Microsoft Azure: An insider’s guide (free PDF)

Azure enables flexible provisioning of computing resources and offers a host of services that leverage Microsoft technologies. This ebook looks at how organizations can take advantage of Azure’s services and solutions.

From the ebook:

Azure, like other cloud service providers, offers the ability to instantly provision computing resources on demand. Compared to the onerous task of planning and building an onsite data center, along with the requisite hardware upgrades, maintenance costs, server cooling requirements, electricity costs, and use of floor space—particularly for offices with associated real estate costs—the savings can add up quickly.

The benefits of Azure extend beyond cost control, however. The task of administering certain technologies, such as Windows Server, Active Directory, and SharePoint, can be greatly eased with the combination of Azure and Office 365. This frees up IT staff to work on new projects rather than spending time on general system upkeep.

Microsoft is aggressively courting organizations to move AI compute operations into Azure. At Microsoft Build 2018, the company highlighted its move of Project Brainwave—an FPGA-based deep learning system built for real-time AI—into the Azure cloud service as a preview. Microsoft is also previewing an edge computing version of Project Brainwave, which are on-premises servers that act as Azure IoT Edge devices. Microsoft claims that a single AI server can process 500 images per second, with the company charging 21 cents per million tasks.

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