Business enhancements would be impossible without streamlined development processes and simplified IT environments. That’s when cloud computing comes into play. Having experienced several milestone changes, it helps developers to build sophisticated apps free from basic frameworks reinvention underpinning vital app infrastructure.
While the concept of network-based computing appeared in the 1960s, many people assume “cloud computing” was first used in its modern sense only in 2006. And that’s also when such giants as Google and Amazon started using “cloud computing” defined as the new paradigm that allows people to access computing resources over the Internet, rather than on their desktops.
In 2020, cloud computing is a mature service poised to be multi-cloud. To deliver business continuity, provide data housing, and enhance AI and machine learning, there are several variables for every business requirement whether it’s Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or IBM.
Microsoft Azure: A Brief Outlook
Microsoft Azure is one of the fastest and the second-largest cloud computing platform in the global market now. It appeared in 2010, and now it’s an open, flexible environment suitable for development, service management, hosting, and data storing, to name a few, used by millions of companies worldwide.
Over the years, Azure has undergone some teething troubles and negative reviews, as well as some explosive growth. Back in the late 2000s, Microsoft was on the verge of being outmatched as cloud computing pounced into. That was the debut of AWS, which continues to be the main cloud competitor of Azure up to the present day. Since then, Microsoft Azure has been through many changes that have notably affected dot net application development services. However, the key innovation was the switching from Silverlight to a web portal written in HTML5. That brought reliability, lightweights, and popularity.
Microsoft is now focusing on widening Azure’s appeal to all kinds of developers, including those working with non-Microsoft databases (SQL and NoSQL), systems (Linux), languages, and frameworks. Except for AWS, Google Cloud and Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) might be also taken as Azure’s major competitors.
Azure for .NET Development
Due to its history, Microsoft Azure is still considered a platform initially designed for .NET development services. Even now, it appeals to the ones who get the notion of such tools like SQL Server and Visual Studio.
For those who are looking for leveraging other platforms and attracting a bigger audience, Microsoft has also provided the chance to build modern apps using PHP, Java, Node.js, etc.
Thanks to Microsoft Azure app services, developers can build apps using such features as auto-backup, autoscale, recovery, and more bringing in the “focus on your code rather than infrastructure” approach. Another winning argument towards Azure is its micro-services. They provide improved scalability and robustness. To test each service individually, developers can use DevOps tools.
Azure services have 20 categories and contain over 200 services. Those comprise roughly everything starting from AI and machine learning, blockchain, compute, DevOps, IoT to databases, containers, and analytics.
Uses of Azure:
- app development: web apps, mobile apps, API apps, and logic apps,
- app testing and hosting,
- creating virtual machines (VM),
- integrating and syncing features,
- collect and store metrics,
- virtual hard-drives (VHD).
The Benefits of Using Azure:
- free to start,
- reliable and secure,
- simple pricing plan with tech support charged through a flat monthly fee structure,
- multiple programming languages support (C#, Java, Node.Js, etc.),
- many technologies built specifically for Azure (media services, storage services, and identity management services),
- more user-friendly interface compared to AWS, especially for developers and admins familiar with a Windows environment,
- AppDynamics for app performance management and Xamarin support,
- easy integration of Visual Studio,
- apps don’t rely on dedicated servers which mean no extra payment for maintenance,
- cloud development tools for modern developers and enterprises with integrated IaaS and PaaS components,
- 80% of companies use Azure services,
- 160+ physical data centers linked by a single interconnected network.
Microsoft Azure and Its Impact on SDLC
Undoubtedly, Microsoft Azure has affected the software development life cycle a lot. Here are some platform components supporting this idea:
- .NET Core. Azure provides support for web apps using .NET Core platform through Microsoft Visual Studio. The .NET Core is an open-source web framework comprising a just-in-time compiler and cross-platform runtime incorporation of VM that executes .NET programs. It supports ASP.NET Core web, command-line, and Universal Windows Platform apps as well as libraries.
To get started, a developer needs to install the latest Azure SDK for Visual Studio, Visual Studio tooling, and .NET Core.
- REST APIs. REST APIs maintain a set of methods, ensuring access to the resources stored on a server. A developer needs to register their client app with Azure Active Directory (AD) to use REST requests securely.
- Microsoft Azure supports various containers that help to boost the SDLC. A developer uses containers to ease the software development process and get rid of rewriting configuration scripts between environments.
- Azure Service Fabric. It’s a platform for app services packaging, management, and deployment. With Service Fabric, a developer can build and manage apps composed of many microservices running on an assembly of machines. The Service Fabric simplifies large-scale cloud app management and offers greater scalability without compromising manageability and reliability.
- Xamarin Support. Since mobile app development tends to be cross-platform, there’s a need in iOS, Android, sometimes Windows and Blackberry, OS support. Being simpler and quicker, Xamarin is the universal solution here. The integration between Azure and Xamarin is possible thanks to Microsoft Azure Mobile Services.
Overall, Microsoft Azure is an excellent tool for streamlining both mobile and app development. It offers continuous deployment for Azure App Service apps via integrating the latter with GitHub, Bitbucket, and Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). Azure’s other tool, AppDynamics, helps to track app performance and ensures a quick response to the issue.
What Is the Future of Azure?
Microsoft reported Q3 2020 commercial cloud of $53.2bn annual revenue run rate. Given that, Azure appears as an enterprise favorite. However, Microsoft Azure and AWS are obviously battling with each other which boils down to some challenges for the increasing Azure platform adoption.
The future of Microsoft Azure is an environment for developing and hosting mobile and web apps without servers and delivering virtual desktops using Windows Virtual Desktop Service.
Microsoft keeps track of the latest tendencies and is planning to reach out to the developers that use other frameworks and environments to build mobile and online apps via adding relevant features and work on the platform efficiency. All that makes us believe that Azure’s future is bright and there’s no reason to think otherwise.