Understanding Azure: Features, Benefits, and Use Cases

Mamta Mitali

Aug 5, 2021
Understanding Azure: Features, Benefits, and Use Cases

To understand what Azure cloud is, we must first understand what cloud platform actually means. The operating system and hardware of a server in an Internet-based data center are referred to as a cloud platform. It enables remote and scalable coexistence of software and hardware products. 

And various enterprises rent access to computer services, such as servers, databases, storage, analytics, networking, software, and intelligence by paying a certain cost to cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform.

Today, everything is moving to the cloud platform, which gives us the option to migrate to a platform with a lot of flexibility and benefits, and there are a lot of cloud platforms to choose from. Microsoft Azure is the company's public cloud computing platform, formerly known as Windows Azure. It provides compute, analytics, storage, networking, and other cloud services. Users can use these services to build and grow new apps as well as run existing apps in the cloud.

The Azure platform is designed to assist organisations in overcoming obstacles and achieving their objectives. It supports a wide range of industries, including e-commerce, finance, and a number of Fortune 500 organisations and it is open source compatible. This gives consumers the freedom to use whatever tools and technologies they want.

Here are some quick features of Azure…

  1. Microsoft Azure – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

  1. Flexible – Adjust compute resources as needed.

  1. Open – Supports almost any operating system, language, tool, or framework.

  1. Reliable – 99.95% availability SLA and technical support available 24*7 

  1. Global – Data is stored in geo-synchronized data centers.

  1. Economical – You only pay for what you use.

The History of Microsoft Azure

For a better understanding, let us start with Azure’s history first. Microsoft Azure, which was first announced in 2008 as Project Red Dog, has developed to become a prominent cloud computing provider. Azure has a 20% market share in 2021, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) at 31% and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) at 9%. After AWS, customers are flocking to Microsoft Azure.

Azure includes 67 active and announced regions throughout the world, more than 160 physical data centers, several availability zones, and millions of users as of this writing. But, more importantly, how does it all fit together?

How does Microsoft Azure work?

Customers who subscribe to Azure get access to all of the services available through the Azure interface. These services allow subscribers to create cloud-based resources such as virtual machines (VMs) and databases.

A number of third-party manufacturers make software directly available through Azure in addition to the capabilities provided by Microsoft through the Azure portal. Third-party application costs vary greatly, but they may include a subscription price for the application as well as a usage fee for the infrastructure needed to host it.

Azure comes with five different customer support solutions from Microsoft:

  1. Basic

  2. Developer

  3. Standard

  4. Professional Direct

  5. Premier

The scope and cost of these customer assistance programms vary. All Azure accounts get basic assistance for free, however Microsoft charges a premium for the other support options. Developer support is $29 per month, $100 per month for Standard assistance, and $1000 per month for Professional Direct support. Microsoft does not provide pricing information for Premier support.

Why Microsoft Azure Cloud?


Azure, like any other cloud provider, allows you to scale by spinning up new VMs and services.

There is no new hardware. There is no provisioning of the operating system. It's as simple as that to deploy and go. Being able to add power where you need it makes it easier to deal with problems as they arise. Admins can now modify their solution without making a large initial expenditure.


It can be expensive to expand infrastructure if your organisation is working on larger projects. Azure is beneficial. Using Microsoft's deployment templates and services can assist cut costs in the IT department.


Catastrophic events do take place. And you'll want to be sure you've got backups that have been thoroughly tested. Possessing everything you have endless possibilities for implementing a high availability/disaster recovery plan with Microsoft Azure. You may run essential programms and data from many locations, reducing the risk of downtime in the event of an emergency.

What is Microsoft Azure used for?

Microsoft Azure has a wide range of applications due to its multiple service offerings. One of the most common uses for Microsoft Azure is to run virtual machines or containers in the cloud. Infrastructure components such as domain name system (DNS) servers, Windows Server services such as Internet Information Services (IIS), and third-party applications can all be hosted on these computational resources. Microsoft also supports third-party operating systems such as Linux.

Azure is also frequently utilized as a cloud database hosting platform. Microsoft offers both server less relational databases, such as Azure SQL, and non-relational databases, such as NoSQL.

Furthermore, the platform is frequently used for disaster recovery and backup. To meet their long-term data preservation requirements, several firms employ Azure storage as an archive.

Azure products and services

Azure cloud services are divided into roughly two dozen categories by Microsoft, including:

Compute: Users can use these services to deploy and manage virtual machines, containers, and batch tasks, as well as access distant applications. Depending on whether the resource needs to be available to the outside world, compute resources established in the Azure cloud can be configured with either public or private IP addresses.

Mobile: These solutions assist developers in creating cloud apps for mobile devices by providing notification services, back-end task support, API development tools, and the ability to combine geospatial context with data.

Networking: Virtual networks, dedicated connections, and gateways, as well as traffic management and diagnostics, load balancing, DNS hosting, and network protection against distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults, are all included in this category.

Web: These services help with web application development and deployment. They also have search, content delivery, API administration, alerting, and reporting capabilities.

Analytics: Real-time analytics, big data analytics, data lakes, machine learning, business intelligence, internet of things, data streams, and data warehousing are among the services provided.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning: A developer can employ a variety of services to incorporate artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive computing capabilities into their apps and data sets.

Storage: Scalable cloud storage for structured and unstructured data is provided by this category of services. Big data projects, persistent storage, and archive storage are also supported.

Databases: Database as a Service (DBaaS) offerings for SQL and NoSQL, as well as other database instances, are included in this category. Azure Cosmos DB and Azure Database for PostgreSQL are two examples. Support for Azure SQL Data Warehouse, caching, and hybrid database integration and migration are also included. Azure SQL is the platform's primary database service. It's a relational database that has SQL capability without requiring the installation of a SQL server.

Blockchain: You can join a blockchain consortium or start your own with the Azure Blockchain Service.

Final thoughts

Surprisingly, despite constant innovation in the race for cutting-edge technology, the prices for technology have not decreased; rather, they have significantly increased. The hardware is expensive, but the need to constantly update is a significant expense that organisations understandably see as inconvenient.

But, thankfully, those days are over; now, businesses can simply use Cloud Services to migrate operations to a virtual location; thus, one of the best ideas is to invest in Microsoft Azure Cloud, a well-known and trusted platform.

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