By: Christopher Gilbert – Bayshore Solutions Development Team

I predict that the future of your business is Cloudy!

No, we don’t think that your business has a stormy future because at Bayshore Solutions we are dedicated to viewing our customers as partners and are committed to the success of your business.

I am suggesting your business has a future in “Cloud computing”, specifically with Microsoft Azure. Let’s start with an introduction to cloud computing and then we will cover some of the benefits and offerings of Microsoft Azure.

Cloud Computing Basics

Have you ever heard someone talking about “the cloud” and wondered what it meant?

Cloud computing is a fairly recent technology and for many is still quite nebulous (pun intended), yet it is not too hard to understand. In fact, you most likely have already used one or more of the many services in the “Cloud” without even knowing it.

Cloud computing and cloud technology, often referred to as “The cloud” in simplest terms is just software and services that run on the internet. Taken a little further, it is the ability to access computing resources, applications, and centralized data all made possible through vast networks of data centers and servers.

Essentially, cloud computing can be thought of as a metaphor for the Internet. Services like Dropbox, Gmail, Evernote and countless others are all made possible through the cloud.

Now that you know what the cloud is and how it works, let’s see how it can benefit your business.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing offering. In short, Azure is an ever-expanding list of integrated network, data storage, and application services – all designed to help your business get more done in less time while saving money.

In order to understand some of the key features of Azure, we first need to quickly define IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service)
The most basic offering is IaaS which is where you get access to the physical hardware in a data center along with power, cooling and networking. The rest you need to manage yourself.

PaaS (Platform-as-a-service)
In addition to the infrastructure, the next level of service that PaaS offers encompasses the operating system, database, web server and the computing environment to run your software applications. However, you still need to monitor those services, apply updates when needed, etc.

SaaS (Software-as-a-service)
The highest level of service is SaaS where you only need to focus on the application your business delivers.

What does Azure have to offer?

Web Sites
You can launch and host a website using Azure Web Sites. These sites can be developed with a variety of languages and frameworks including ASP.NET and PHP. In addition, many templates of common web applications such as WordPress and nopCommerce are available.

Virtual Machines
You can set up virtual machines in the cloud that can run Windows or Linux as the operating system and you are even able to connect remotely using Remote Desktop. Virtual machines are a great option when you want to add more computing capacity for applications or for setting up virtual networks.

Mobile Services
There are many features in mobile services that will accelerate the development time of your next mobile application. You will be able to rapidly develop engaging cross-platform applications leveraging push notifications, offline browsing and data sync as well as social integration with Facebook, Google and Twitter.

Media and Storage
Microsoft Azure media and storage aids with the creation, management and distribution of a variety of media and content. There’s everything from caching and content delivery networks to serving a variety of digital formats and even media streaming.

Cloud Services
With cloud services, you are able to deploy highly available and scalable applications and services. Your application can be deployed to multiple instances in a matter of minutes and be scaled to meet demand, saving both time and money. You are able to focus on your business and your application instead of worrying about hardware because health monitoring and operating system and application patching are all included.

Is Azure right for my business? How can I save money? What are the benefits?

Faster Time to Market
Since you are not focusing on server architecture, physical hardware or underlying infrastructure, you are able to focus solely on delivering your business application. Development can be completed in a fraction of the time which results in faster time to market.

Greater Flexibility
Applications can be deployed to Azure very quickly with no downtime. This allows for greater flexibility and creativity to explore adding new functionality to your applications that were not possible before.

High Availability
Was your business able to respond to Cyber Monday without any glitches? When there are spikes in traffic due to seasonal demand or other factors, you can easily scale your application to handle the increase in traffic and resource requests.

Reduced Costs
The model of Microsoft Azure is to pay-as-you-go and only pay for what you actually use. There’s no minimum purchase and you can cancel at any time, so there’s no risk.

We’ve only scratched the surface of what Microsoft Azure can do for your business. There are multiple products and services that enable you to get your product to market faster, serve a larger number of customers across multiple regions and have your application scale to meet the the increased demand for your business.

Interested in taking your business to the next level? Contact Bayshore Solutions today to have one of our many Microsoft Certified developers help get your business into the cloud!


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