Why You Should Use Windows Azure

This article explains, why you should use Windows Azure.

As we discussed in a previous article, there are four main services of Windows Azure, but there are many other architectures of Windows Azure Categorization. A famous breakdown of Windows Azure Services is given below:

Windows Azure Services

I read about this image in the "Introducing Windows Azure" book. At the top are the various execution models, namely the various technologies that can be used to execute applications running in the Windows Azure cloud. The execution models correspond to the four Windows Azure compute services of Virtual Machines, Web Sites, Cloud Services and Mobile Services.

At the bottom are the language-specific Software Development Kits (SDKs) you can use for building, deploying and managing applications that can run on Windows Azure. The SDKs that are currently supported include ones for .NET, Java, PHP, Node.js, Ruby and Python. There is also a general Windows Azure SDK that provides basic support for any programming language, for example C++. The latest version (2.1) of the Windows Azure SDK for .NET include SDKs, basic tools and extended tools for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1, Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2013 Preview.

This was another categorization of Windows Azure Services. And the key points of how it works. While in its essence Windows Azure is simply a collection of various kinds of cloud services, it's what you can do with these services that can make the platform appealing to businesses. In other words, it's the solutions that matter most for business customers and not the underlying services needed to implement those solutions.

With nearly two dozen services currently available with Windows Azure, the number and variety of various kinds of solutions that are possible is almost infinite. And that gets us back to our original answer , "What is Windows Azure?" where we stated that "Windows Azure can be anything you want it to be", such as:
  • Infrastructure
  • Mobile
  • Web
  • Media
  • Integration
  • Identity and Access Management
  • Big Data
  • Dev and Test
  • Storage, Backup and Recovery
  • Data Management

Why to use Windows Azure

Microsoft has done various case studies of how various companies use Windows Azure to expand their scale of operations and reduce their operating costs. I have read the following two studies in my reference book.

Cooltrax

This Australia-based transportation and logistics company formerly supported its IT needs using its own infrastructure through a local hosting provider. But as their business expanded, they had ever-increasing amounts of tracking data to store and analyze and they came to the realization that their existing solution couldn't scale in a cost-efficient way to meet their changing needs.

Because Windows Azure provides virtually infinite scalability and supports a diverse set of development technologies, Cooltrax decided to migrate their solution to Windows Azure Cloud Services. They developed their business applications using a combination of Microsoft Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). They also used the BLOB service of Windows Azure Data Management to store log files, deployment packages and backups. And they utilized other Windows Azure services to process incoming data, do geocoding, generate alerts and notifications and implement reporting. As a result of these changes, Cooltrax reduced their IT costs by 15 percent and lowered their hardware maintenance tune by 20 labor hours per month. They now have a single platform that they can utilize using their existing IT expertise.

Open Knowledge Network (OKN)

OKN is an e-learning company based in Madrid, Spain that had been providing SaaS solutions to their customers but was finding that their existing hosting provider was unable to provide them with the level of services they required. They also wanted to expand their business internationally, but their host didn't have any datacenters outside Europe.

OKN decided to migrate their e-learning platform for Windows Azure for two reasons. First, Windows Azure supports running cloud applications that are 100 percent open source and OKN's e-learning platform is based on Linux, PHP and MySQL. By using Windows Azure Virtual Machines, Cloud Services and BLOB storage, OKN can run their e-learning platform in Windows Azure. And second, because Windows Azure has datacenters all over the world, OKN can gain a global presence for their e-learning platform so they can grow their business internationally.

ADMIXER

Admixer develops and maintains products in the field of digital advertising management. We provide our clients with solutions for audience monetization, as well as tools for building advertising networks and for programmatic and manual audience buying.

CRIMSON TIDE

Crimson Tide Plc was founded in 1996 and specialises in the development of enterprise class mobility solutions on subscription (mpro5). mpro5 mobilises workforces by enabling staff to complete jobs and paper-based processes on smartphones, tablets and PDAs. The business benefits include removal of paperwork, increased efficiency and staff productivity, an immediate ROI, real time reporting and alerting and much more. All hardware (Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices), mpro5 software, Microsoft Azure cloud space, mpro gemini management website, alerting, reporting and support are included in mpro5's unique subscription model. mpro5 can mobilise your business in days, not years.

BA MINDS

Founded in 2010, BA Minds provides cost-effective and innovative cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software that makes life easier for small and medium-sized enterprises in Latin America, with no initial server and license investments. BA Minds easily transfers significant cost savings to its customers via its software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, with monthly subscription and no term commitments.

BMC SOFTWARE

BMC Software helps companies put technology at the forefront of business transformation, improving digital service delivery and consumption. From mainframe to cloud to mobile, BMC delivers IT management solutions that have enabled 15,000 customers to leverage complex technology into extraordinary business performance. BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management is a market leading cloud management solution that helps enterprises build, manage and govern hybrid cloud environments that leverage the Microsoft Azure platform.

And you can find many other case studies in the Microsoft website. All are very Interesting, you can find the reasons here for "Why you should use Windows Azure".