it daily, we’re providing some answers to five of the most commonly asked questions. These include: 

  • What is Microsoft Azure? 
  • What are the most popular Azure services? 
  • Is Microsoft Azure PaaS? 
  • How secure is Microsoft Azure? 
  • What are the advantages of scaling in Azure? 

What is Microsoft Azure? 

At its core, Microsoft Azure is a constantly growing platform of cloud services designed to prioritise flexibility, scalability, and agility. Currently, there are over 100 Azure services, with each one designed to fulfil a specific use case and requirement. 

Accessible to users via an online portal, Azure can work with all main operating systems and languages, and can be integrated with public cloud applications and existing architecture. 

When it comes to maintenance, Azure can automatically repair, recover, and upgrade systems. For internal teams, this enables them to always trust in the security of insights and processes while freeing up valuable resource to focus on other critical tasks. 

What are the most popular Azure services? 

Sometimes it can feel as if the range of services available is never ending, and can often be a source of confusion and frustration for teams looking to achieve maximum functionality. Three of the most popular and commonly used Azure services are Azure Virtual Machines, Azure DevOps, and Azure API Management. 

Azure Virtual Machines 

Virtual machines can be spun up for a wide range of use cases, such as testing new operating systems or building cloud applications, and it’s never been easier through Azure. 

With Azure Virtual Machines, users can create VMs almost instantly. Fit for purpose, these machines can be compute-optimised, memory-optimised, burstable, or general-purpose – empowering any user to take advantage of them. 

Azure DevOps 

DevOps may be the most popular Azure service available, enabling teams to build and work on applications collaboratively and simultaneously. In doing so, DevOps promotes communication and visibility between different teams such as developers, project managers, and testers, for a more streamlined approach to the development lifecycle. 

Azure API management 

Unsurprisingly, Azure API management enables teams to effectively manage and streamline their array of APIs, both on-premise and on the cloud, for greater ease of use and visibility. 

As a result, users can achieve full compliance with security governance regulations through a centralised dashboard. 

Is Microsoft Azure PaaS? 

Due to the immense variety found in Microsoft Azure, many users can often find themselves confused on whether Azure is PaaS, IaaS, or SaaS. Let’s dive into this question a little deeper. 

The reality is that there’s no single answer to this question, and it will depend on how your teams are interacting with Azure at your enterprise. Azure can take the form of each of these models – determined by the specific services used by each team. 

Azure as IaaS 

Through outsourcing network and computing demands to Microsoft through Azure, users can minimise their native infrastructure and manage a cloud-based alternative. 

However, while Azure can function as outsourced infrastructure, all infrastructure will remain managed by the users themselves. 

Additionally, Azure can also function as a virtual and secure data centre. Here, users can host websites as well as store data, test environments, and more. 

Azure as PaaS 

Azure also features PaaS-focused services, such as Azure Synapse and Azure SQL Databases, to provide teams of any size with the ability to reliably build cloud-based workloads. 

The priority here is providing users with both control over the platform and trust in the infrastructure, scaling resources and performing configuration automatically. 

Azure as SaaS 

From a SaaS perspective, Microsoft Azure can host created applications as well as provide access to other Microsoft SaaS services. 

This is made possible due to the universal flexibility that Azure offers, able to build and host products such as Outlook, Office 365, and other Microsoft tools. 

How secure is Microsoft Azure? 

Cloud-based platforms have traditionally encountered resistance over a fear of reduced security, but this is by no means accurate. 

Accelerated by the recent pandemic, many cloud-based platforms feature comprehensive security features to ensure that any data uploaded and collected is kept safeguarded and protected. 

Microsoft Azure boasts many of these security features, including but not limited to: 

  • Enhanced encryption 
  • Traffic monitoring 
  • Smart access control 
  • Trusted Execution Environments 

As many of these features are automated, the user can always be sure that their data and outputs are continuously always protected and monitored for the greatest possible security. 

What are the advantages of scaling in Azure? 

Many users turn to Microsoft Azure for a cost-effective and scalable solution to growing datasets and complex architecture. Scalability is essential for many enterprises, as business growth is almost always superseded by excelling datasets. Fail to accompany this concern, infrastructure will begin to lag – and processes will lack the agility and flexibility needed in increasingly competitive markets. 

Azure offers an innovative feature known as Autoscaling, which initiates events based on predetermined settings. Autoscaling enables teams to meet changing demands in Cloud Services, Mobile Services, Virtual Machines, and Websites through automatically adjusting resource available based on necessity or other controls. 

Just a few advantages of autoscaling in Microsoft Azure include: 

  • Optimised application performance 
  • Highly flexible resource allocation based on demand 
  • A cost-effective approach to necessary infrastructure 
  • Increased trust in processes through minimal technical disruption 

Enabling trusted intelligence 

At Transparity we’re passionate about enabling enterprises across a range of industries to harness their data to realise trusted and value-led intelligence. As Microsoft Azure specialists, we can help you realise how your architecture can be optimised, and how your datasets can be elevated. Join us for a free consultation to learn more. 

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