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What is Microsoft Azure? (updated 2019)

What is Microsoft Azure? (updated 2019)

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. It provides software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Cloud computing is when you access computing services—like servers, storage, networking, software—over the internet (“the cloud”) from a provider like Azure. For example, instead of storing personal documents and photos on your personal computer’s hard drive, most people now store them online: that’s cloud computing.

Cloud computing platforms, like Azure, tend to be less expensive and more secure, reliable, and flexible than on-premises servers. With the cloud, equipment downtime due to maintenance, theft, or damage is almost non-existent. You can scale your compute and storage resources—up or down—almost instantly when your needs change on Azure. Also, you typically pay only for the services you use, which provides a level of convenience and cost-control that’s almost impossible to achieve with on-site infrastructure.

Is Azure secure?

Yes, security and privacy are built into the Azure platform. Microsoft is committed to the highest levels of trust, transparency, standards conformance, and regulatory compliance with the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings of any cloud service provider.

Is Microsoft Azure only for Windows apps and services?

No. Azure supports open source technologies, so you can use the tools and technologies you prefer. Run virtually any application using your data source, with your operating system, on your device. With Azure, you have choices.

Microsoft Azure Design

Microsoft Azure uses a specialized operating system, called Microsoft Azure, to run its "fabric layer." A cluster hosted at Microsoft's data centers that manages computing and storage resources of the computers and provisions the resources (or a subset of them) to applications running on top of Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure has been described as a "cloud layer" on top of a number of Windows Server systems, which use Windows Server 2008 and a customized version of Hyper-V, known as the Microsoft Azure Hypervisor to provide virtualization of services.

Scaling and reliability are controlled by the Microsoft Azure Fabric Controller, which ensures the services and environment do not fail if one or more of the servers fails within the Microsoft data center, and which also provides the management of the user's Web application such as memory allocation and load balancing.

Azure provides an API built on REST, HTTP, and XML that allows a developer to interact with the services provided by Microsoft Azure. Microsoft also provides a client-side managed class library that encapsulates the functions of interacting with the services. It also integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio, Git, and Eclipse.

In addition to interacting with services via API, users can manage Azure services using the Web-based Azure Portal, which reached General Availability in December 2015. The portal allows users to browse active resources, modify settings, launch new resources, and view basic monitoring data from active virtual machines and services.

Why Microsoft Azure

  • Be future-ready - Continuous innovation from Microsoft supports your development today, and your product visions for tomorrow.

  • Build on your terms - With a commitment to open source, and support for all languages and frameworks, build how you want, and deploy where you want to.

  • Operate hybrid seamlessly - On-premises, in the cloud, and at the edge—we’ll meet you where you are. Integrate and manage your environments with services designed for hybrid cloud.

  • Trust your cloud - Get security from the ground up, backed by a team of experts, and proactive compliance trusted by enterprises, governments, and startups.

SAP and Microsoft Announce Project Embrace

Building on a joint commitment to simplify and modernize customers’ journeys to the cloud through project “Embrace,” SAP SE and Microsoft Corp. announced an extensive go-to-market partnership — from conceptualization to sales — to accelerate customer adoption of SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure.

This preferred cloud partnership brings together SAP and Microsoft, along with a global network of system integrators, to offer holistic bundles that provide customers with unified reference architectures, road maps and market-approved journeys to illuminate a clear path toward the cloud. As part of this simplified customer journey, Microsoft will resell components of SAP Cloud Platform alongside Azure. This unique offering is aimed at more easily migrating SAP ERP application and SAP S/4HANA customers from on premise to public cloud.

Under the banner of project ‘Embrace’, SAP, Microsoft and a global ecosystem of system integrators including Approyo will combine to offer “holistic bundles” designed to provide customers with unified reference architectures and strategic roadmaps in the context of cloud.

SAP will lead with Microsoft Azure to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures and cloud-delivered services. This includes future deployment and migration of existing direct SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud customers leveraging hyperscaler infrastructure. However, SAP continues with its long-standing policy of supporting choice for those customers who request alternatives based on business requirements.

When you migrate your SAP workloads to Azure, you get:

  • Reliable, highly available, and scalable SAP-certified infrastructure.

  • The ability to bring your own SAP license, reduce capital expenses, and monitor costs.

  • Advanced threat protection and single sign-on (SSO) with multi-factor authentication.

  • Development and testing environments on a scalable, high-fidelity, on-demand infrastructure.

  • On-demand Azure virtual machines certified for SAP.

  • Freedom to move to SAP HANA on your terms.

"I am proud to have the Approyo team working with Microsoft Azure and SAP on Project Embrace" added Christopher M. Carter, CEO of Approyo.

Get started with SAP and Microsoft powered by Approyo

Approyo is an SAP and Microsoft partner and provides full SAP service technology with extensive capabilities in consulting, solutions architecture, hosting and managed services, in order to develop the right solution for our customers. Get started today...

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