Microsoft Azure 101



Microsoft Azure is one of the most prominent cloud computing platforms at the moment, with only Amazon Web Services having greater market share and revenue. Azure is essential as the behind-the-scenes supporting infrastructure for much of the Microsoft cloud (e.g., Office 365) as well as for many third-party apps, websites and services. As an IT professional, you should be familiar with at least the general contours of Azure and what it can do for an organization. Here are some of the most important features to know about the platform:

Azure is an umbrella, covering many different solutions

The use cases for Azure are vast, which makes sense considering that "Azure" is not a single product but a collection of tools that can perform tasks such as running an Azure-like private cloud in your own data center (Azure Stack), containerizing workloads to reduce the overhead associated with virtual machines (Container Service) and ensuring dedicated private network fiber connections (ExpressRoute).

In other words, Azure is not simply a huge pool resources for supporting a company's Software-as-a-Service applications (although it can do that, too). It also serves as the glue that holds together many everyday IT operations. For example, Azure Active Directory is a cloud-based identity management system that can offer single sign-on for both on-premises and cloud applications, including Office 365, boosting convenience and security for the entire organization.

Azure is constantly evolving and adding new services

Like any major cloud, Azure is on the technological cutting-edge. Fresh features are introduced all the time to expand the platform's reach and address common needs among developers and end-users. Many of Azure's components, such as Azure Stack, were only added in the last few years, even though Azure itself dates back to 2010.

"Fresh features are introduced all the time."

Microsoft's annual Build developers' conference often includes several announcements about Azure updates. In 2017, the biggest ones pertained to additional database options in Azure, more specifically a NoSQL database (Cosmos DB) and options for both MySQL and PostgreSQL. Between them, these databases serve a broad population of Azure customers and enable development of highly scalable applications.

You can quickly learn Azure if you already know another cloud platform

Many IT professionals learn AWS first, since it was the first major Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service offering. The good news is that skills in AWS and other cloud ecosystems are partially transferable to Azure, thanks to courses available at New Horizons Computer Learning Centers.

Our Azure course catalog includes classes for AWS experts, in addition to other coursework in the technical fundamentals of implementing and maintaining Azure. Learn more today by exploring the course listing and locate a New Horizons Learning Group Campus near you.


Jun 2017

By: Kayla Tellers