Cloud computing services are a way to store, share, and access data, as well as process, transform, and analyze this data, and other digital assets, remotely.
Microsoft Azure is a leading cloud computing platform, built for a wide variety of uses and ready-to-run solutions. But with several levels of paid and free services on offer, how do you know which is right for your business?
What is Microsoft Azure?
Azure is a cloud computing service offered by Microsoft. It can be used to deploy and run cloud-based applications and services, including web apps, mobile apps, and IoT services. The main feature of Azure is its flexibility: it can be used for a wide variety of applications and services, whether they are running on-premises or in the cloud.
Its solutions include Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) which can be used for cloud services like virtual computing, analytics, storage, and much more.
The biggest difference between free and paid subscription plans is the level of control you have over the resources you use. If you’re just starting out with cloud computing, a free plan might be enough to get started. On the other hand, if you want more control over your resources or need advanced features like virtual machines or networking, you’ll need to pay more.
Microsoft Azure pricing models
Microsoft Azure allows new users to create a free account that offers a choice between two groups of Azure services. The first is over 40 services that are always free to use. The second option is the $200 credit obtained upon creating an Azure account for the first time; you can use this within 30 days, and after 12 months choose to continue using those services or cancel with no additional costs.
You can create an Azure account and use over 40 of its services for free. These include:
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD): manage user identities, provision user access, and control user behaviour throughout your organization
Azure App Service: create apps for any platform or device using your choice of tools.
Azure Security Center: detect and respond to threats with increased visibility and control over your Azure resources.
Azure Virtual Network: provides a private connection between Azure VMs, and enables you to securely connect multiple Azure VMs together.
Free for 12 months
By creating a free Azure account, you will automatically receive a bonus $200 credit to use on any of Azure’s services, including:
Azure SQL Database: create and host a scalable SQL database in Azure.
Azure Container Registry: store and manage container images across Azure deployments.
Azure VPN Gateway: establish secure cross-premises connectivity.
The services you purchase with your credit will be free to use for the first 12 months. Once that period is up, you will be charged on a monthly basis if you do not cancel your subscription.
You will automatically move to this Azure subscription if you started with the previous option, and chose to pay for your Azure services once the initial free 12 months ended.
With this type of Azure subscription, you can cancel your services at any time, or choose to add new services, to your account at any time. You will be charged according to your usage, which provides you with flexibility depending on your changing business needs or user base.
Other Azure subscription options
Microsoft recently released its Azure for Startup Founders Hub, designed to address some of the most common issues startups face. Based on their progress, businesses will be offered up to $150,000 in Azure credits.
Which service is right for your business?
To begin, you can create an Azure account for free. As you use more services, you can purchase credits to use on specific services within your subscription. If you decide you want to stop using any of your Azure services, you can cancel your subscription and keep the credits you purchased.
The flexibility of Azure’s services allows you to change your subscription at any time. Trialling services to find the ones that work best for your business, or do not quite suit, are easily managed through your account.
The best part about using Microsoft Azure is it does not lock you into a specific subscription full of features you will not use; you can pick and choose only the services required for your business.
Discover the right Azure services for your business
Microsoft Azure’s cloud-based computing solutions are incredibly flexible and can be used for a wide variety of applications, as well as for many different types of businesses.
The Azure specialists at Technology Solutions can help you pinpoint the exact services your business needs, implement them into your daily operations, and manage your account subscriptions. Talk to them today and streamline your cloud computing environment.