A consistent increase is noted in the number of enterprises investing in hybrid cloud technology to avail a number of benefits. In addition to being flexible, low cost and easy-to-control, the hybrid Cloud platforms also offer the security benefits of the conventional on-premises platforms. A number of reports have highlighted a steady increase in the popularity of Windows Azure for building hybrid solutions. According to a report posted on Bloomberg, “The sales milestone for Azure — which stores business information and programs on remote servers and lets customers access them over the Web — was reached in the past 12 months, said Curt Anderson, finance chief for Microsoft’s server and tools unit.” These figures clearly indicate that Azure is coming right along on hybrid cloud path, along giving stiff competition to Amazon.
What Makes Azure a Force to Reckon with in the World of Cloud Computing
1) Loads of Open Source Applications: Microsoft has collaborated with a large open source community to develop a variety of applications for Azure. The collaboration resulted in large number of open source languages, applications and frameworks available for this technology. Each enterprise needs customized applications and tools to smoothly migrate to cloud computing. So these applications make it easier for businesses to adopt Windows Azure without hiring skilled developers. At the same time, the open source community further provides several technologies to help programmers in building hybrid application on Windows Azure.
2) Compatible with Multiple Technologies: The popularity of a cloud computing technology also depends on its compatibility with conventional on-premises platforms. The Java, PHP, .NET, Python and Node.js developers can easily avail the Windows Azure services simply by using the free SDK for these languages. Similarly, the developers working with other programming languages can avail Windows Azure services by using several established and emerging standards like HTTP, REST, OData and AMQP. The support for a large number of programming languages and standards make Azure popular for businesses of all sizes.
3) Support for Windows Server 2012 R2: Microsoft has released Windows Server 2012 R2 with loads of innovative and enhanced features. The update to Windows Server is also supported on the Windows Azure. So the users now have option to launch their own Windows Server 2012 R2 instance by availing the hybrid cloud computing services. A user can simply create a new Windows Server 2012 R2 instance by choosing New->Compute->Virtual Machine within the Windows Azure Management Portal. Also, he can use the Quick Create options to create a new Virtual Machine. The seamless integration of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Azure will encourage many enterprises to simultaneously adopt the updated version of Windows Server and cloud computing.
4) Expanded Support for Linux: In addition to Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft has further updated Windows Azure with extended support for Linux. Thus, Azure now has both IaaS and PaaS capabilities to support all operating systems and development platforms. These capabilities further enable developers to use robust hybrid applications by using technologies like Ubuntu 12.04, OpenSuse 12.1, CentOS 6.2, and Suse Linux Enterprise 11 SP2. The updated Windows Azure SDK released by Microsoft also includes command-line tools for developers working on Mac or Linux. At the same time, the programmers can also avail MongoDB integration, Eclipse plug-in for Java and Memcached using non-.Net languages. The support for non-Microsoft technologies will make Azure popular from all developers regardless of their choice of programming language and platform.
5) Lucrative Offers and Price Cuts: Microsoft has already launched a comprehensive marketing campaign to enhance the market share of Windows Azure in the cloud computing industry. According to an AssociationsNow report, “Microsoft announced a broader offering for Windows Azure in an effort to compete with Amazon. The platform will now offer service-level agreements for guaranteed 99.95 percent uptime and 24/7 support. The servers are also getting a boost and can now have as much as 56 gigabytes of memory. With the enhanced offering, Microsoft will also try to match Amazon’s prices on its most popular services, leading to price cuts of 21 percent to 33 percent. That move could take away one of Amazon’s biggest advantages.”
However, an enterprise has to consider several factors before migrating to Azure. But it can always avail the Windows Azure software and related programs provided by Microsoft to make the transition quick and hassle-free. This would help leverage the benefits of asp.net web development.
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