An enterprise guide to Microsoft Azure cloud

Last updated:February 2015

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Editor's note

When it comes to cloud computing, Microsoft is a big fish in a growing pond. Widely considered one of the top three cloud providers alongside Amazon Web Services and Google, Microsoft Azure is a force to be reckoned with. However, the cloud market remains highly competitive -- and shows no signs of slowing down.

Microsoft's cloud platform, formerly known as Windows Azure, includes infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS), as well as other features for management, security controls, mobility, networking, analytics and more. Azure also supports third-party software.

Despite Azure's benefits and strong service offerings, nothing is perfect. In addition to a reputation for being difficult to manage, outages have been an issue for Azure. And while no cloud provider can boast 100% uptime, Azure experienced nearly 40 hours of downtime last year. So for enterprises considering Azure, there's a lot to know before deciding if it's the cloud for you.

1Developing and managing in Microsoft Azure cloud

Choosing a provider is only the beginning for enterprises adopting cloud. Cloud management, for example, is crucial, so enterprises need to ensure the proper management tools and services are in place. And while managing the Azure cloud platform can be challenging, third-party services, along with Microsoft's own tools, can help. But to manage Azure cloud effectively, users need to stay up-to-date with its latest capabilities, services and more. What development and management strategies do Azure users need to know?

2Microsoft Azure cloud suffers outages, other issues

While cloud computing offers a range of benefits from scalability and cost-efficiency, nothing is perfect. For cloud providers, outages are an unavoidable plague, and Microsoft Azure cloud has certainly had its share of disruptions. Although some customers accept outages and other issues as an unfortunate part of the cloud package, providers must minimize and respond to downtime to maintain user satisfaction. In order to shore up its place among the top cloud vendors, Microsoft needs to limit Azure's downtime going forward.