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Introduction to Microsoft Azure | A cloud computing service

Last Updated : 28 Nov, 2023
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Designed by Microsoft in 2010, Microsoft Azure is one of the widely used cloud computing platforms. Azure provides a wide variety of services such as cloud storage, compute services, network services, cognitive services, databases, analytics, and IoT. It makes building, deploying, and managing applications very easy. All the Microsoft Azure fundamentals are also described for a better understanding of readers.

What is Azure?

Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform, just like Google has its Google Cloud and Amazon has its Amazon Web Service or AWS.000. Generally, it is a platform through which we can use Microsoft’s resources. For example, to set up a huge server, we will require huge investment, effort, physical space, and so on. In such situations, Microsoft Azure comes to our rescue. It will provide us with virtual machines, fast processing of data, analytical and monitoring tools, and so on to make our work simpler. The pricing of Azure is also simpler and cost-effective. Popularly termed as “Pay As You Go”, which means how much you use, pay only for that.

How Does Microsoft Azure Work?

It is a private and public cloud platform that helps developers and IT professionals to build deploy and manage the application. It uses the technology known as virtualization. Virtualization separates the tight coupling between the hardware and the operating system using an abstraction layer called a hypervisor. Hypervisor emulates all the functions of a computer in the virtual machine, it can run multiple virtual machines at the same time and each virtual machine can run any operating system such as Windows or Linux. Azure takes this virtualization technique and repeats it on a massive scale in the data center owned by Microsoft. Each data center has many racks filled with servers and each server includes a hypervisor to run multiple virtual machines. The network switch provides connectivity to all those servers.

Azure will provide the Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform which offers

  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
  • Platform as a service (PaaS).
  • Software as a service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Virtual machines, storage, and networking will come under the category of infrastructure as a service but the users have to do manually the build and deploy of the applications. Azure will support a wide range of operating systems because of its Hyper-hypervisor.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

Azure app service, Azure functions, and logic apps are some services that are offered by Azure under the platform as a service. This service will provide autoscaling and load balancing and also there will be a pre-configured environment for the application.

Software as a service (SaaS)

Office 365, Dynamics 365, and Azure Active Directory are some of the services provided by Microsoft Azure under Software as a Service (SaaS) the complete application will be managed by the Microsoft azure including deploying, scaling and load balancing.

What is a public cloud? Everything you need to know

Computing in which service provider makes all resources public over the internet. It is connected to the public Internet. Service provider serves resources such as virtual machines, applications, storage, etc to the general public over the internet. It may be free of cost or with minimal pay-per-usage. It is available for public display, Google uses the cloud to run some of its applications like google docs, google drive or YouTube, etc. 
It is the most common way of implementing cloud computing. The external cloud service provider owns, operates, and delivers it over the public network. It is best for the companies which need an infrastructure to accommodate a large number of customers and work on projects which have diverse organizations i.e. research institutions and NGOs etc. 

Key Characteristics of Public Clouds:

  • Accessibility
  • Scalability
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Security
  • Reliability

What Is Microsoft Azure Used For?

Following are the some the use cases that Microsoft Azure Used.

  • Deployment Of applications: You can develop and deploy the application in the azure cloud by using the service called Azure App Service and Azure Functions after deploying the applications end users can access it.
  • Identity and Access Managment: The application and data which is deployed and stored in the Microsoft Azure can be secured with the help of Identity and Access Managment. It’s commonly used for single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, and identity governance.
  • Data Storage and Databases: You can store the data in Microsoft azure in service like blob storage for unstructured data, table storage for NoSQL data, file storage, and Azure SQL Database for relational databases. The service can be scaled depending on the amount of data we are getting.
  • DevOps and Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): Azure DevOps will provide some tools like ncluding version control, build automation, release management, and application monitoring.

