Azure Benefits: 3 Business Benefits of Azure Cloud Services
It’s a name that’s making a lot of headlines in the cloud storage and business worlds: Microsoft Azure. Those who are on the platform already know and are reaping the Azure benefits. Those who are not already on the platform… well, let’s just assume they haven’t heard much about it. When it comes to Azure, ignorance is not bliss. With the steam that this cloud solution is gaining, we can’t let you remain in the dark any longer. Azure was named the leader in Gartner’s Public Cloud Storage Services for the second consecutive year and here’s a little insight into why that is.
Designed for the modern business, the flexible Azure cloud platform allows small and medium sized businesses to build, deploy, and manage applications by leveraging the power of Microsoft’s global network of datacenters. The flexibility provides businesses with both Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities. Microsoft Azure cloud services are easily integrated with existing IT environments which allows businesses to leverage the power and scalability of a hybrid cloud IT infrastructure.
Companies can launch both customer applications and internal apps in the cloud, easily via Microsoft Azure. The cloud environment allows businesses to quickly deploy applications in the cloud, which saves on infrastructure costs while reducing the hardware and maintenance burdens on in-house IT management. Additionally, the pay-as-you go pricing and scalability structure of Azure allows SMBs to better manage their IT budgets by only paying for what they need.
As an IT company serving small and mid-size businesses, iCorps had to conduct its own proof of concept. iCorps migrated one of its core business applications to Azure to ensure that a non-Microsoft application would migrate and function smoothly on the Azure platform. The migration was seamless, continued use has been a success and iCorps hasn’t looked back now that it is saving about $4,000 per month on licensing, hardware and support.
Cloud-hosted applications give businesses a competitive edge by allowing them to deploy customer applications in the cloud. Azure also allows organizations to customize their SharePoint servers in the cloud via a virtual machine running on Azure. Businesses can also migrate their own internal SQL Server databases to a virtual machine that is hosted on Microsoft Azure or move their customer’s SQL databases to the cloud – which provides mobile and off-site access to important business data.
Concerned about security in on the Azure cloud platform? Check out 10 Things to Know About Azure Security
Azure’s flexible computing power gives small and medium sized business on-demand enterprise-level computing power. Virtual machines can be deployed in minutes providing additional processing power and storage. Azure also allows businesses to host websites on a secure cloud server that is managed by Microsoft and backed by their uptime guarantee, providing companies and their customers with reliable web hosting services. Moving these items to the cloud also gives companies a competitive advantage by making data, files, and entire machines that were traditionally hosted on-site available over the cloud both off-site and on mobile devices.
The longer a company is in business, the more digital information they accumulate. Over time, data is accessed less and less and eventually given archive status. To accommodate this archived data, businesses can purchase hardware or they can opt for cloud storage. Azure’s Blob storage is a service that allows businesses to store large amounts of unstructured data (i.e. text or binary data) and allows users to access that data from anywhere in the world through an active internet connection. To learn more about Azure, please watch the following video.
According to Microsoft, common uses of Blob storage include:
- Serving images or documents directly to a browser
- Storing files for distributed access
- Streaming video and audio
- Performing secure backup and disaster recovery
- Storing data for analysis by an on-premises or Azure-hosted service