Microsoft Azure: The Future of Cloud Computing

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According to one of the IDC reports, cloud computing will be a billion-dollar industry by 2017.  As per Gartner Microsoft Azure is the upcoming leader for Infrastructure as a Service. All this while Amazon had cemented the top position in the cloud services market, today Microsoft Azure is rising as a strong contender, with better performance and a host of innovative features. As cloud computing is rising with unprecedented pace, Microsoft firmly conquers the space, therefore it is essential to validate what Microsoft Azure is and its impact, as well as the roadmap of Microsoft in the next few years.

Built for the cloud, Microsoft Azure provides both low-level infrastructure and higher-level cloud services that makes it flexible enough to execute virtually any application in scalable and redundant hosted environment. With the ability to design and build innovative applications, Microsoft’s Azure platform has been assisting developers, customers and stakeholders for more than a decade now. A flexible environment to drive and support specific needs of the enterprise, Azure has today become synonymous with the term Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the primary low-level public cloud service that provides an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet.

The uniqueness of IaaS is that it offers decreased expense and complexity of managing physical servers and data center infrastructure. As a matter of fact, with IaaS, enterprises can wrap up a set of business application, along with supporting databases, and migrate to Microsoft Azure IaaS with very little friction. The core strength of the Azure lies in its robust features; the latest Azure’s features comprise an extension of VM functionality that enhances IaaS implementation. These innovative features promise a credible alternative to Amazon Web Services. Apart from this, the idea of PaaS, will provide the significant benefits. The IaaS capabilities added lately allow organizations to run both Windows Server and Linux virtual machines.

Microsoft is hoping to attract new customers in the PaaS market with a per-minute pricing model that promises to reduce costs for many cloud deployments. For toddlers using Azure, when VM is stopped, the meter stops, instead of having to explicitly delete the deployment, while preserving the VM state and configuration. This makes it easier to stop VMs that are no longer being used and then restart them down the road.

In addition, Azure has rolled out a new business model called a per-minute pricing model that helps in reducing the cost for shorter deployments. Microsoft has also reduced the cost of spinning up a VM for developers to only 6 cents per hour. These results in massive cost savings for development and testing scenarios compared to any other cloud option on the market.

The recent roll out also include enhancements for Azure designed to improve the deployment, protection and analysis of media content. With the help of Media PaaS, organizations can stream video to HTML5, Flash, Silverlight, and Windows 8, iPad, iPhone, Android, Xbox and other clients via different streaming formats. This offering assures to overcome the tedious tasks involved in provisioning and managing a custom distribution infrastructure.

By leveraging Microsoft’s Dynamic packaging enables users to capture a single file format and stream to many adaptive protocol formats automatically. The packaging and conversion happens in real-time on the host server, which results in significant storage costs and time savings.

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