Azure for DR and Backup

A full range of disaster recovery (DR) and backup services are available from Microsoft Azure to help shield your vital data and apps from interruptions. With the help of these services, you may quickly restore your data and applications in the event of a disaster by replicating them to a secondary cloud site. Azure backup services also protect your data from ransomware attacks, unintentional deletion, and corruption.

Key Azure DR and Backup Services

  • Azure Site Recovery: Your on-premises virtual machines (VMs) can be replicated to Azure more easily with the help of this solution. You may easily failover your virtual machines (VMs) to Azure in the event of a disaster and keep your business running. Azure VM replication to an alternative Azure region is also supported by Azure Site Recovery.
  • Azure Backup: If you want to protect the data which is present in the cloud then you need to use the Azure Backup service. It offers a single area to monitor backup jobs, manage backup policies, and recover data.Azure pricing and costs.

Azure competition

Following are the some of the competitors of Microsoft Azure:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • IBM Cloud.
  • Alibaba Cloud.
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

Azure History

Microsoft unveiled Windows Azure in early October 2008 but it went to live after February 2010. Later in 2014, Microsoft changed its name from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. Azure provided a service platform for .NET services, SQL Services, and many Live Services. Many people were still very skeptical about “the cloud”. As an industry, we were entering a brave new world with many possibilities. Microsoft Azure is getting bigger and better in the coming days. More tools and more functionalities are being added. It has two releases as of now. It’s a famous version of Microsoft Azure v1 and later Microsoft Azure v2. Microsoft Azure v1 was more JSON script-driven than the new version v2, which has interactive UI for simplification and easy learning. Microsoft Azure v2 is still in the preview version.

How Azure can help in business?

Azure can help our business in the following ways-

  • Capital less: We don’t have to worry about the capital as Azure cuts out the high cost of hardware. You simply pay as you go and enjoy a subscription-based model that’s kind to your cash flow. Also, setting up an Azure account is very easy. You simply register in Azure Portal and select your required subscription and get going.
  • Less Operational Cost: Azure has a low operational cost because it runs on its servers whose only job is to make the cloud functional and bug-free, it’s usually a whole lot more reliable than your own, on-location server.
  • Cost Effective: If we set up a server on our own, we need to hire a tech support team to monitor them and make sure things are working fine. Also, there might be a situation where the tech support team is taking too much time to solve the issue incurred in the server. So, in this regard is way too pocket-friendly.
  • Easy Back-Up and Recovery options: Azure keeps backups of all your valuable data. In disaster situations, you can recover all your data in a single click without your business getting affected. Cloud-based backup and recovery solutions save time, avoid large up-front investments and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.
  • Easy to implement: It is very easy to implement your business models in Azure. With a couple of on-click activities, you are good to go. Even there are several tutorials to make you learn and deploy faster.
  • Better Security: Azure provides more security than local servers. Be carefree about your critical data and business applications. As it stays safe in the Azure Cloud. Even, in natural disasters, where the resources can be harmed, Azure is a rescue. The cloud is always on.
  • Work from anywhere: Azure gives you the freedom to work from anywhere and everywhere. It just requires a network connection and credentials. And with most serious Azure cloud services offering mobile apps, you’re not restricted to which device you’ve got to hand.
  • Increased collaboration: With Azure, teams can access, edit and share documents anytime, from anywhere. They can work and achieve future goals hand in hand. Another advantage of Azure is that it preserves records of activity and data. Timestamps are one example of Azure’s record-keeping. Timestamps improve team collaboration by establishing transparency and increasing accountability.

What are the Various Azure Services and How does Azure Work?

