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Blog > Azure & Cloud Computing: Do You Need It?

What is Azure?

As a cloud computing service, visualizing Azure in the marketplace would place it as a counterpart to Amazon’s Web Services (AWS), and Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP). 

Why Cloud Compute?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing service. Cloud computing came about an one of two answers to the traditional approach of a business pouring resources into their own web servers, and all the entailing hardware, staffing, and internet fees that follow. Costs: Big. 

Cost Efficiency

The first answer to private web servers is to employ a hosting company to host your services on their own hardware in their data centers. 

Pay Only for What You Need

The second answer is to pay either Microsoft, Amazon, or Google, for access to their computing resources. This option allows you to host web servers, databases, file storage servers, et cetera. Instead of paying for the number of hardware services you’re using on a rack somewhere, you pay for however many computing resources you use. 

The biggest advantage of cloud computing is the efficiency and cost of it –  you only need pay for what you use, and up-front costs are manageable. It’s a clean way of waving pesky infrastructure management costs goodbye!  

Azure Products

The full directory of services and products you can use can be found here on their website, but we’ve also provided a list of their top products here. Each of these have a free trial period of 12 months:

  • Virtual machines (Linux & Windows)
  • Secure storage (disk, blob, file)
  • SQL databases with built-in intelligence
  • Inbound and outbound data transfer
  • AI & machine learning for data extraction
  • Real time, text translation for apps, website, and tools
  • Automatic anomaly detectors to automatically identify issues
  • Content moderators
  • Facial recognition

How to Get Started

Microsoft Azure is open to everyone. Head over to their website to sign up. Each account comes with $200 in credit (which expires in 30 days), so you have enough freedom to ensure Azure’s precisely what you want. As a bonus, you’ll receive a certain number of free services for the first year, such as access to Linux and Windows virtual machines, file storage, databases, and bandwidth. 

Are you interested achieving polished automation across all your business modules? Stay tuned for our next blog on how Azure and Power BI work together. 

The benefits of Microsoft's Azure cloud computing service