Microsoft's cloud computing platform, launched in February 2010. In addition to
traditional cloud offerings such as virtual machines, object storage, and
content delivery networks (CDNs), Azure offers services that leverage
proprietary Microsoft technologies. For example, RemoteApp allows
for the deployment of Windows programs using a virtual machine, with clients on
Windows, OS X, Android, or iOS using the program through a remote desktop
connection. Azure also offers cloud-hosted versions of common enterprise
Microsoft solutions, such as Active Directory and SQL Server.
Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft's public cloud computing
platform. It provides a range of cloud services, including those for compute,
analytics, storage and networking. Users can pick and choose from these
services to develop and scale new applications, or run existing applications,
in the public cloud.
Azure is widely considered both a Platform as a
Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure
as a Service (IaaS) offering.
categorizes Azure services into 11 main product types:
- Compute – these
services provide virtual
batch processing and remote application access.
- Web and mobile –
these services support the development and deployment of web and mobile
applications, and also offer features for API management, notification and
- Data storage –
this category includes Database
as a Service offerings for SQL and NoSQL,
as well as unstructured and cached cloud storage.
- Analytics – these
services provide distributed analytics and storage, as well as real-time
analytics, big data analytics, data
learning and data warehousing.
- Networking – this
group includes virtual
networks, dedicated connections and gateways,
as well as services for traffic management, load
balancing and domain
name system (DNS) hosting.
- Media and content
delivery network (CDN) – these services include
on-demand streaming, encoding and media playback and indexing.
- Hybrid integration –
these are services for server backup, site recovery and connecting private and public
- Identity and access
management (IAM) – these offerings ensure only authorized users
can employ Azure services, and help protect encryption keys and other
- Internet of Things (IoT) –
these services help users capture, monitor and analyze IoTdata
from sensors and other devices.
- Development –
these services help application developers share code, test applications
and track potential issues. Azure support a range of application
- Management and security –
these products help cloud administrators manage their Azure deployment,
schedule and run jobs, and create automation. This product group also
includes capabilities for identifying and responding to cloud security
full list of Azure services is constantly subject to change. Users should check
the Microsoft Azure website for updates.
as they can with other public cloud platforms, some organizations use Azure
for data backup and disaster
recovery. In addition, some organizations use Azure as an
alternative to their own data center. Rather than investing in local servers
and storage, these organizations choose to run some, or all, of their business
applications in Azure.