Get to know Azure
Explore the world of cloud computing and learn what sets Azure apart
Introduction to cloud computing
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.
Cloud computing eliminates the expense of setting up and running on-site datacenters, which often have added costs such as employing staff and buying and maintaining land, buildings, and computer hardware. The cloud allows businesses to access the computer resources they need in real time to match their business needs on demand.
Security is a key focus of cloud providers, who invest huge sums of money into securing their infrastructure. Cloud providers typically also offer a broad set of policies, compliance, technologies, and controls that strengthen your security posture by protecting your data, apps, and infrastructure from threats.
More efficiently develop and manage your applications with nearly unlimited cloud computing resources. Cloud providers continuously update their datacenter networks with the latest-generation hardware, providing you with fast, efficient computing resources that never go obsolete and would be more costly to implement in a single datacenter.
Cloud computing runs on data centers around the world, providing overall resiliency and reliability by allowing your data to be backed up in more than one geographic location. This also allows your IT resources to be delivered from specific geographic locations when required.
What is Azure?
Azure is an ever-expanding set of cloud computing services to help your organization meet its business challenges. Azure gives you the freedom to build, manage, and deploy applications on a massive, global network using your preferred tools and frameworks. With Azure, you can:
Continuous innovation from Microsoft supports your development today—and your product visions for tomorrow. Build on the latest advancements in the cloud, including more than 1,000 new capabilities released in the last year.
Operate hybrid seamlessly
On-premises, in the cloud, and at the edge—Azure meets you where you are. Integrate and manage your environments with tools and services designed for hybrid cloud.
Build on your terms
You have choices—with Azure’s commitment to open source and support for all languages and frameworks, you’re free to build how you want and deploy where you want.
Trust your cloud
Get security from the ground up—backed by a team of experts and proactive, industry-leading compliance that’s trusted by enterprises, governments, and startups.
Azure is secure
Security is a given in the cloud industry, but Azure’s proactive approach to security, compliance, and privacy is unique. Microsoft leads the industry in establishing and consistently meeting clear security and privacy requirements.
Between its industry-leading compliance and privacy certifications to built-in security controls and unique threat intelligence, Azure has everything you need to identify and protect against rapidly evolving threats.
Start with a secure foundation
Reduce costs and complexities with a highly-secure cloud foundation that takes advantage of multi-layered security provided by Microsoft.
Streamline your compliance and enable business transformation
Use built-in controls, configuration management tools, implementation and guidance resources, and third-party audit reports to simplify your compliance needs.
Detect threats early
Identify new threats and respond quickly with unique services informed by real-time global cybersecurity intelligence delivered at cloud scale.
Azure is global
With datacenters in more regions than any other cloud provider, Azure provides a global reach with local presence that many businesses and organizations need, allowing them to reduce the cost, the time, and the complexity of operating a global infrastructure while meeting local data residency needs.
The advantages of Azure over AWS
Organizations all over the world recognize Microsoft Azure over Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the most trusted cloud for enterprise and hybrid infrastructure for many reasons:
AWS is 5 times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server. Azure matches AWS pricing for comparable services.
Achieve more with open source on Azure
Use any open-source OS, languages, and tools on Azure. Azure made the most contributions to GitHub in 2017 and it’s the only cloud with integrated support for Red Hat.
Enhanced proactive security and compliance
Compare AWS and Azure and you’ll find that Azure’s compliance offerings—including 70+ compliance certifications—are more comprehensive.
Get more value from your existing Microsoft investment
Keep using your organization’s existing tools and knowledge: get a consistent experience across your on-premises and cloud technologies by integrating them with Azure Active Directory.
Azure is the future
The advent of the cloud and smart technologies is revealing new scenarios that were simply not possible until now. Smart sensors and connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices now allow us to capture new data from industrial equipment: from factories to farms, from smart cities to homes. And whether it’s a car or even a refrigerator, new devices are increasingly cloud connected by default.
Simultaneously, hybrid cloud is evolving from being the integration of on-premises datacenters with the public cloud, to becoming units of computing that are accessible even in the world’s most remote destinations.
By bringing these two new realities together—and with artificial intelligence running across all systems—we have entered the era of the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.
The intelligent edge is a continually expanding set of connected systems and devices that gather and analyze data—close to your users, the data, or both. Users get real-time insights and experiences, delivered by highly responsive and contextually aware apps. The Azure platform is built to provide an agile and secure experience across the intelligent cloud/intelligent edge in alignment with these enduring principles:
for simplifying the development and deployment of your solutions with consistent programming models, app services, data services, DevOps tools, and support for open source technologies.
that reduces the complexity of managing security across a distributed infrastructure.
to manage profiles for cloud-to-edge solutions and guard against unauthorized access.
including monitoring, backup, disaster recovery, and update management tools for cloud and edge environments.
allowing you to build, retrain, and improve machine learning models that run at the edge to deliver real-time insights.
including edge devices provided by Azure and partners to ensure the right edge solution for your business.
Your cloud journey starts here
Find everything you need to make a successful move to the cloud using the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure. The framework contains proven guidance designed to help customers and partners create and implement strategies for achieving their cloud goals.
Learn more about cloud computing and Azure
Understand the basics of cloud computing.
Get an introduction to the Azure cloud platform.
Learn more about why Azure is the trusted cloud platform.