What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is a suite of innovative cloud services that sits across one of the largest datacentre networks on the planet. Its scale, resilience and flexibility makes it the platform of choice for thousands of companies of all sizes across the world.

Within Microsoft Azure, users can create high performance IaaS or PaaS environments, SaaS tools, and through Azure Stack, even create the world’s only consistent hybrid cloud environment.

microsoft azure as a service
Platform as a service

What are the key features of Microsoft Azure?

One of the strengths of Azure is the cloud availability of popular and trusted tools, alongside new, innovative applications. For instance, the Azure suite includes cloud-hosted versions of SQL Server, and Active Directory – two of the most widely-used Microsoft products – plus advanced AI, IoT and DevOps tools.

Businesses that already rely on Microsoft software or on-premise technology are likely to find moving to Azure a very comfortable option with a painless transition and quick user adoption.

In addition, Microsoft Azure is entirely pay-as-you-go. Its services can be used on-demand, with charges applied based on the client’s usage, making Azure a popular solution for small startups and multi-national enterprises.

Microsoft IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

When researching Azure – or any cloud services – you’re likely to come across three acronyms: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Standing for infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service, these three acronyms refer to three different categories of cloud service, all of which are available through Microsoft Azure.

This is not the place to go into all of these services in detail; other pages on this site exist to go into each in depth. In summary, however, here’s an overview of the three services as they relate to Microsoft Azure:

Azure IaaS

IaaS provides a base level, scalable infrastructure – servers & storage, networking and security firewalls – delivered over the internet by cloud service providers, removing the need for businesses to invest in and manage their own physical environment.

Learn more about Azure IaaS

Azure PaaS

PaaS provides a complete cloud-based environment. Along with the cloud infrastructure found in IaaS, PaaS includes operating systems, middleware and a suite of tools to streamline a business’s processes, including database management, business intelligence services and app development tools.

Learn more about Azure PaaS

Azure SaaS

SaaS refers to fully constructed apps hosted in the cloud. The service provider manages all the underlying infrastructure and the storage, delivery and security of your data, while you simply access the tool via the internet on a pay-as-you-go model. Microsoft Office 365 is a classic example of one of Microsoft’s SaaS solutions.

Learn more about Managed Office 365

What is Azure Stack?

Azure Stack is an extension of Azure into local and specific resources. It is the only way to benefit from public Azure services within a guaranteed, jurisdiction-specific environment. Azure Stack and public Azure are entirely consistent with each other, meaning they can be combined together to create the only fully compatible hybrid cloud available on the market.

Crucially, an Azure hybrid cloud allows applications to be deployed identically both in the cloud and locally. A business can then easily choose to only process sensitive data locally, to ensure data sovereignty and residency requirements are met. Similarly, where connectivity issues prevent access to cloud services and applications, Azure Stack can be deployed locally, bringing all the value of public Azure to locations it was never previously possible to reliably serve.

Learn more about Calligo’s Azure Stack service

Microsoft azure stack

Why choose Microsoft Azure?

There are many compelling reasons to choose Microsoft Azure. 95% of Fortune 500 companies have chosen to take advantage of the breadth and scale of its datacentre network. In addition, Azure boasts innovative tools and services that help its users manage their cloud environment and extract more value from their data than they thought was possible.

In addition, Microsoft themselves claim that Azure has more compliance certifications than any other cloud provider. These range from ISO 27001 and SOC 1 & 2, to privacy frameworks such as GDPR and public sector requirements such as FedRAMP and HIPAA.

Calligo is an experienced Microsoft partner, which means that we can make your transition into the cloud smooth and simple. Get in touch with us today to discuss your business’s needs, or find out more about Azure on our site.

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