What is Microsoft Azure?
By Cesar Contreras
Microsoft Azure is the premiere flagship cloud computing service from the technology giant. It operates as a SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and offers over 600 different services with support for a wide variety of systems and programming languages.
Microsoft and Cloud Computing
Microsoft is a global leader of technology, pioneering the most used desktop operating system in the world: Windows. It is also a leading provider of cloud computing services for businesses of all sizes with its flagship service Microsoft Azure. To grasp the concept behind the Microsoft cloud platform, first, you need to understand the specifications that begin with serverless application platform and how Microsoft Azure matches up with other cloud providers like AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Google Cloud.
Why Microsoft Azure?
Microsoft gives you many options to use the platform and the different directories you acquire from choosing Azure. Among the abilities, you can get access to in the realms of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are:
IaaS: These services give you access to a server in the cloud ( a virtual machine) to which you have full control. This Azure Virtual Machine is your full responsibility and has every requirement you ask and pay for under certain parameters set by Microsoft.
This type of environment allows you to tap into a remote desktop residing on a server that gives you access to manage it from anywhere where you get access to the internet.
PaaS: These services are all about efficiency, flexibility, and speed. Azure does this by managing all the tedious Operating System details you require, this allows you and your developers to focus on building your applications running. To do this Azure has two different offers for you which are:
Web Roles: A web role is an Azure Virtual Machine pre-configured as a web server. These VM are useful because they will automatically have your project loaded on it by the time the server fully spins up. This turns the Virtual Machine into the public endpoint of your project whether it is a website, API or something else.
Worker Roles: Runs hand in hand with your Web Roles and are responsible for performing specific functions to support your project. The use of Worker Roles is to minimize the workload of developers to solely focusing on programming and keeping up with their deadlines.
How this works is that developers will input and queue up an action for the worker role to process at a later time. This allows the Web Roles to be more precise and to trigger at a later time.
On top of that, there is the light version of PaaS services from Azure which is Azure Websites:
Azure Websites are the easiest, cheapest, and fastest method of getting your application to the cloud. Websites give you the least amount of configuration control over your application, which is perfect for simple web applications that do not require more complex configurations for scaling and data processing.
You can include a MySQL or SQL Server database when provisioning an Azure Website through the Azure Management Portal. Once your Website has been configured, simply update your Web.config with your new database credentials, and you are good to go!
SaaS: Software as Service applications are built and hosted through 3rd party vendors who typically charge for a certain level of service.
Azure Websites can serve as a SaaS offering as well. You can configure a WordPress, Drupal, OpenX, and more sites with a single click. No code, no deployment hassles, and minimal configuration. Azure Websites let you stand up the service you need in minutes, not hours or days.
Most SaaS applications today are built on a cloud platform due to the low cost of entry – with prices continually falling – and the ability to scale up as your customer base grows. If Dropcam, SmugMug, or Netflix got one million new customers tomorrow, their infrastructure (Amazon Web Services) would be able to accommodate them.
Microsoft Azure and the Future
In summary, Microsoft Azure is a set of cloud services to help your organization meet your business challenges. It gives the freedom to build, manage, and deploy the application on a massive global network. In order to scale for the future, businesses are turning to Microsoft Azure as cloud services and applications are becoming the norm due to its ease of use, availability, and convenience. If you want to learn more about Microsoft Azure, I would begin with the Microsoft Azure website. After all, all of the information and resources are hosted in the cloud and is readily available for you to access. It would be a shame if you didn’t use it.
Use the powerful Microsoft Azure Tools.
- Visual Studio Code
- Azure SDK
- Command Line tools
- Storage Explorer
- Visual Studio Tools for Azure
- Visual Studio for Mac
- Docker Tools
- Azure Service Fabric Tools
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