Microsoft Azure Hosting Review

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  • Windows and container compatible in addition to Linux
  • Frontend management interface of a higher class
  • Amazing basis for work enhancement via operation speed and scalability

Microsoft Azure started out as an innovational PaaS (Platform as a Service) to become a multi-system IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) to cover as much user preferences as possible.

By Aleksandar Spasov | 29th November 2018

In its core, Microsoft Azure is a combination of tools, patterns, templates, and an array of polished services to bring better levels of productivity for any IT enthusiast or developer. It packs an incredible amount of features suitable for a Microsoft or a Linux platform, as well as container options. The software is capable of managing both desktop and mobile apps and could be easily fit into any enterprise’s business system without much hassle.

As one of the noticeable investment efforts of Microsoft, the Microsoft Azure is simply put, a public cloud service, mainly aimed at the Infrastructure as a Service field (IaaS). While Azure was staying in the backlines in the past, nowadays, it has the needed optimization to compete head-to-head with the biggest names in the industry – Amazon Web and Google Cloud.

In search of the perfect app for Windows/Linux-based business servers, we find Microsoft Azure to be an ideal fit for most of those. The Linux addition goes all the way to cover even guest OSes (Operating Systems) and container platforms like Docker. A Windows Hyper-V framework doesn’t eliminate the possibility to run OpenSUSE, SUSE, Ubuntu, or CentOS on it, with the usual Windows Server 2008/2012 possibilities in place, too!

Packages and Pricing

In Microsoft Azure, users only get to pay for the actual features in their Preferred Use List. We don’t find a package structure with set tools and options to limit us in the flexibility of the platform. Much on the contrary, every business owner/single user can choose only the features they will get benefit from. We will briefly discuss the main characteristics here, so you get an overall idea of expected prices for any time period. All mentioned prices are monthly.

Storage Space – Block Blobs – $0,002/GB; Lake Storage – $0,001; Managed Disks – $1,54; Files – $0,06;

Security – While the Free Tier of Microsoft Azure Security comes with only a Security Policy, assessment, connected partner solutions, and recommendations, the Standard Tier has an SQL DB for $0,021 per server/hour, MySQL option at $0,011 server/hour, PostgreSQL at the same price, and Storage Security feature absolutely free for the first 10,000 transactions.

App Service here comes at $0,013 per hours, Virtual Machines goes for $0,008 an hour, and the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is at $0,008 per hour. All of the three are free of charge for the first 12 months of any contract. The Compute Function always grants 1 million free requests per month with all next millions costing $0,20/million.

Usability and Features

Microsoft Azure comes with a lot of user-friendly tools and an easy-to-use interface to enable proper enhancing of any business structure. As we have seen in the previous section, Azure presents us with the possibility to design our own feature-packed plans and decide exactly which ones to use for the greatest benefit regarding our virtual needs. This in mind, let’s look at the main options with Microsoft Azure.

  • Website building – ASP.Net, Node.js, or PHP
  • App and Infrastructure Migration
  • SQL Database
  • CDN
  • Caching
  • Windows Server/Linux Virtual Machine deployment
  • Mobile/Cloud Services, Virtual Network
  • Business Analytics
  • Media
  • Hadoop
  • API Design/Lifecycle Management
  • Threat Protection
  • Traffic Control
  • Testing Options
  • Version Control
  • Developer Portal/Dashboard
  • Access Control
Performance and Uptime

The cool upside of Microsoft Azure is that we have so many OS-server options to pick from. While most businesses can choose to work on Windows 2008/2012 servers, it turns out that Azure performs splendidly with Ubuntu, too. As the most popular choice for the platform, the Linux distribution needs not more than five minutes to set up and launch into use. With over 20 data centers across the globe, Microsoft Azure surpasses the competition here and grants us the needed peace of mind that we are always close to a main server. InfiniBand is the inter-server networking platform and it may very well be a better match to our enterprises with a 40GBps rather than the usual 10GBps Ethernet. Especially when the guaranteed uptime is at least 99,9%!

Help and Support

Support plans at Microsoft Azure let us decide exactly how much we will rely on swift customer support. The Developer plan starts at $29/month with a response time of fewer than 8 hours. Standard gets us at most 2 hours of wait for $100/month while Professional Direct gets the frame under an hour but the price is $1000/month. The Premier plan can be discussed with Azure professionals for <15-minute answers with Azure Rapid. Pricing depends on our chosen features and tools included!

Conclusion

All in all, Microsoft Azure has some bumps to polish before it snatches the first place in dedicated hosting – however, the infrastructure operates in an excellent manner for both individuals, small businesses, or huge corporations. The absence of set plans is crucial for the unique state of our working cloud environment and while it may be pricier than other providers, Azure has a lot to offer. They got you covered!

Reviewed by
Aleksandar Spasov
Aleksander is a freelancer from Bulgaria. He's travelled and is still travelling around the the world and has been writing and studying as he goes. He describes himself as a bit of a word freak and this is clear from his studies in English and Journalism. Although he is knowledgeable in a lot of areas, he has been researching and writing about anti-virus as his most recent interest. Read more.
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