Following are some of the services Microsoft Azure offers:

  1. Compute: Includes Virtual Machines, Virtual Machine Scale Sets, Functions for serverless computing, Batch for containerized batch workloads, Service Fabric for microservices and container orchestration, and Cloud Services for building cloud-based apps and APIs.
  2. Networking: With Azure, you can use a variety of networking tools, like the Virtual Network, which can connect to on-premise data centers; Load Balancer; Application Gateway; VPN Gateway; Azure DNS for domain hosting, Content Delivery Network, Traffic Manager, ExpressRoute dedicated private network fiber connections; and Network Watcher monitoring and diagnostics
  3. Storage: Includes Blob, Queue, File, and Disk Storage, as well as a Data Lake Store, Backup, and Site Recovery, among others.
  4. Web + Mobile: Creating Web + Mobile applications is very easy as it includes several services for building and deploying applications.
  5. Containers: Azure has a property that includes Container Service, which supports Kubernetes, DC/OS or Docker Swarm, and Container Registry, as well as tools for microservices.
  6. Databases: Azure also included several SQL-based databases and related tools.
  7. Data + Analytics: Azure has some big data tools like HDInsight for Hadoop Spark, R Server, HBase, and Storm clusters
  8. AI + Cognitive Services: With Azure developing applications with artificial intelligence capabilities, like the Computer Vision API, Face API, Bing Web Search, Video Indexer, and Language Understanding Intelligent.
  9. Internet of Things: Includes IoT Hub and IoT Edge services that can be combined with a variety of machine learning, analytics, and communications services.
  10. Security + Identity: Includes Security Center, Azure Active Directory, Key Vault, and Multi-Factor Authentication Services.
  11. Developer Tools: Includes cloud development services like Visual Studio Team Services, Azure DevTest Labs, HockeyApp mobile app deployment and monitoring, Xamarin cross-platform mobile development, and more.

Difference between AWS (Amazon Web Services), Google Cloud, and Azure

AWS

Google Cloud

Azure

Technology

EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud)

Google Compute Engine(GCE)

VHD (Virtual Hard Disk)

Databases Supported

AWS fully supports relational and NoSQL databases and Big Data.

Technologies pioneered by Google, like Big Query, Big Table, and Hadoop, are databases, and Big Data,naturally fully supported.

Azure supports both relational and NoSQL through Windows AzureTable and HDInsight.

Pricing

Per hour — rounded up.

Per minute — rounded up

Per minute — rounded up.

Models

On demand, reserved spot.

On demand — sustained use.

Per minute- rounded up commitments(Pre-paid or monthly)

Difficulties

Many enterprises find it difficult to understand the company cost structure.

Fewer features and services.

Less “Enterprise-ready.

Storage Services

  • Cloud storage.
  • Persistent Disk
  • Transfer appliance.

Machine Learing

  • Machine learning
  • Azure Bot service
  • Cognitive service
  • Cloud speech AI
  • Cloud Viedo Intelligence.
  • Cloud Machine learning engine.

FAQs On Microsoft Azure

1. Microsoft Azure Student

If you are an student then Microsoft azure will provide the free access to the variety of service like.

  • compute.
  • storage.
  • networking.

    2. Microsoft Azure Cerification

    The Microsoft Azure Fundamentals certification covers various topics related to cloud computing, cloud concepts, and Azure services. The exam tests your understanding of Azure architecture, management, governance, and security. The AZ-900 certification, also known as Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, is an entry-level certification that validates foundational knowledge of cloud concepts and Microsoft Azure services. To obtain the certificate, you will need to pass the AZ-900 exam. An exam can be taken by anyone interested in gaining a basic understanding of cloud computing( Microsoft Azure), regardless of their technical background or job role. It is also useful for particular individuals who are new to Azure and want to start their journey in cloud computing and DevOps.

    3. Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer

    Azure Storage Account is a storage account that is a resource that acts as a container that groups all the data services from Azure storage (Azure blobs, Azure files, Azure Queues, and Azure Tables). This helps us manage all of them as a group. The policies we specify while creating the storage account or making changes after the creation applies to all the services inside the account. Deleting a storage account deletes all the storage services deployed and the data stored inside it.

    4. Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer

    Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer is a standalone application which provide the user GUI to manage the azure storage. It supports



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