Azure cloud services guide: The right tools for the job

Here are the most common uses for the cloud and which Microsoft Azure components you need for them

Azure cloud services guide: The right tools for the job
Galen Gruman/IDG

Microsoft launched the Azure service just over eight years ago in a bid to play catchup with Amazon Web Services. And it has succeeded. Azure is now the No. 2 cloud service, behind AWS. Just how far behind varies from one analyst firm to another, but the general consensus is that it is a two-horse race.

Whether you are building a new application or migration an existing application to the cloud, you can use Azure to manage applications no matter how large or complex they are, using your choice of management tools including the Azure portal, PowerShell, Bash, and REST APIs. Azure also provides built-in support for things like monitoring, log analytics, patching, backup, and site recovery.

It’s easy to think of Azure as a Windows service, and it does make heavy use of Windows Server and the .Net platform. But Microsoft supports multiple versions of enterprise Linux; in fact, one third of all migrations to Azure are to a Linux environment. So Azure has other tricks up its sleeve. Let me break down the big reasons to use Azure’s tools and services.

Azure services for containers, serverless computing, and microservices

Although Microsoft offers a widely used server platform in Windows Server and offers it via Azure, it also got on board the container and serverless revolution early, supporting Docker and Kubernetes. Microsoft partners and consultants will typically work with customers to assist in the migration, or you can upload an app to Docker Hub for development and testing and then pull it into the container service of choice in Azure.

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