Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is Microsoft's public cloud computing platform. It provides a range of cloud services, including compute, analytics, storage and networking. Users can pick and choose from these services to develop and scale new applications, or run existing applications in the public cloud.
The Azure platform aims to help businesses manage challenges and meet their organizational goals. It offers tools that support all industries -- including e-commerce, finance and a variety of Fortune 500 companies -- and is compatible with open source technologies. This provides users with the flexibility to use their preferred tools and technologies. In addition, Azure offers 4 different forms of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and serverless.
Microsoft charges for Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning subscribers receive a bill each month that only charges them for the specific resources they have used.
How it works
Once customers subscribe to Azure, they have access to all the services included in the Azure portal. Subscribers can use these services to create cloud-based resources, such as virtual machines (VM) and databases.
In addition to the services that Microsoft offers through the Azure portal, a number of third-party vendors also make software directly available through Azure. The cost billed for third-party applications varies widely but may involve paying a subscription fee for the application, plus a usage fee for the infrastructure used to host the application.
Microsoft provides five different customer support options for Azure:
- Professional Direct