Three Skills to Take Your Azure Game To the Next Level

Microsoft Azure is quickly becoming a standard in modern IT. Many IT professionals now rely on cloud computing services instead of purchasing, implementing, and maintaining their own infrastructures for compute and storage. Azure is one of the most prominent solutions for both infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service, trailing only Amazon Web Services in most surveys of the largest cloud platforms in terms of revenue, market share and total users.
Azure is more than a single product. It is a collection related services. Azure Stack is a system that allows you to run Azure on-premises in the privacy of a company’s data center. Azure IoT Hub is designed for monitoring the many sensors and devices that make up the Internet of Things.
It can be overwhelming to try and master or even specialize within Azure at first. The Azure ecosystem is so vast and varied. AWS is more popular than Azure, so Azure is not the only IaaS/PaaS platform many IT professionals have to learn. There are some areas of Azure that are particularly useful for building skills that will be valuable in the job market. New Horizons Computer Learning Centers offers special Azure courses for AWS specialists.
What Azure skills should I focus on? These three skills are especially useful today:
1. Azure SQL Database
Azure SQL Database is often marketed as a cloud-based database, or database-as-a-service. These terms refer to the fact that the underlying infrastructure of Azure SQL Database is managed by Microsoft at its facilities rather than by the customer. This arrangement is ideal for app developers as it minimizes capital expenditures and allows them to be flexible with expenses and scalability.
SQL Database is adaptive. This means that it adapts to the development patterns of each individual user and optimizes its performance. If you work for a software-as-a-service provider, SQL Database is also a reliable tool for isolating, managing and securing the application instances of every individual customer in a complex multi-tenant environment.
Microsoft recently expanded its Azure database offerings to attract more developers. The company launched the Cosmos Database, a NoSQL database, which is perfect for “planet-scale” apps, programs that need to reach users in multiple places around the globe. It also introduced PostgreSQL and MySQL services, as well as an updated SQL Database called Managed Instances that allows for data migration to the Azure cloud.
2. Azure Bot Services
Chatbots have been a hot topic within consumer-facing tech since years past. Microsoft, Facebook, and other companies are exploring the possibility of having these automated chatbots assist with everything, from customer service requests to online payment processing. TheMicrosoft Bot Framework had 130,000 developers as of May 2017. This is an increase from 45,000 in September 2016.
Bots can be published to apps like Skype for Business, Bing search engine, and Cortana virtual assistant. They can seamlessly integrate with third-party services. These bots can be managed seamlessly from Azure Cloud via Azure Bot Services.
Like applications, bots also benefit from the scalable storage and tight security that comes with a cloud platform like Azure. Azure Bot Services offers pay-as you-go plans, automatic scaling, security patching, and templates that make it easier to create new bots.
3. Azure Active Directory
Integrating the new services with existing infrastructures on-premises, especially those that govern identities, is one of the biggest challenges in Azure deployments. Businesses are increasingly turning to hybrid and public cloud for cost-effective, flexible IT operations. However, many organizations cannot abandon the systems they have in place.
Integration is one of the biggest challenges in Azure deployments.
This is a common problem. Active Directory Domain Services is used to manage all user, computer and application identities within the corporate security perimeter. This Active Directory version is usually hosted on-premises. It is not available for use with the increasing number of applications hosted in the cloud. This can cause latency problems as requests must traverse different infrastructures before they are approved or denied.
Azure Active Directory is the answer to these performance problems. It can be used as a replica of your existing on-prem directory with all the same objects, identities, and permissions. Any changes made locally will be reflected in the cloud, but not vice versa. Azure AD Connect handles integration. Alternative to this system is to create a virtual machine in Azure that runs Active Directory Domain Services. This may include a virtual private network, Azure ExpressRoute service, or a virtual private network.
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers invites you to dive into Azure
We’ve only scratched the surface on what Azure has to offer. There are many other services available in Microsoft’s cloud. New ones (such as those additional databases we mentioned earlier) are constantly being added. Find a New Horizons Computer Learning Center in your area today, whether you are an AWS expert who wants to learn Azure or a complete beginner to IaaS/PaaS.