Azure can help you tackle tough business challenges. You bring your requirements, creativity, and favorite software development tools. Azure brings a massive global infrastructure that’s always available for you to build your applications on.
Let’s take a quick tour of the high-level services Azure offers.
Azure: the big picture
Here’s a big-picture view of the available services and features in Azure.
Let’s take a closer look at the most commonly-used categories:
- Internet of Things
- Big Data
- Artificial Intelligence
Compute services are often one of the primary reasons why companies move to the Azure platform. Azure provides a range of options for hosting applications and services. Here are some examples of compute services in Azure:
Linking compute resources and providing access to applications is the key function of Azure networking. Networking functionality in Azure includes a range of options to connect the outside world to services and features in the global Microsoft Azure datacenters.
Azure networking facilities have the following features:
Azure provides four main types of storage services. These services are:
These services all share several common characteristics:
- Durable and highly available with redundancy and replication.
- Secure through automatic encryption and role-based access control.
- Scalable with virtually unlimited storage.
- Managed, handling maintenance and any critical problems for you.
- Accessible from anywhere in the world over HTTP or HTTPS.
Azure enables developers to create mobile backend services for iOS, Android, and Windows apps quickly and easily. Features that used to take time and increase project risks, such as adding corporate sign-in and then connecting to on-premises resources such as SAP, Oracle, SQL Server, and SharePoint, are now simple to include.
Other features of this service include:
- Offline data synchronization.
- Connectivity to on-premises data.
- Broadcasting push notifications.
- Autoscaling to match business needs.
Azure provides multiple database services to store a wide variety of data types and volumes. And with global connectivity, this data is available to users instantly.
Having a great web experience is critical in today’s business world. Azure includes first-class support to build and host web apps and HTTP-based web services. The Azure services focused on web hosting include:
Internet of Things
People are able to access more information than ever before. It began with personal digital assistants (PDAs), then morphed into smartphones. Now there are smart watches, smart thermostats, even smart refrigerators. Personal computers used to be the norm. Now the internet allows any item that’s online-capable to access valuable information. This ability for devices to garner and then relay information for data analysis is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT).
There are a number of services that can assist and drive end-to-end solutions for IoT on Azure.
Data comes in all formats and sizes. When we talk about Big Data, we’re referring to large volumes of data. Data from weather systems, communications systems, genomic research, imaging platforms, and many other scenarios generate hundreds of gigabytes of data. This amount of data makes it hard to analyze and make decisions around. It’s often so large that traditional forms of processing and analysis are no longer appropriate.
Open source cluster technologies have been developed to deal with these large data sets. Microsoft Azure supports a broad range of technologies and services to provide big data and analytic solutions.
Artificial Intelligence, in the context of cloud computing, is based around a broad range of services, the core of which is Machine Learning. Machine Learning is a data science technique that allows computers to use existing data to forecast future behaviors, outcomes, and trends. Using machine learning, computers learn without being explicitly programmed.
Forecasts or predictions from machine learning can make apps and devices smarter. For example, when you shop online, machine learning helps recommend other products you might like based on what you’ve purchased. Or when your credit card is swiped, machine learning compares the transaction to a database of transactions and helps detect fraud. And when your robot vacuum cleaner vacuums a room, machine learning helps it decide whether the job is done.
Some of the most common Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning service types in Azure are:
A closely related set of products are the cognitive services. These are pre-built APIs you can leverage in your applications to solve complex problems.
DevOps (Development and Operations) brings together people, processes, and technology, automating software delivery to provide continuous value to your users. Azure DevOps Services allows you to create, build, and release pipelines that provide continuous integration, delivery, and deployment for your applications. You can integrate repositories and application tests, perform application monitoring, and work with build artifacts. You can also work with and backlog items for tracking, automate infrastructure deployment and integrate a range of third-party tools and services such as Jenkins and Chef. All of these functions and many more are closely integrated with Azure to allow for consistent, repeatable deployments for your applications to provide streamlined build and release processes.
Some of the main DevOps services available with Azure are Azure DevOps Services, and Azure DevTest Labs.