Microsoft Azure making headway in 2014

18 June 2014

Nearly every current Microsoft certification course dabbles in cloud computing and how the latest Microsoft products interact with such technology. The Redmond, Washington-based company's Infrastructure-as-a-Service offer, Microsoft Azure, wasn't considered much of a competitor a year ago. Now the times are changing, with CEO Satya Nadella spearheading new partnerships and taking initiatives to push Azure ahead of one of its chief competitors, Amazon Web Services. 

According to Redmond Magazine, Microsoft is gaining up on AWS this year, as seen by Gartner's Magic Quadrant assessment, which measures the market share of some of the major cloud service providers in the industry. Though AWS maintained its position at No. 1, Microsoft ranked second – a considerable improvement considering that Azure is barely a year old. 

What does it have to offer? 
The source referenced Gartner's laudatory comments regarding Azure, stating that the young offering provides its users with a wide array of tools and features that are conducive with Microsoft's signature products, such as Office 365. It's going beyond a simple cloud storage provision and diving into the world of applications access. Gartner also acknowledged Microsoft's ambition – asserting that its position as a far second in the Magic Quadrant reading may ascend as Azure matures. 

"It's vision is global, and it is aggressively expanding into multiple international markets," wrote Gartner, as quoted by Redmond Magazine. "Microsoft has pledged to maintain AWS-comparable pricing for the general public, and Microsoft customers who sign a contract can receive their enterprise discount on the service, making it highly cost-competitive.

Gartner noted that Microsoft is working to integrate Azure's IaaS and Platform-as-a-Service traits with applications such as Active Directory, System Center, PowerShell and Visual Studio. A number of Microsoft training courses consider each of these programs separately, but those looking to enroll in future programs will likely learn how to work with these systems cohesively under Azure. 

A key partnership 
Microsoft recently partnered up with cloud CRM giant Salesforce to integrate some of the latter company's signature applications with Microsoft Office 365 and the latest Windows operating system. ZDNet reported that discussions between Nadella, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and their associates may lead to an agreement that would allow Azure customers to utilize Salesforce's CRM programs.

This prospective addition to Azure comes as no surprise. The source took note of Microsoft's recent deal with German company SAP and last year's accord with California-based Oracle. Both efforts were based around enhancing Azure's business intelligence features and cloud infrastructure administration programs. 

The latter two partnerships aside, teaming up with arguably the most reputed cloud CRM provider in the world is sure to spark newfound interest in Microsoft Azure and strengthen its position within the IaaS market. Being able to access popular Salesforce features will certainly attract sales and marketing professionals who favor Microsoft products but want to benefit from Salesforce capabilities. Many of those unfamiliar with either solution may consider enrolling in Microsoft training.

One thing's for certain: Microsoft is making significant headway on the eight-year-old AWS. Azure's new features and commitment to quality is astounding, signaling a possible change in consumer preference. 

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