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Windows Azure vs Microsoft Azure

What is Windows Azure / Microsoft Azure and what are they used for?
Hamish Haldane
December 14 2015

You've probably heard both the terms Windows Azure and Microsoft Azure being used. Azure has created tremendous success for Microsoft as a global cloud-based system that excels at integrating various services, including Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS). It is also very flexible, which makes it easy for developers and engineers from any background to work with it.

So, why is Azure sometimes referred to as Windows Azure and sometimes Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft released Windows Azure in 2010 and renamed it Microsoft Azure in 2014. So in practicality they are one and the same network, just with different names. The change was a branding effort by Microsoft to mark Azure as the public cloud platform for their customers. Additionally it set the stage to make Azure the integrated cloud platform for Microsoft's other services such as Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, Bing, OneDrive, Skype, and Xbox Live.

What is Microsoft Azure / Windows Azure used for?

Microsoft Azure is used to develop and deploy software applications in the cloud, for use on any device type. As mentioned above, it has been developed in recent years to run seamlessly with other Microsoft Products. At SaaSplaza, for example, we work with our clients to help them run Microsoft Dynamics on Azure. Microsoft will initially release the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics AX, called AX7, only on Azure – read more about AX7 here.

Azure, of course, can also be used for building and deploying non-Microsoft applications. Azure supports many different operating systems, programming languages and frameworks. So whether your developers work with Python, JavaScript, PHP or .NET, their application integrates and works with Windows, Android and iOS devices. Additionally, Azure supports background processing that can run continuously, as needed or when scheduled. For example, this makes it great for running data analytics without interfering with other processes.

How can Microsoft Azure help your business?

If you rely on Microsoft products to run your business, such as Dynamics CRM or ERP software like Dynamics AX, NAV or GP, moving them to the Azure cloud provides cost, efficiency and productivity benefits that will transform your business. Imagine your people empowered with up-to-date customer information at any moment from any platform, in any location.

For those that are building their own applications, Azure provides a variety of benefits. We've written about the top Azure benefits previously, but there are some benefits that really stand out for developers. Such as, ensuring that you are always working with the most recent version of the code. Thanks to the automatic backup and retrieval features of Azure cloud storage, this is easier than ever.

Microsoft prides itself in Azure's ability to scale to any workload. So whether you run a small company or a multi-million dollar corporation, Microsoft / Windows Azure will be able to to support you at a cost that flexes to your needs. Microsoft Dynamics on Microsoft Azure – learn more about Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM on Azure with SaaSplaza.

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