Azure is a cloud computing platform built and operated by Microsoft. It allows companies to run applications and host content in the cloud. While Microsoft designed Azure to support enterprise computing requirements, the service is also available to small businesses and individuals.
The Azure infrastructure consists of multiple data centers distributed around the world. The global network of computers provides low latency and high reliability regardless of where users access the service. Azure includes multiple types of servers, including Windows Server, Linux, and SAP HANA machines.
Below are a few examples of the 200+ Azure solutions:
- SaaS - running web applications and Internet-based services
- CDN - delivering websites and streaming content from edge nodes around the world
- E-commerce - providing customized shopping cart experiences localized for each visitor
- Database storage - enabling high-speed data storage and access
- Software testing - providing access to virtual machines that run different operating systems
Because of the benefits of a globally-distributed computing network, many businesses have moved locally-hosted data to a cloud service like Azure. While migrating data and applications to Azure may require several steps, starting the process is simple. Developers can sign up for an Azure account, create a new cloud computing "instance," and start using the service immediately.