One of the “Big Three” in cloud computing, Microsoft’s Azure platform focuses on hybrid cloud environments and can be used for a wide range of workloads including DevOps, IoT, blockchain, and big data analytics. One of its biggest advantages is the ease with which it integrates with Windows-based devices, something that Google Cloud and AWS have difficulty matching.
Not all analytics services are created equal and not all cloud storage is built for big data analytics. Azure offers finely-tuned analytics services that are faster and less costly than the other cloud providers making it a worthy contender for your big data solutions needs.
The Azure Cloud Platform
Azure has become the cloud of choice for many large organizations, including Coca-Cola, Samsung, and FedEx. In fact, more than 95% of Fortune 500 companies use Azure to provide cloud services. Azure Data Lakes Store (ADLS) paired with Azure Data Lake Analytics (ADLA) makes for a great addition to your larger data management strategy.
Azure uses machine learning tools to transform your company’s data into actionable insights. It includes a range of products designed to make it easy to combine any data at any scale, build and deploy machine learning models at scale, and perform big data advanced analytics:
- SQL Data Warehouse is up to 14x faster than other cloud providers, turbocharging your analytics performance while maintaining leading data security.
- Data Factory’s cloud data integration composes data storage, movement, and processing services into automated data pipelines and allows you to create and manage ETL/ELT workloads.
- With Azure BLOB Storage you can scale up or down, using only the cloud storage you need for unstructured documents, images, videos, and audio.
- User-friendly Azure Databricks is a collaborative Apache Spark-based analytics platform that provides a single point for big data processing and machine learning.
- Azure Cosmos DB is a globally distributed database service that helps you better manage your data wherever it and your users are located.
- Power BI a business analytics service that takes you from data to insights in minutes.
The Azure Cloud Advantage
Azure supports a wide range of operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, databases, and devices, allowing you to leverage tools and technologies you already use and trust.
In addition to its global availability, major advantages to the platform include:
- IaaS and PaaS capabilities that let you deploy simple VMs or full application stacks across a cloud environment. You can easily create your own web apps and solutions without having to buy and maintain the underlying infrastructure.
- With security offerings that meet international industry-specific standards, Azure is the most trusted cloud platform by U.S. government institutions and the first to embrace ISO 27018, the newest international standard for cloud privacy.
- Flexibility and scalability are crucial aspects of cloud services and Azure makes it easy for businesses to integrate data and processes at cloud scale.
- Nearly every organization needs hybrid capabilities and Azure’s offerings set it apart from other platforms with a broader range of connections including VPNs, CDNs, caches, and ExpressRoute connections.
- If your business already runs on Windows AD and Office 365, Azure simplifies operations by seamlessly integrating with existing Microsoft tools and products.
- SQL and NoSQL data services and built-in support for gaining deep insights on your data gives Azure superior analytics and intelligence capabilities and allows you to find the answers that you need. It’s also the only cloud platform offering BaaS, Bots, Machine Learning, and Cognitive APIs capabilities.
Finally, Azure’s pay-as-you-go model makes for a cost-efficient platform that you can build on as needs increase. IT admin costs are minimized as are hardware and maintenance expenses.
Future Solutions Today with Azure
Microsoft’s well-known commitment to transparent analytics and big data services allows your business to store critical data in the cloud and facilitates the making of quick, real-time decisions that can have a significant impact on your organization’s bottom line. While both AWS and Google Cloud provide similar capabilities, Azure’s sheer speed puts it in a class by itself.
Moving forward, Azure’s ever-expanding set of cloud-based computing services will continue to make the development of mobile apps, designing of IoT devices, and connecting to online storage and database resources far easier, without the need to manage hardware. That’s a terrific recipe for innovation and growth.