Azure Review Pros Cons And Alternatives In 2023

An integrated group of cloud platforms, Microsoft Azure(opens in new tab), is used to create, manage, and support applications and services.

Hosting, backup, cloud computing, application development, e-commerce, monitoring, data analysis, and other issues are all addressed by current solutions.

A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is also a part of Microsoft Azure (opens in new tab). Unexpectedly, there are three plans available that use different CDN networks in addition to Microsoft's own edge servers: Standard Akamai, Standard Verizon, and Premium Verizon.

Utilizing Azure's connection with Microsoft technology has many advantages. It may be swiftly installed alongside other Azure media, web, or storage services, for example. For many developers and system administrators, the ability to control the CDN from PowerShell or.NET as well as via a REST API and Node.js is a major bonus.

The fundamental features of Azure's Standard plan include support for custom domain names (, HTTPS, HTTP/2, geo-filtering (blocking access based on country), load balancing, and DDoS defense.

"Asset pre-loading," which permits specified objects to be cached before being retrieved, is one uncommon Standard Verizon feature. The initial request from each region then immediately receives the file, eliminating the need to wait while it is being fetched from the origin.

The "Premium Verizon" full-fat plan upgrades the CDN with real-time statistics and alarms, comprehensive HTTP reporting, token authentication (hotlink prevention), and a more potent rules engine to alter cache or header settings, redirect URLs, and generally tinker with content delivery. Although part of this capability is often provided as standard by other CDNs, Microsoft's implementation is outstanding.

Even some basic information isn't displayed on the site in a way that makes it easy to understand, making it harder than we anticipated to get a complete understanding of the CDN's capabilities. Want to know, for example, how many PoPs are offered by each network? Microsoft's own statistics are only indicated on the Locations page(opens in new tab) (118 PoPs across 100 cities), and that information is not provided for the Akamai plan. The business advises you to try each of the plans in order to determine which one works best.

If Azure piques your curiosity, we advise that you look at the various features on the official CDN Comparison page(opens in new tab), then click the links to gain more in-depth explanations. Visit the CDN Documentation page as well (opens in new tab). Make sure the plans fulfill what you would anticipate by looking for features like purge or whatever else is important to you.

In the pay-as-you-go model(opens in new tab) used by Microsoft Azure CDN, you are only charged for the amount of bandwidth you actually consume. Similar to many other CDNs, including Amazon CloudFront(opens in new tab), data transfer costs vary based on the location being used.

Priced similarly to Amazon CloudFront, the Standard Akamai and Standard Verizon plans start at $0.081 per GB for North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and go up to $0.233 for South America. Depending on how much you use, rates decrease after the first 10TB; for instance, if you live in North America and use 150TB per month, the final 100TB will cost you $0.056 per GB.

For the first 10TB of traffic, the Premium Verizon plan is approximately twice as expensive ($0.158 to $0.466 per GB), while there are reductions for using more.

Even the Standard plans' overall costs can be double those of KeyCDN's (opens in new tab) rivals, let alone more affordable options like Bunny's (opens in new tab) (priced at $0.005/GB). However, they are more affordable than a lot of high-end enterprise CDNs, and for some people, the integration with Microsoft technology may be worth the cost.

The Azure website includes a Pricing Calculator(opens in new tab) that will help you determine your monthly payment if you'd want to get a sense of your costs. Select a plan, enter a traffic projection for each region, and the sum is immediately presented. Remember that the cost of technical assistance starts at $29 per month for trial use and goes up to $100 for "small or medium-sized organizations with low business-critical dependence on Azure." If that's too much for you, don't let it deter you though—a massive and incredibly thorough digital knowledgebase is available for free.

As an alternative, sign up for Azure and receive $200 in free credit to spend within 30 days. This might provide you with more than 1500GB of traffic, which is sufficient to test even the biggest sites, and there is no risk because it doesn't automatically renew as a paid product.

The Azure web dashboard is complicated and packed with features and capabilities, making it difficult for even the most experienced user to navigate at first. For instance, a left-hand sidebar has 23 sections (Function Apps, SQL Databases, Load Balancers, and Virtual Machines), each of which has a management panel with additional choices.

We found the proper place by typing "CDN" into the search bar, but even there, terms like "CDN profile" and "resource group" might be foreign to you. The error message that appeared when we first tried to create a CDN profile read, "Please check that Microsoft.CDN is listed as a registered Resource Provider in your Azure subscription," but there was no link to provide more information. When we searched for the solution, the first result suggested we run some PowerShell, but later pointed us in the direction of a portal solution, which proved to be quick and simple.

However, after some experimentation, the system begins to make more sense. You can add numerous zones once you create a CDN profile. Their kind (Storage, Cloud Service, Web App, and more) and URL can be specified. Each individual may also have a CDN domain with a logical name, such as

Performance is accelerated with the use of route and TCP optimizations, object prefetching, and mobile picture compression with Akamai's Dynamic Site Optimization feature(opens in new tab). Prices start at $0.19, so this isn't cheap, but you can at least test it out before you buy thanks to the $200 in free credit.

Azure functions just like any other CDN after it is configured. If you change your code to use the "" CDN URL for assets you want to cache (or add a CNAME record to use a custom domain name), the system will load those assets on the first request and begin providing them to visitors.

You can now investigate Azure's CDN settings after gaining access to an Endpoint. These prove to be far more flexible than most of the competition. To turn compression on and off, for example, you can choose precisely which MIME types you want to be optimized. You can't just click a button to accomplish that.

Choosing how the service handles URLs with query strings (such as page.ashx?q=this) is also simple. With just a few clicks, you may decide whether to always serve the initial request from the cache or consider each request as a different URL (in which case page.ashx?q=this and page.ashx?q=that would be stored as independent assets, each with its own time to live).

There is no need to write scripts or master coding techniques to perform geo-filtering. Instead, you can define certain files or folders and then choose which countries to allow or ban access from.

Azure offers a variety of reports and analytics once you've gathered enough data to assist you understand what's happening.

Other technologies are trickier to understand, and their user interfaces don't necessarily provide much information up front. Azure's administration tools, which are really potent in and of themselves, will also come up. Need to hand over control of the CDN to someone else in your company, for example? You can define exactly who can do what by creating users, groups, and roles in the extensive Access Control system.

You're right if you think this sounds challenging. You can find a ton of information online, and this sample tutorial (opens in new tab) is a good example. Eventually, you'll learn the fundamentals, but be patient—it might take some time. 

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