Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that facilitates computing as a service which is essential, the essence of the cloud. Just like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform, it allows companies, organizations, and even individuals to take advantage of cloud computing. Companies traditionally host or lease their own infrastructure on their own web server with their own hardware. Additionally, the hardware is often leased along with support and management through a third-party dealer. Upgrades in hosting power always mean added expenses and/or additional hardware, requiring more dedicated space and equipment.
Cloud computing works a bit differently. Rather than managing your own hardware or trying to budget for undetermined costs of software and networks or IT infrastructure, you pay for access to a massive pool of computing resources provided by Microsoft (or Amazon or Google). You can enjoy the benefits of applications and network systems without the hassle of installation, upgrading, and costly maintenance. You can host web servers, virtual machines, databases, etc. and then only pay for the actual resources you use.
In this blog post, I want to focus on some obscure services that Microsoft Azure offers on its platform that most people don’t know about. By exploring these services, you'll find that the amount of highly advanced technology being offered could be beneficial for basically everyone in a cost-effective way.
Azure Machine Learning studio provides SDKs and services to quickly prep data, train, and deploy machine learning models. The workspace is a top-level resource for Azure Machine Learning service, providing a centralized place to work with all the artifacts you create when you use the service. This workspace contains the tools to train, manage, and deploy machine-learning experiments and web services for Azure Machine Learning studio.
Blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can efficiently record transactions between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically. The Azure Blockchain service is a fully-managed ledger service. It allows you to build blockchain applications that can leverage simplified deployment and operations, built-in consortium management, and extensible open design with Microsoft Azure Blockchain Service.
The Azure Cognitive Services Face API provides algorithms that are used to detect, recognize, and analyze human faces in images. The ability to process human face information is significant in many different software scenarios. The API itself offers services like Face Detection, Face verification, Person Identification, and Face Grouping.
Azure Media Services makes it easy to stream high-quality videos to your audience. It is a cloud-based media platform that enables you to build solutions that require encoding, packaging, content-protection, and live event broadcasting. The built-in video AI allows the extraction of rich metadata from your videos in order to create additional services, like closed captioning. By using the Azure content delivery network, you can control how and where your videos will be distributed.
The Health Bot Service is an Azure Service that allows developers to build and deploy HIPPA compliant, AI-powered health agents. These bots offer users an intelligent and personalized point of access to health-related information through interactions and natural conversation experience. The Health Bot Service implements natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to understand the users' intent and provide accurate information. For example, the Healthcare Bot comes with built-in healthcare AI services; including a symptom checker for those who spend too much time on WebMD and need a second or third opinion, medical content from established industry resources, and language processing models that are specially tuned to understand medical and clinical terminology.
As you can see, these are services that you might have either considered using for your own applications or to manage data that could provide a multitude of benefits toward time and resource management. I know I was pleasantly surprised to find these Azure services as readily available and invaluable utilities for an already diverse and reliable platform.