In today’s world of technological revolution, cloud computing technology has reached its zenith. Companies like Cloudera, Microsoft, AWS, Tableau, FusionOps, etc have released their best cloud computing tools and are continuously working on their improvement. There is a cut-throat competition between them to bring up the best cloud computing platform.
Microsoft Azure is not an uncommon term among techies these days. Being in demand since long, this cloud computing platform has captured the attention of enthusiasts after the release of Azure Stack.
Microsoft Azure – A Brief Introduction
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing infrastructure and platform designed to build, deploy and manage different applications and services through a giant network of data centres managed by Microsoft.
It was launched in February 1st, 2010 as Windows Azure which was later renamed to Microsoft Azure on 25th March 2014.
Apart from providing services like SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, it supports many other programming languages, frameworks and tools which could include third-party systems as well.
Internal Architecture and Technical Details
Before we get into the details of what is Microsoft Azure, let us discuss the technology working behind it. The operating system behind this technology is called Microsoft Azure. It helps in running its fabric layer.
[Fabric layer is a cluster hosted at the data centres owned by Microsoft. It manages entire computing and storage resources of the computers and provisions them to applications running on the Azure platform.]
In this technology, scalability and reliability features are controlled by Microsoft Azure Fabric Controller. This is done in order to avoid the services crashing with the environment within the Microsoft data centre and allows management of web applications (such as load balancing and memory resources) for the user.
Its API is built on HTTP, REST and XML which gives a developer the freedom to interact with all the services that come with Microsoft Azure features. In addition to that, Microsoft brings a client-side managed class library that contains the functions that interact with the services. It also allows integration with Microsoft Visual Studio, Eclipse and Git.
Deployment Models of Microsoft Azure
Azure offers two deployment models for cloud resources:
- Classic Deployment Model – Here each resource of Microsoft Azure was managed individually. The resources could be SQL Database, virtual machine, etc.
- Azure Resource Manager – Here the users can create different groups for related utilities in order to deploy, manage and monitor the closely coupled resources.
Services offered with Microsoft Azure Features
Azure delivers more than 600 services. Some of the major services are listed under:
- Computational Services
- The best thing you get to know while learning what is Microsoft Azure is its IaaS feature that allows you to launch general purpose virtual machines in Microsoft Windows and Linus platforms. It also enables preconfigured machine images for most of the software packages.
- PaaS feature enables the developers to publish and manage websites and apps with ease.
- Storage Services
- File service offered by Azure allows data storage and access on the cloud by using the REST APIs and SMB protocols.
- Queue Services let programs communicate in an asynchronous fashion by using queries.
- Mobile Services
- HockeyApp designed for mobiles can be used for development, distribution and beta-testing mobile apps.
- ‘Mobile engagement’ in the Microsoft Azure features collects real-time analytics that explicitly shows the behavior of the user and sends push notifications to the mobile phones as well.
- Data Management
- Azure search brings up text-search and a subset of Odata’s structured filters by using SDK APIs or REST.
- Azure enables handling data-intensive queries on datasets that exceed 1TB through its data warehousing service called, SQL Data Warehouse.
- Media Services
Azure has a PaaS offering that helps in content protection, encoding, streaming and analytics.
- Management Services
- Automation features will be a boon for you when you get to know more about what is Microsoft Azure. All the error-prone, complex, long-running, manual and frequently repeating activities that are performed in cloud and enterprise environments can now be easily managed via Azure automation.
- It also brings up Microsoft SMA (Service-Management-Automation) software which can be used by developers for constructing, running and managing runbooks in order to integrate, orchestrate and automate a complex IT business process.
- Developer Services
It can be used by developers by gain detailed insights on applications.
- CDN Azure provides its users a global content delivery network(CDN) for images, audio, video and applications. Now the static assets of websites which are geographically closer to users can be cached in order to enhance performance.CDNs can be managed by a REST based HTTP API.As of December 2016, Azure has 30 locations worldwide, also known as Edge Locations.
- Microsoft Machine Learning The machine learning service of Microsoft, Microsoft ML is a part of Cortana Intelligence Suite. It features properties like predictive analytics and data interaction using natural speech recognition through Cortana.
Other Benefits offered by Microsoft Azure Features
Apart from the highly convenient services provided by Azure, it features many benefits for businesses of all sizes.
Gone are the days when you used to purchase racks of physical servers and worry about other things like security hardening, updates and backups. Now you can make it easy for yourself by paying Microsoft to handle the back-end plumbing.
When it comes to data management, in most cases Azure provides much better security, reliability and performance than on-premises. This is one of the best things you get to learn while getting to know more on ‘what is Microsoft Azure’.
Microsoft announced a new hybrid cloud platform product at the 2015 Ignite Conference, the Microsoft Azure Stack. It simplifies deployment of your own private and operated cloud by providing the same tools which Microsoft uses in their data centre fabric around the globe.
It enables you to bring the almost the complete public Azure functionality to your own on-premises data centres. Hence, you can attain the full power of cloud and command on your database, ultimately increasing scalability.
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