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An enterprise guide to Microsoft Azure cloud

Even in an evolving market, Microsoft Azure has secured its place among the top cloud providers. This success, in part, stems from Azure's wide range of services -- from IaaS and PaaS to hybrid cloud and managed services.


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.

1Azure's cloud competition-

How Microsoft Azure cloud stacks up against its rivals

As the cloud market expands and more players emerge, the seemingly endless cloud wars rage on -- with Microsoft Azure in the thick of it. Amazon Web Services has dominated the market, but Microsoft Azure is fighting to catch up. Both vendors are especially competitive in the IaaS market, where pricing, security and storage all play a role. So, as the competition heats up, where does the Azure cloud platform stand among its rivals?


AWS remains atop IaaS cloud market, but Azure climbing

While AWS sits pretty atop the IaaS cloud market, Microsoft Azure is trending upward. Improved support and enterprise experience is giving Azure the boost. Continue Reading


Azure cloud platform updates has AWS looking over its shoulder

Microsoft Azure is advancing on Amazon Web Services, bolstering its cloud repertoire with new features, such as Docker support, massive VMs and security. Continue Reading


Is AWS ceding cloud market share to Microsoft Azure and Google?

When it comes to cloud, Amazon Web Services is still at the top of the food chain. But Microsoft Azure and Google are fighting hard to change that. Continue Reading


Crowning a cloud storage champ: AWS battles Google, Azure

Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google are battling for cloud storage supremacy. And with similar prices, choosing a winner goes beyond the almighty dollar. Continue Reading


VMware sets sights on Azure with hybrid cloud push

With updates to vCloud Air, VMware is making waves in the hybrid cloud pond -- and Microsoft Azure should take notice. Continue Reading


Will AWS platform services leave Azure PaaS in the dust?

When it comes to PaaS, Microsoft Azure cloud has come up short. Will Azure's blunder be a ticket to success for AWS' platform services? Continue Reading


Microsoft Azure, others enter Hadoop as a service fray

Like many areas of cloud, AWS has dominated the Hadoop as a service space. But Microsoft Azure and OpenStack have emerged to challenge the cloud king. Continue Reading


Healthcare firm gives Azure the boot, cozies up to AWS

The rich got richer as a multi-billion dollar healthcare firm jilted Microsoft Azure to become an AWS partner and further its SaaS reach. Continue Reading


Azure faces familiar foe with AWS Directory Service

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure will go head-to-head again, as AWS Directory Service draws comparisons to Azure's Active Directory. Continue Reading


Azure locks in on cloud security to keep pace with AWS

AWS is tough to beat when it comes to cloud -- including cloud security. So, to top the best, Microsoft is dead set on improving Azure security. Continue Reading


Microsoft Azure, AWS fight for cloud storage supremacy

Storage is a major battleground in the cloud wars, with Microsoft Azure and AWS Simple Storage Service fighting for supremacy. Which is right for you? Continue Reading


Microsoft Azure takes aim at AWS with latest IaaS updates

Microsoft Azure continues to turn up the heat on Amazon Web Services, rolling out new IaaS features for software development, virtual networks and more. Continue Reading

2Management and development-

Developing 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?


Navigating the maze of Azure management tools

Microsoft Azure has a bad rap when it comes to cloud management. And while there are a variety of tools to help, choosing the right one is a challenge. Continue Reading


Three tips for building better applications for Microsoft Azure

Ensure development for Microsoft Azure goes smoothly by using Azure-specific tools and always planning for performance. Continue Reading


Arming cloud developers with essential Azure knowledge

Before using the Azure cloud platform, developers must arm themselves with these best practices for resiliency, availability, coding, security and management. Continue Reading


Visual Studio features spark Azure developers' interest

Microsoft piqued the interest of Azure developers with updated Visual Studio features, including push notifications and other mobile services. Continue Reading


Microsoft CEO bets big on Azure -- but will it pay off?

Microsoft's CEO is looking to firmly stake a claim among the cloud giants. However, some analysts aren't banking on Azure's future success. Continue Reading


Azure spreads its cloud storage wings with DocumentDB

Microsoft Azure's wide range of storage options continues to grow with DocumentDB. How does Azure's new document database compare with others like it? Continue Reading


Azure capitalizing on the value of video in the cloud

With YouTube becoming a hit, enterprises are hungry for video. And Microsoft is satisfying their appetites with Windows Azure Media Services -- a business-friendly video service in the cloud. Continue Reading


Microsoft Azure cloud jumps on Docker container bandwagon

Docker-mania continues to spread, and Microsoft has joined the movement. The cloud giant will support Docker containers both on-premises and in its Azure cloud platform. Continue Reading

3Azure outages and other issues-

Microsoft 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.


Azure outage dims the light on cloud's bright potential

Outages are an unfortunate, yet unavoidable piece of the cloud puzzle. But does Azure's outage call for concern regarding cloud's capabilities? Continue Reading


Microsoft Azure's cloud outage felt 'round the world

Microsoft's credibility took a hit following a major Azure cloud outage, leaving customers around the globe scrambling for service. Continue Reading


Fuzzy focus hinders Azure from reaching PaaS potential?

Despite original plans for Microsoft Azure platform as a service, the cloud vendor's focus may have shifted. Will Azure reach its full PaaS potential? Continue Reading


Microsoft slow to respond to Azure cloud outage

As if the cloud outage wasn't frustrating enough for Azure customers, Microsoft's slow response fueled the fire. IT pros stress the need for improvement. Continue Reading


Microsoft struggles with Azure uptime in 2014

Cloud outages happen to every provider, but some major vendors -- such as Microsoft Azure -- suffered more downtime than others in 2014. Continue Reading


Clearing Microsoft Azure cloud migration hurdles, step-by-step

Migrating an existing application to the Azure cloud platform can be a challenge for users. However, none of these roadblocks are impossible to clear. Continue Reading


Test your Azure cloud expertise

Microsoft Azure is a major player in the cloud computing market, from its infrastructure as a service to its platform services and more. Now that we've covered Microsoft Azure soup to nuts, were you paying attention? Take this quiz to discover the depths of your Azure cloud expertise.

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