Microsoft Azure App Service lets developers build cloud applications

For businesses looking to modernize legacy apps, Microsoft Azure App Service hosts several features that let users create web, mobile and Azure API apps in the cloud.

Microsoft Azure App Service is a platform-as-a-service product available both on premises and exclusively in the cloud. Using Azure's globally scaling data center infrastructure, App Service allows applications to be scaled up or down on demand and replicates data and hosting services in multiple locations.

Microsoft shops may find the Microsoft Azure platform as a service (PaaS) particularly helpful because of its use of the Windows infrastructure and its integration with Visual Studio.

App Service supports multiple programming languages, such as .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python and Java, and offers a series of signature APIs and automation templates to anticipate the needs of development projects of any scale.

Azure integrates with Visual Studio Team Services and GitHub. It offers developers continuous integration and live site debugging. App updates can be deployed with built-in staging, roll-back, testing in production and performance testing capabilities. All apps can be monitored both in real time and historically with detailed operational logs.

The features of Microsoft Azure App Service

App Service has several features that allow businesses to create cloud applications.

Web Apps supports several content management systems, including Sitecore, Episerver, Umbraco and Orchard. Web Apps comes integrated with Azure Active Directory, a multi-tenant directory of business apps that connect to on-site resources, and that are then hosted on a secure cloud that's compliant with International Organization for Standardization, SOC 2 and PCI standards.

Azure's Logic Apps provides users with integration options through automation. Logic Apps comes with several out-of-the-box connection options, including interfacing capabilities that are not limited to proprietary technologies or social media, such as programs like Office 365, Twitter, Dropbox and Google. Users can also connect with services such as those offered by Oracle, Salesforce and SAP.

Another feature of Microsoft Azure App Service is the Mobile Apps suite, which has app support for iOS, Android and Windows. The suite stores app data either on premises or in the cloud, allows for user authentication and push notifications, and lets users implement custom back-end logic in C# or Node.js. Corporate sign-ons are authenticated with Active Directory and are securely connected to on-premises resources, like SQL Server and SharePoint.

Cross-platform frameworks, like Xamarin and Adobe's PhoneGap can also be utilized to aid in app building. App Service communication features include BizTalk processing and the push notification engine, Notification Hubs, which signals alerts on multiple devices, while interfacing with either on-site or cloud back ends.

Pricing for Microsoft Azure App Service

App Service pricing is highly customizable, and can be broken down into several price models for each individual plan. Exact pricing can also vary based on national or global regions.

The service is available in several editions. The Free plan is ideal for app testing environments. The plan runs at a limit of ten web, mobile or API apps, 200 Logic Apps actions per day and one gigabyte of disk space. Users can convert to a paid plan, with more features and space, at any time.

The Shared plan for the Microsoft Azure platform is designed for low-traffic sites, and it lets users develop and test apps. It is similar to the Free plan, but offers more live apps (100 web, mobile or API apps) and costs $0.013 per site hour, or around $9.67 a month. Both the Free and Shared Service (preview) plans are metered on a per app basis.

The Basic service plan provides users with unlimited apps, ten gigabytes of disk space and up to three maximum deployment instances at a base price of $0.08 per hour, or around $56 per month. Users receive 200 Logic Apps actions per day in the Free, Shared and Basic plans.

The Standard service plan adds a number of Logic Apps actions per day -- bringing it to 10,000 -- and adds an additional 40 gigabytes of disk space. The maximum number of instances is ten. It starts at $0.10 an hour, or about $74 per month.

The Premium service plan brings the number of Logic Apps actions per day to 50,000, provides 250 gigabytes of disk space and allows for a maximum of 50 instances. Premium service begins at $0.30 per hour, or about $223 per month. All three service plans are metered on a per instance basis.

Prices change based on whether or not customers also subscribe to data storage offerings, such as DocumentDB or Azure Storage.

All App Service customers have access to foundational support, such as forums and training resources, but other customizable options are available starting at $29 per month.

Microsoft Azure App Service supports server name indication and IP secure socket layers. Support plans begin with business hours-only customer service, with response times of less than eight hours, and cap off at 24/7 service, with a response time of less than 15 minutes. 

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