What is Microsoft’s Azure cloud service?

Last year, we released Cybake 4, a new cloud-based version of our bakery management software via Microsoft’s Azure platform. But what is Microsoft Azure and how does it make life better for Cybake users? Jane Tyler explains.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service. Nowadays, we are pretty much all avid users of the cloud. From the apps on our phones to software like Office365, we use it without giving it a second thought.

The cloud model means that rather than run software applications on your own hardware, you access a massive, “hyperscale” pool of computing resources via the internet; in this case, provided by Microsoft.

In real terms, imagine huge warehouses of servers, locked down in a network of secure, climate-controlled data centres all over the world. Users of the applications delivered by this network get to run them anywhere, at any time, on any device. They don’t have the cost of maintaining their own servers and there’s no need to worry about losing data as it is continuously backed up.

The three biggest global players in this hyperscale platform-as-a-service market are unquestionably Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services. To give you some idea of the sheer size of this sector, Microsoft posted cloud sales of $8.5 billion in the last quarter of 2018 alone.

We started to create cloud apps in 2014. Because we have a strong history of Microsoft-oriented development, Azure provided the next logical step for our team. We soon found that it had many advantages.

Azure gave us more advanced data analysis tools, a Microsoft specialty. Plus we got our new customers up and running faster and more smoothly than before. This freed up time to concentrate on creating a rich application experience for our users and on evolving functions to help them increase their profits.

Now, instead of a long-winded upgrade process to deliver and configure our improvements, they are now made as part of a continuous enhancement process. Cybake simply updates itself every month, another big win-win for both our development team and Cybake users alike.

Jane Tyler is the managing director of Cybake creator RedBlack Software, vice-chair of the British Society of Baking and a regular speaker at food and technology industry events in the UK. You can follow her on Twitter at @Jane_RedBlack and on LinkedIn here.

About Jane Tyler

Jane Tyler founded RedBlack Software in 1998 and is the chief architect of Cybake, Britain’s leading bakery management software suite.