What does Microsoft Azure have to offer for Xamarin development teams?
Microsoft Azure is a vast collection of scalable cloud service components and the data centers to run them which are distributed around the world: a highly flexible platform capable of hosting combinations of different technologies using a variety of architectural styles, runtime platforms, hosting models, communications protocols, and programming languages.
Azure’s large toolbox of services enables development teams to choose the right tool for the job however those software systems may evolve, grow, or pivot over time. From standard web services to actor-based microservices, Big Data, relational and document databases, streaming and batch analytics, machine learning, cognitive services, Internet of Things (IoT) data ingestion, push notifications, Active Directory integration, and much more, Azure has an offering for nearly everything an enterprise of any size could need.
For large organizations managing many cloud service projects using a number of different backend development technologies, having a single resource management model and set of dashboards for tracking cloud service resource use and billing across projects is very valuable. The Azure resource model and highly automated management services offer powerful time and cost savings over traditional infrastructure management practices.
Azure offers strong support for hybrid clouds with a mechanism that securely bridges the cloud and on premise environments, and Azure Stack will allow enterprises to host their Azure resources and assets in other cloud providers’ data centers, or in the customer’s own on-site data center using the very powerful Azure Resource Manager (ARM).
Xamarin developers using tools such as Visual Studio can create and connect to Azure services and cloud infrastructure components, where provisioning and managing cloud service infrastructure is an order of magnitude less time consuming than working with IT departments for on premise hardware. Azure’s DevTest Labs provides an ideal environment for IT departments to set safe quotas around cloud service use by developers in dev/test environments, letting developers provision the resources they need (as they’re needed) without worries of runaway resource consumption from unused test services.
While .NET is only one option in Azure, backend services built on Azure’s rock-solid support for .NET means big efficiency and skill overlap gains for companies and projects whose front-end Xamarin developers can also help out with backend service development, and who can increasingly share code between front- and back-end components. By sharing a platform across front- and back-end components of a system, other tools such as unit testing and mocking frameworks, telemetry libraries, and test runners can often also be shared, permitting a more coherent and consistent picture of quality and QA issues to emerge across all tiers and components of a system.