Microsoft Azure: Cloud Storage Portfolio Review

Microsoft Azure is one of the most widely adopted cloud providers that offers various cloud storage services through Microsoft-managed data centers.

It supports rapidly changing business requirements by delivering several types of cloud computing services with storage, including software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). Azure also supports a large variety of programming languages, tools, and frameworks, including Microsoft-specific and third-party services.

And to help businesses to start putting new ideas into action, Azure offers more many cloud computing products and services, such as  Azure Functions, Microsoft Defender for Cloud, and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

See below to learn all about Microsoft Azure’s cloud storage offering:

Azure and the cloud storage market

The global cloud storage market value was worth $70.19 billion in 2021, and it is expected to be worth $376.37 billion by 2029, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24% from 2022 to 2029. 

Microsoft Azure is one of the largest cloud service providers with 22% of the market share.

In Q2 FY22, Microsoft Cloud surpassed $22 billion in revenue, a 32% year-over-year increase, according to Microsoft’s earnings call.

Key Azure cloud storage features

Azure cloud storage services have many advanced capabilities designed for on-premises, hybrid, multicloud, and edge environments to create secure, future-ready cloud solutions.

Reliable storage

In Azure cloud storage, data is physically stored in the data centers operated by Microsoft, and the abstracted layer is consumed in the back end by multiple services.

Various delivery points and data centers allow Azure to provide an optimal user experience and deliver content. It also allows users to store data in a fast and reliable environment and share content across multiple virtual machines.

BCDR and capacity planning

Azure storage services directly integrate a business continuity (BC) strategy with options for backup and disaster recovery (DR). Capacity planning for storage is a time-consuming activity, but Azure StorSimple has built-in features, such as archiving, data tiering, compression, DR, and off-site storage, that help address this challenge for enterprises.

Scalability and flexibility

Microsoft Azure can quickly adjust according to a company’s needs and environment with a pay-as-you-go service that makes it a convenient solution. It can be deployed quickly and with almost zero downtime to change web apps.

In addition, Azure is available with the option to use any level of functionality as a requirement and supports the same technologies that are familiar to developers and IT professionals.

Azure cloud storage use cases

Azure storage products provide services with high scalability, security, performance, and a cost-effective foundation to run all kinds of business applications, which allows users to successfully implement it in a variety of use cases:

“Microsoft Azure gives us good value when we need huge clusters for a couple of days to do a job, then lets us get rid of them to conserve; whereas the data center is almost completely unfeasible. That was a big, big game-changer for us.” -James Ferguson, product manager, M&S

“Our tests with Azure Ultra Disk Storage have far surpassed our current production system — up to four times our current workload capacity. As a health care organization, we are breaking down barriers with Ultra Disk Storage and the M-series virtual machines.” -Matt Douglas, chief enterprise architect, Sentara Healthcare

“CONA realized significantly improved query performance, flexibility, and cost optimization following migration of our BW on HANA environment to Azure VM scale-out cluster with Azure NetApp Files and strong collaboration with Microsoft and NetApp teams.” -Uday Reddy, director of cloud engineering, CONA Services

Differentiators

As one of the most adopted cloud storage solutions in the market, Azure differentiates itself from the competition through its advanced security and support for existing IT infrastructure and analytics.

Security

Azure is built-in at different levels of security, which allows it to be customized, as required. The outermost layer of security has built-in distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) protection to detect and reach a specific-predefined threshold, and the data is managed by encrypting through various mechanisms.

Supports existing IT

Azure integrates with existing IT stacks through hybrid databases, storage solutions, and private connections. Supporting the existing business environment harmoniously with the data center makes it cost-effective and an easy solution to access cloud services.

Supports analytics

Microsoft Azure services provide several features that support analyzing data and key insights, such as Cortana Analytics, Stream Analytics, SQL Services, and Machine Learning. These features help businesses discover new opportunities and make decisions to enhance services.

User reviews of Azure cloud storage

Azure cloud storage services receive mostly positive reviews at user review websites. At TrustRadius, users rate Microsoft Azure cloud storage at 8.5 out of 10.

And users at Gartner Peer Reviews rate Microsoft Azure cloud storage at 4.4 out of 5, with an 81% recommendation score. It is also rated well in several other categories:

  • Evaluation and contracting: 4.2 out of 5
  • Integration and deployment: 4.4 out of 5
  • Service and support: 4.3 out of 5
  • Product capabilities: 4.5 out of 5

Azure cloud storage pricing

To meet competitive business needs and budgets, Azure offers pay-as-you-go pricing.

Azure pricing offers four support plans to overcome problems with around-the-clock access. Businesses can choose any plan that’s right for them.

  • The Developer plan costs $29 per month and is best for trial and non-production environments, where the initial response time is less than eight hours.
  • The Standard plan costs $100 per month and is best for production workload environments, where the initial response time is less than two hours.
  • The Professional Direct plan costs $1,000 per month and is best for business-critical dependence, where the initial response time is less than one hour.
  • The Premier plan is best for dependence across multiple products, where the initial response time is less than 15 minutes with Azure rapid response (ARR) and one hour without ARR. The pricing plan gives end-to-end managed support for Microsoft technologies.

Users can start with an Azure free account with 12 months of certain services free, over 40 other services free always, and a $200 credit with 30 days to use it.

Al Mahmud Al Mamun
Al Mahmud Al Mamun
Al Mahmud Al Mamun is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. He earned his B.S. in computer science and engineering from Prime University, Bangladesh. He attained more than 25 diploma courses and 100 certificate courses. His expertise and research interests include artificial intelligence (AI), artificial neural networks, and convolutional neural networks.

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