2015: An Azure year in review

2015 was a big year for the cloud computing industry. It was so big that many industry influencers, including Fredric Paul at Network World, are going as far as calling 2015 the “year of the cloud.” Microsoft was no exception to this rule – let’s dive into some of their biggest updates and take a closer look at what they mean to you.

G-Series for Virtual Machines:

Early in 2015, Microsoft made the G-Series for virtual machines generally available. Equipped with the latest Intel Xeon processor E5 v3 family, the G-series has more memory and local SSD storage than other Azure virtual machine sizes, making it ideal for demanding applications.

Azure Premium Storage:

Azure Premium Storage takes advantage of Solid State Drives (SSD), the latest technology in data storage. It’s designed for workloads that require low latency and consistent high I/O performance, making it possible for enterprises to shift demanding applications into the cloud.

Azure Virtual Machine services in Azure Resource Manager:

Unveiled in June of 2015, Azure’s Virtual Machine services in Azure Resource Manager allow for role-based access controls and template-based deployment of virtual machines with extensions and software-defined networks.

Azure Site Recovery:

Disaster recovery was a hot topic in 2015, leading Microsoft to announce general availability of Azure Site Recovery (ASR), which protects hybrid IT environments through a unified solution for workload-aware disaster recovery.

Partnership with Red Hat:

By partnering with Red Hat, Microsoft expanded its ability to provide Red Hat solutions natively to its customers, integrate enterprise-grade support across hybrid solutions, and present a unified workload management across hybrid cloud deployments.

Azure Portal:

With Azure Portal, Microsoft debuted a new management portal that allows developers to get access to analytics, manage their Azure instances and databases, as well as build and test services. As Frederic Lardinois at TechCrunch noted, this new portal makes life “quite a bit easier for developers.”

IoT and Big Data:

Microsoft went all-in on IoT and Big Data in 2015, unveiling new services, and enhancing old ones, for processing huge data sets in the cloud, including Azure Data Lake, Azure Stream Analytics, and the Azure IoT Suite. Back in November, I wrote about the enormous potential of the IoT, which is predicted to experience rapid growth in the next few years as sensors, computer chips, and transmitters are being integrated into more and more devices. Microsoft hopped on the IoT trend in a really cool way in 2015 with their Cities Unlocked project, a program that helps the blind navigate their cities independently.

As one of Microsoft’s closest partners, we look forward to working with them in 2016 to continue to expand our services as new Microsoft products and innovations are unveiled. If this year is any indication, the cloud computing industry will not be slowing down anytime soon – and no matter what 2016 has in store, as the cloud industry grows and changes, we’ll be right here to break it all down for you.