9 Azure Features You're (Probably) Not Using to their Full Potential

Posted by Gary Utley on December 19, 2019

azure features, azure data tool, azure managed service programAre you using the full power of Azure? There are so many Azure features available that it can be difficult to keep up with. Many aren't using Azure to its fullest extent, or don't know about features that could make their life much easier.

Here are some of the most exciting and useful features that many people aren't using enough, as well as an explanation of what makes them so special. 

1. Deploy virtual machines directly through Azure.

Through Azure, you can virtualize general purpose Windows or Linux machines, or launch pre-built platforms that come with a set of specific applications. The ability to virtualize machines on-the-fly makes it easier for you to create production and test environments, or to reset existing environments as needed. Snapshots of virtual machines can be stored and restored as needed, including if they are accidentally overwritten or if there are stability issues. 

2. Use WebApps to develop websites and applications. 

WebApps can be used to develop websites and web applications on the Azure cloud. You can leverage the power of cloud hosting for your internal web applications, or develop backends on-site. Host your organization's website and web applications using the language of your choice such as PHP, Ruby, or Python — or develop applications for clients. Microsoft Azure is one of the most robust cloud services solutions available, and it can be leveraged for the hosting of a number of utilities.

3. Leverage Microsoft Azure SQL for your databases.

Nearly every company needs to manage databases. SQL data management is available on the cloud directly through Microsoft Azure SQL. This Azure data tool makes it easier for your organization to manage its data natively, while also being useful for web and mobile applications — and it can be integrated into Microsoft Azure's WebApps. The Azure SQL database is a managed cloud database platform that leverages traditional SQL technology, making it an intuitive solution.

4. Use tags for greater categorization.

Tags make it easier for you to find and organize your Azure-related data. Tag your data to find it easily, and make sure that your entire organization has a consistent setup for tagging. Tags can be accessed through the command line to search through information as quickly as possible, and tags can be used to categorize data in broad scope or for more critical purposes. 

5. Protect your critical files with locks. 

If there are files that shouldn't be modified, you can protect them with the use of locks. There are two types of Lock: CanNotDelete and ReadOnly. CanNotDelete simply means that the file can't be deleted without permission, while ReadOnly means that the file cannot be modified without permission. ReadOnly can cause some minor issues with system stability and consequently should be tested beforehand.

6. Host a backend for your mobile app. 

Through Azure's Mobile Apps service, you can host a backend for your mobile app through the Azure platform. Many companies today have proprietary mobile solutions, or design their own mobile solutions. If you need to create a mobile app for your company's use, you can do so through the same Azure platform as the WebApps. 

7. Protect your site with Azure Site Recovery.

Azure Site Recovery makes it easier to store and recover VMs on Azure. And that makes it easier to recover from any data-related disaster. Through Azure Site Recovery, you can keep snapshots of your most important information. Today, a data disaster can be serious enough to all but destroy a company. Having a built-in function to preserve your information is critical. This is especially true as data breaches and data losses become more commonplace. 

8. Consult with the Azure Advisor.

The Azure Advisor looks at your current utilization of Azure and then tells you what you could be doing better. Through the Azure Advisor, you'll be able to explore best practices and important features and settings that you might not be using. And even if you're a more advanced user, you may learn a few tricks you didn't know.

9. Estimate your costs through Azure cost analysis. 

Azure provides some budgets, alerts, and cost analysis features that can be used to estimate and monitor your costs. Don't be surprised by your Azure billing. A managed services provider can also help you when managing your Azure environment. Azure payment can be complex and not intuitive to understand; Azure MSPs can help your business work out their expenses and deliver clarity.

Azure is an incredibly complex platform. While launching Azure itself is often a fairly straightforward process, really digging deep and using it to its fullest extent is more complicated. An Azure managed service program can help.

Azure managed service programs will walk you through what you need to get the most out of Azure. There may be additional functionality that you need to use, or best practices that you need to follow. If you need help, contact us. At CWPS, now Red River, we offer full Azure management and deployment services. Contact us today.

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