Cloud computing has become quintessential for businesses as applications are moving out of on-premise data centres to cut data management costs and increase agility.
With the rapidly increasing complexity and amount of data, security and performance have become critical components for data analytics. Early concerns over data sovereignty and security have primarily been addressed by three major public cloud vendors: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and the Google cloud platform.
Among the three, Azure has quickly gained notoriety because of its extensive set of analytics services that ranges from data ingestion / transformation to storage to data warehousing to business intelligence (BI), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Each of these analytics services provides leading performance and security at a higher value than its counterparts.
What Does Microsoft Azure Offer In Analytics Services?
Microsoft Azure is a flexible, scalable and hybrid public cloud platform providing enterprises with components required to build, manage and deploy applications including managing their business intelligence, advanced analytics and Big Data solutions. It provides both - Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies.
In terms of analytics, Microsoft Azure provides one of the most comprehensive and integrated data analytics and data management platforms in the cloud, providing the ability to gather, store, process, analyse and visualize data of any variety, volume or velocity. Gartner often cite this as one of Microsoft’s biggest advantages. The components of Microsoft Azure for analytics include:
- Azure Data Factory - for automated data movement, transformation & integration
- Azure Data Lake Storage - scalable, secure data lake functionality and cloud data storage service built on Azure Blob storage & processing and running of big data jobs in seconds.
- Azure Data Bricks - an analytics service and architecture based on Apache Spark where data is prepped, trained and processed for big data analytics, artificial intelligence solutions (search mining, machine learning, AI apps & agents) and real-time analytics from streaming data (Data Explorer).
- SQL Data Warehouse - a fast, flexible and secure cloud data warehouse for enterprises
- Azure Analysis Services - a proven enterprise grade analytics engine
- Power BI - Microsoft’s self-serve business analytics solution to visualise data & share it across your organisation in the form of interactive dashboards and reports. Power BI also provides an embedded analytics capability in Azure for context insights within existing applications.
Why Use Microsoft Azure Analytics Services?
Given the breadth of capability of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, there are three main reasons why enterprises should consider moving their analytics to the cloud with Azure:
1. Unparalleled performance at a lower price
According to the GigaOm 2018 study, the Azure SQL Data Warehouse was found to be 67% faster than AWS RedShift or Google BigQuery. Since then, the platform has even further been enhanced. GigaOm’s latest report indicates that the Azure SQL Data Warehouse is now 14 times faster and is 94% cheaper than other cloud analytics platforms available in the market. This price performance extends to the rest of the Microsoft Azure analytics stack including Azure Data Lake and Azure Databricks.
2. Secure and reliable cloud analytics
Azure is a reliable cloud analytics platform with the most comprehensive compliance offerings, with more certifications than any other cloud vendor combined with advanced identity governance and access management with Active Directory integration. It also boasts a 99.95% availability SLA and 24x7 tech support. Additional capabilities are available to help customers meet their stringent security requirements with cloud analytics. Azure Data Lake Storage provides multi-layered security including POSIX compliant file and folder permissions and at-rest encryption. Similarly, Azure SQL Data Warehouse utilises machine learning to provide the most comprehensive set of security capabilities across data protection, access control, authentication, network security, and automatic threat detection.
3. Visual insights for everyone with Power BI
The inclusion of Power BI in the Azure Analytics Services capability suite means businesses can visualise and share data and insights across the organisation in the form of intuitive, self-serve dashboards and reports, which can also be embedded within existing applications for contextual insights.
Using Microsoft’s Common Data Model, Power BI users can analyse data using a standard data schema without performing complex data transformation. The type of analytics available includes the full spectrum from descriptive, to prescriptive, predictive and advanced analytics models built in Azure.
How can we help you with Microsoft Azure Data Analytics services in the cloud?
As Microsoft business intelligence specialists, Inside Info can help enterprises unlock the full potential of Microsoft’s Azure Data Analytics Services. If you’re already using the Microsoft technology stack you may be looking to convert or re-use on-premise licenses for Windows/SQL Server workloads to Microsoft’s Azure Hybrid. Microsoft’s hybrid services integration is a powerful financial driver that clients immediately see benefit from. Alternatively, you may be just at the start of your journey in finding out more about the Microsoft Analytics stack in the cloud. Inside Info provides data and analytics advisory services and design, development and implementation services in the areas of data management, data integration, analytics application design and modelling, advanced analytics, training and project management. To find out more contact Inside Info.