5 Facts You Need to Know About Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure gains ground on AWS, the world’s largest provider of public cloud services. You consider the public cloud-like many others because it offers so many no-brainer benefits – cost savings, predictability, and scalability. But where to start, and which provider to choose – after making the decision to accept the public cloud, there are still questions to ask.

Here are five key features to shed insight into Microsoft Azure and help you on your journey through the cloud.

1. Microsoft Azure will always keep at least 3 copies of your personal data

Your data is always replicated in Microsoft Azure to ensure longevity and great availability. Azure Storage must hold at least 3 copies of your data either inside the same data center, locally redundant storage (LRS) or a second data center, either zone-redundant storage (ZRS), geo-redundant storage (GRS) or geo-redundant read-access storage (RA-GRS).

For more detailed comparison:

Replication Strategy LRS ZRS GRS RA-GRS
Number of copies of data maintained 3 3 6 6
Data is replicated across multiple data centers Y Y Y
Data can be read from a secondary location Y

Microsoft Azure protects your data with at least 3 replicated copies and preserves the up-time of your application in the event of transient hardware failures.

2 Microsoft Azure storage allows for geographical redundancy of your data

You have an option to duplicate your data in a secondary region within the same geographical boundary to optimize the durability for your deployment.

Using the Geo-redundant storage (GRS) method, your data is replicated 3 times within the primary region and is also replicated 3 times hundreds of miles away from the primary region in a secondary region. Azure Storage will failover to the secondary region in the event of a primary region failure.

3 Microsoft Azure guarantees SLA uptime of 99.9% for a single virtual machine instance

For years, Microsoft Azure has allowed you to have 2 or more virtual machines together in an Availability Set to get an Azure Machine 99.95 percent guaranteed uptime SLA.

This is not the case anymore!

Starting in November 2016, for a single instance Azure Virtual Machine, you will get a 99.9% money-back guaranteed uptime SLA. This is perfect for SMBs looking to install a second domain controller in Azure or move their first line of business workload into Azure without compromising your availability expectations. When Microsoft Azure has to take down a virtual machine for maintenance they can still send notice five days ahead.

Of course, for multi-instance virtual machines, Microsoft Azure still offers the 99.95% SLA. This latest update merely makes the VM experience of a single instance more predictable.

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4 Microsoft Azure comes with a hybrid cloud approach

Since on-site data centers are small and cloud economies of scale are inevitable, Microsoft supports clients using cloud services to enhance their current computing and storage capabilities.

Scenarios for Microsoft’s hybrid cloud services differ with the platform:

Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform as a Service (PaaS) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Platform The SaaS offerings provided by Microsoft include Office 365, Microsoft Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Azure PaaS services allow you to build applications based on the cloud. Azure IaaS services allow you to create and execute IT workloads based on servers in the cloud.
Hybrid cloud scenarios Combine the Microsoft SaaS software with utilities or applications at the premises. Combine an Azure PaaS software with tools or programs on-premises. Connect an IT workload to your on-premises network that runs on virtual machines.
Examples Exchange Online running in Office 365 can be combined with the installed on-premises Skype for Business 2015. For information required to view to mobile device users, an Azure PaaS device may securely query an on-premise data store. For your critical data, you can use cloud storage as a backup location, or use multiple Azure regions for maximum data security & redundancy.

5 Microsoft Azure provides elasticity for 9-to-5 apps, so you don’t have to run servers 24/7

Elastic computing is the capacity to increase or decrease computer processing, memory, and storage resources rapidly to meet increasing demands without thinking about capability preparation and peak use engineering.

The Azure cloud provides elastic computing capabilities to match the number of resources allocated to the actual amount of resources needed without disrupting the operations. Through cloud elasticity, you can stop paying for unused storage or idle space, and don’t have to think about investing in new space and equipment procurement and maintenance.

Final Thoughts:

We looked at some of the Key features Azure offers in this post and explained how they could help you. What hidden gems did you find in Azure, making your life easier? Free to share!

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