In recent years, the toughest question enterprises face on cloud has evolved from “Do I move to the cloud?” to “Which cloud platform suits my business best?”
The choice you make depends on how you want to use the cloud. Leading cloud providers may seem to offer similar services but there are many differentiating factors. Technology is only one consideration; reliability, flexibility, scalability and, of course, security are amongst the many aspects to think about when picking a platform which can add value to your business.
Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, is recognised for its stable, consistent environment. As it supports a broad selection of tools, services and solutions, applications built and managed on Azure can be easily integrated, providing speed in development, deployment and management.
In addition, familiarity breeds productivity; Azure leverages on technologies utilised by other Microsoft products and solutions such as Windows Server, SQL Server and Hyper-V. Azure is optimised for applications built in the .NET programming runtime which has been Microsoft’s standard for Windows programming for the past decade. At the same time, Azure supports multiple non-Microsoft operating systems (including Linux), databases, devices, tools as well as nearly every programming language there is.
Microsoft has aggressively improved on its platform and products as the growth of mobility, the Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics changed the business landscape. For enterprises which prefer to adopt a hybrid solution, Microsoft Azure Stack - a new hybrid platform which integrates your own data centre with the public cloud easily - gives you flexibility and control. You decide on whether you prefer to keep certain applications and data on-premise or on-cloud, catering for agility and scale as needed.
With rivals such as Google offering perceived advantages in areas such as data analytics, Azure can point to its own wide range of analytic products, such as its Machine Learning service which leverages on the Cortana Analytics Suite to provide predictive analytics such as customer churn or analysis of an enterprise’s social media content through machine learning models and packages.
Both Cortana Analytics and the IoT Suite, another Azure analytic tool used to capture and analyse untapped data, has been picked by Azure client Rolls-Royce to help it develop its digital capabilities. These tools will be integrated into Rolls-Royce’s service solutions to support the current and next generation of Rolls-Royce intelligent aero engines for its aviation business.
Such client partnership is a reflection of the ties and trust Microsoft has established with enterprises, large and small, over the last 30 years. Microsoft’s focus on developing products to suit client needs and ecosystem of customer support is indicative of its understanding of its client business requirements and the credibility it holds in the market.
Ultimately though, your cloud platform choice reflects your business needs and what you believe will support your business growth.