Microsoft Azure, growing up in cloud computing

With Microsoft Azure this week announcing, the general availability of Azure SQL Data warehouses, Azure usage and Billing portal, general availability of Azure premium messaging and Public preview of certification based authentication for iOS and android office apps, it’s no wonder that Microsoft this week also announced, companies such as Land O’ Lakes, Bentley systems, and Boeing’s move to Microsoft Azure. On top of which Gartner published the updated cloud for Infrastructure as-a-service (IaaS) scores, and Microsoft Azure announce over 100% Azure growth with share prices increasing by 5%. So, is Microsoft Azure growing up in the cloud computing era?

Microsoft Azure Narrowing the Gap

There is no doubt about it Microsoft Azure has had a great Year so far, but still way behind Amazon.  As AWs remain dominant in cloud infrastructure services market, Microsoft Azure’s growth surges. With the Gartner findings for IaaS showing a minor percentage lead for Amazon at 92%, Azure 88% and google cloud platform 70%, While another Gartner report has positioned Microsoft as a Leader, in the Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms. For the first time, Microsoft is placed furthest in vision within the Leaders quadrant. This is a Very impressive achievement in such a short period of time. Just how has Microsoft Azure narrowed the completions stronghold in cloud computing?

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform, originally developed for Windows application developers complete with .NET and SQL services and app synchronization using Microsoft Live. Azure has since evolved to include standard Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) compute, storage and network service, however it’s most valuable as a PaaS for applications. Azure starting with platform services only to later expose basic IaaS capabilities, with IaaS a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet. This cloud-first scheme enforced using a fast, DevOps methodology that facilitates speedier responses to digital business plans.  Azure consists of a growing portfolio of application, data, analytics, messaging, monitoring, security and developer services that can be integrated like building blocks into arbitrarily complex applications. Yet like IaaS, these higher level components are managed by Microsoft, provisioned and priced as no-contract, usage-based services, consumed and interconnected using APIs and the Azure Service Fabric and deployed on either shared (public Azure) or private (Azure Stack) infrastructure.

Current Situation

Today Microsoft Azure  has 34 data centres globally including new regions been announced for UK, Germany and Korea, coupled with Azures customer subscriptions at 120,000 per month,  As of June 2016, the Microsoft Azure Marketplace offers over 3,800 products organized into seven categories:

Virtual machines (VM) — Software images designed for Linux and Windows Server virtual machines. These are provided by Microsoft and other software vendors, including Veeam, CoreOS and SAP.

Developer services — Add-on services for application development and management. Vendors for these services include SendGrid, New Relic and mLab.

API apps — Tools to help developers connect applications to software as a service (SaaS) offerings and application programming interfaces (APIs). This category offers tools such as Salesforce Connector, HDInsight Connector, and SharePoint Server Connector.

Azure Active Directory applications– Applications that can be configured on Azure Active Directory to support user account management and single-sign-on. Applications include Box, Citrix and Concur.

Web applications Azure web apps and templates, including open source options. Applications offered include Scalable WordPress, CakePHP and Django.

Data services — Services that provide data on demographics, financials, retail, sports and a range of other categories. Organizations can use this data for custom applications and business intelligence tools. Data services include Microsoft Bing Search API, Microsoft translator and Dun and Bradstreet’s Business Verification.

Microsoft Dynamics solutions — Products that can be used alongside Microsoft Dynamics, a suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) applications from Microsoft. Products in this category include AX for Pharma, Instant AX for Manufacturing and ProjAX for Microsoft.

As business’s today migrate to the cloud, it’s clear that Azure is growing year on year and is steadily growing up in the cloud. But will they be able to close the gap on Amazon Web Services? We will wait and see……

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