Microsoft Azure is a prime example of the capabilities and varied applications of cloud computing. Over the last decade, the cloud has introduced many new concepts to the business world, and promised to redefine how businesses access products and services. With cloud computing, businesses can deliver products and services to their customers in increasingly efficient ways. This has been particularly instrumental in empowering small and medium-sized businesses to compete on a larger scale within their markets, which has been possible because…
- The cloud helps SMBs streamline both internal and external operations.
- The cloud enables SMBs to access and leverage more services in an efficient way.
- The cloud makes it easier for SMBs to leverage their unique advantages within the market.
The most common way in which businesses leverage cloud computing is through a public cloud provider. This is a company (such as Microsoft) who have invested in building large-scale datacentres, capable of supporting large cloud environments with a wealth of tools and resources. Organisations effectively rent the resources hosted in a public cloud, and use them to host their data, software, workloads, and networks.
Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud platform. It was first launched in late-2008, nearly 14 years ago, and in that time is has expanded considerably. In 2022, it offers over 200 different products and services, and supports over 200,000 different companies across the world. The products and services that Microsoft Azure provide are broadly split into 3 main categories:
Platform (as a Service)
Platform as a Service is one of the two main approaches that businesses take when migrating to the Cloud, which, as of 2022, many businesses have done, and many more will be looking to do.
Moving to the Cloud
When migrating to the cloud, the primary goal is to be able to migrate one’s workloads – namely the data and applications responsible for maintaining normal business operation – onto cloud-based servers and virtual machines. Lots of businesses opt for the Infrastructure as a Service route, which means they have to configure all of the servers and VMs they need, before they can begin migrating their workloads over. So, for example, a business would pay to access compute, storage, and networking resources from a public cloud provider, like Microsoft Azure, and then configure it as they require.
However, businesses could instead pay Microsoft Azure to use their Platform as a Service. With PaaS, the servers, VMs, and operating systems required to host and run workloads would be managed by Microsoft Azure, and the only thing organisations need to manage are the applications they plan on hosting on the platform.
As well as hosting and running apps, organisations can also use PaaS as a development platform. In an on-premise environment, when a business wants to develop an app, they need to setup and configure servers to use as the development platform, and then they’d have to install all the necessary tools onto the server. Likewise, with infrastructure as a service, one would need to configure the VM in the cloud before they could use it to develop their own apps.
With PaaS, however, the provider (i.e. Microsoft Azure) will have designed the service so that the VMs you get are already primed for development purposes. What is more, Platform as a Service also includes additional tools and resources specifically to aid in the development process – this includes:
- Operating Systems – which are required for running applications
- Middleware – software that sits between the OS and the application
- Development Tools – such as source code editors, debuggers, compilers, etc.
- Databases & Database Management Systems
Top Benefits of PaaS
As with any cloud-based service, the main advantage of Platform as a Service lies with how simple it becomes to leverage a variety of custom software solutions. It saves money and time, meaning organisations can concentrate on core business goals, and not have to worry about complex infrastructure management.
Lots of businesses use Platform as a Service to develop applications that they provide to their customers. In traditional development environments, the development process would be much slower. With PaaS, businesses benefit from a fully managed development environment that streamlines the process, and allows them to deploy products quicker.
- Streamlined Development
Tying in with the previous point, Platform as a Service not only makes development quicker, but much easier. For instance Microsoft Azure’s PaaS solution provides organisations with diverse code libraries (so coders don’t have to write it all from scratch), application templates, in addition to pre-built environments and all the tools needed for development.
- Cost Efficiency
With an on-premise infrastructure organisations would need to purchase their own hardware and software, spend time setting their servers and configuring their VMs, which can equate to a significant amount of working time spent just setting the scene for the work that needs doing. Even with Infrastructure as a Service, time needs to be spent configuring VMs and purchasing the necessary operating systems to run on those VMs, before any development or migrations can be performed. With PaaS, all of the infrastructure is managed for you, so business can get straight into value-adding operations.
- Free Up Internal Resources
With Platform as a Service, all of the infrastructure is managed by your cloud service provider (i.e. Microsoft Azure). This means that your internal IT team doesn’t have to dedicate time and energy to infrastructure maintenance, and can instead dedicate time to higher-value work – including developing custom software solutions for the organisation, or for your customers.
- Future Proof
Platform as a Service is highly scalable. Meaning if an organisation needs more storage, or more VMs, they simply need to pay their provider for access to more of these types of resources. Workloads can easily be scaled up, and software can be scaled for deployment to more end-users with ease. New features can be added to custom applications, thanks to code libraries and pre-built development environments; bugs can be fixed easily, and patches can be easily deployed. Platform as a Service can easily be scaled and leveraged to meet new and changing demands within one’s organisation.
Looking For The Perfect Azure Partner?
At TechQuarters, we provide the ideal Azure Bounce Out Support Service – when making use of Azure, things can become a bit tech-heavy so bouncing out any issues or reworks to the professionals is not a bad idea. We can work together with your IT Manager to move your current applications to Microsoft Azure. We provide a proactive service that includes active monitoring and alerts, consistent checking of your resources, and preventative health checking too.
We are more than just a call answering service – if you experience any problems, you’ll get through to our specialist services team. This includes a 3rd line Azure Helpdesk, your direct line to senior helpdesk engineers when things aren’t working right.
If you are needing specialist Microsoft Azure Support from a Gold Microsoft Partner, TechQuarters are here to help you.