Most companies talk about Linux cloud hosting, but Microsoft-based businesses benefit from Microsoft data centers offered by Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure is a PaaS and laaS cloud solution for small businesses. This article describes Microsoft Azure and cloud hosting technologies.
For Windows fans who want to take the next step to the cloud, Microsoft Azure offers both infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). Most small businesses just search for a cloud host without considering the infrastructure used to host the software and server hardware. This is a mistake for businesses that rely on development and software execution for platform-specific applications. If you understand the hosting environment used by your applications, you can cater your development and customer service for the technology.
Azure is a Platform Hosted in Microsoft Data Centers
Cloud hosting has several benefits over traditional in-house server hosting. First, small businesses can better afford the technology costs. Azure can potentially save a small business thousands in new server and network hardware costs. Businesses only pay for services and resources used, so the cost up-front is much smaller than buying massive servers to handle enterprise systems.
Next, Microsoft’s data centers are located all over the world. The benefit of having a data center serve your content is that it’s served from the closest location to the end user. This end user doesn’t have to wait for content or applications to run, so the small business offers better support and performance through Microsoft’s data centers.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a term that gets thrown around in the cloud hosting industry. The true meaning of IaaS is in the hardware it offers to businesses. Traditionally, when small businesses had to buy server equipment, they had to come up with not only hardware to support its software, but also the switches, routers, printers, scanners and numerous other equipment in-house. IaaS offers hardware from the cloud, so the business can take advantage of the computing power from the data center.
IaaS and software as a service (SaaS) work closely together. IaaS is the computing power and SaaS is the software that runs on the data center servers. Most small businesses take advantage of modern technology and write software that runs in the cloud. The software is available to anyone on the Internet. For instance, a mobile app that taps into internal database systems would run in the cloud for remote customer service employees. The speed and scalability of this software depends on the servers from which it runs, which are the IaaS part of cloud hosting.
Azure offers both IaaS and SaaS capabilities. IaaS can work together with in-house servers, which is the service you buy with some Windows servers hardware.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is sometimes used interchangeably with IaaS, but there are some discreet differences between the two terms. PaaS is only needed for businesses that host internal software development. As mobile apps become more popular, businesses have taken the extra step in creating a custom app that markets products and brings more customers to an online store. When the business uses internal developers, these developers need tools to develop these systems. With Microsoft Azure, ASP.NET is the main development system used by developers.
ASP.NET is used for web services and websites and is also the underlying platform for systems such as SharePoint. Microsoft Azure hosts a number of development tools, and the advantage for businesses is that they only pay a portion of up-front costs to use these tools. Microsoft Azure comes with an entire suite of tools necessary for development.
If you’re looking for Windows cloud hosting or you need to integrate the cloud with your internal web servers, Azure is definitely worth considering. You’ll find that Windows cloud hosting will give you less hassle with internal Windows servers when you need to integrate the two together in instances such as a hybrid cloud.