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Azure - Microsoft's New Cloud Platform is Ready for Business

Coastal Computer - Thursday, February 18, 2016

It’s not often that Microsoft is seen as the underdog. Despite the many Android and iOS devices, the lion’s share of laptop and desktop computers run Microsoft Windows and most small businesses run Windows Server or Office365.


However, in the area of cloud computing, Microsoft lagged behind Google and Amazon who foresaw the need for businesses and created massive data centers and began pricing computing power at scale. Microsoft has now caught-up and surpassed Google and Amazon in some ways. Their cloud platform - Azure - is ready for business.

Let’s take a look to see some of the surprising ways that Microsoft’s cloud offering is different.

Flexible cloud computing

Azure gives developers and IT professionals access to massive computing resources at Microsoft’s data centers to run applications, web services, and server duties. A surprising twist here is that Microsoft, which is typically known for being proprietary, supports an incredible array of programming languages and computing environments on Azure, including Linux, Java, and PHP.


Knowing they face an uphill battle against the Amazon and Google, Microsoft offers price-matching on their pay-as-you-go platform. They’ll match competitors’ prices and you only pay for the resources you use. This might also be a surprising plus for many IT departments who are deciding which platform to use. Usually Microsoft sets high prices for software, especially server platforms. When it comes to entering a new market and making a compelling offer, Microsoft means business with their approach to pricing.

Security and Compliance

As far as privacy and compliance, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google will sign BAA’s - Business Associate Agreements - for companies handling sensitive patient information covered under HIPAA. Microsoft has certified to the latest security standards and many large companies trust the platform. When it comes to security and compliance, Azure is on par with its competitors.

Microsoft to Microsoft

When it comes to connecting or expanding your local Microsoft Server infrastructure to a cloud platform, either to manage part of the data, or for a full transition to the cloud, Microsoft offers the most direct route with Azure. Microsoft even allows you to run its Azure stack in your datacenter. As far as building bridges to existing Microsoft Server instances, Azure is ahead of the other cloud platforms, as we’d expect considering its the same vendor.

New features for businesses

Microsoft is expanding on its service offerings with Azure by providing advanced analytics, machine learning, and other business intelligence services. You can move your data to the cloud and start making better decisions based on predictive analysis.

Azure offers a compelling alternative to Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud computing services. For businesses that already run an existing Microsoft stack, it’s a no-brainer, especially considering Microsoft is price matching their cloud offering. You’ll pay the same price and experience a more seamless transition.

A Refreshing Approach

Many of the surprising features of Azure paint a different picture of Microsoft than we might be used to. Like Office365, Azure is ready for business, however, it’s a less proprietary, and more open framework than we are used to seeing from Microsoft. Entering into a competitive market for cloud computing services, Microsoft is acting a bit more like a startup software as a service company, and it’s quite refreshing. They’ve even got a free one-month trial. We hope they continue this business-friendly approach to offering compelling pricing and features as their market share increases in the cloud computing space.

Contact the team at Coastal to see how you can put Microsoft's Azure platform to work for your business.