Microsoft Azure: What IT and business leaders need to know (free PDF)

More and more organizations are taking advantage of the agility, economy, and scalability of cloud services, so it’s critical to understand and assess what top providers have to offer. This ebook looks at the pros and cons of Azure, Microsoft’s popular cloud computing platform.

From the ebook:

The rise of cloud computing enables businesses to quickly provision computing resources without the costly and laborious task of building data centers and without the expense of running servers with unutilized capacity due to variable workloads.

Azure, 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, and iOS using the program through a remote desktop connection. Azure also offers cloud-hosted versions of common Microsoft enterprise solutions, such as Active Directory and SQL Server.

Why does Microsoft Azure matter?
Azure, like other cloud service providers, lets you 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.

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