What is Microsoft Azure and how it works?

What is Microsoft Azure and how it works?

Microsoft Azure (/ˈæʒər/) is a cloud storage service from Microsoft that allows developers to design, test, deploy, and manage applications and services via Microsoft-managed data centers. It offers software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and it supports a wide range of programming languages, tools, and frameworks, including Microsoft-developed and third-party software.

Azure was first announced at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in October 2008, under the internal project codename "Project Red Dog," and was formally released in February 2010 as Windows Azure before being renamed, Microsoft Azure on March 25, 2014.

Azure is accessible in 54 different regions around the world. Microsoft has announced the addition of 12 new regions shortly (as of October 2018). With two regions in South Africa, Microsoft is the first hyper-scale cloud provider to commit to building facilities on the continent of Africa. Azure geography may have several Azure Regions, such as "North Europe" (Dublin, Ireland), "West Europe" (Paris, France), and so on (Amsterdam, Netherlands). The Azure Region's city or area is represented by a location. 

The Azure Region's city or area is represented by a location. A regional pair is formed when an Azure Region is paired with another region within the same geography. In this case, the regional pair is formed by the cities of Amsterdam and Dublin.

Azure uses large-scale virtualization in Microsoft data centers around the world and offers over 600 services; however, we'll focus on a few of them below.

Microsoft Azure Computer services

At Microsoft data centers around the world, Azure uses large-scale virtualization (the act of creating a virtual version of something, such as virtual computer hardware platforms, storage devices, and computer network resources.) 

  1. Users can launch general-purpose Microsoft Windows and Linux virtual machines and preconfigured machine images for popular software packages, using virtual machines as infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
  2. The majority of Azure users run Linux, which can be any of the numerous Linux distributions available, including Microsoft's own Linux-based Azure Sphere.
  3. App services are a platform as a service (PaaS) environment that allows developers to quickly create and manage websites.
  4. Internet sites, Developers can create sites in Azure Web Sites using ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js, or Python, and then deploy them via FTP, Git, Mercurial, Team Foundation Server, or the user portal.
Microsoft Azure Websites

Azure Web Sites allows developers to create sites in ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js, or Python, which can then be deployed via FTP, Git, Mercurial, Team Foundation Server, or uploaded via the user portal. This feature was announced in preview form at the Meet Microsoft Azure event in June 2012. Customers can build websites in PHP, ASP.NET, Node.js, or Python, or choose from a gallery of open source applications to deploy. This is one of the Microsoft Azure Platform's platforms as a service (PaaS) offerings. In April 2015, it was renamed Web Apps.

Microsoft Azure Apps services

Platform as a service (PaaS) an environment that allows developers to easily publish and manage websites.

Microsoft Azure Virtual machines

  1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides users with the ability to launch general-purpose Microsoft Windows and Linux virtual machines, as well as preconfigured machine images for popular software packages.
  2. Most Azure users run Linux, one of the many Linux distributions available, including Microsoft's own Linux-based Azure Sphere.
Microsoft Azure WebJobs

Background processing applications that can be deployed to an App Service environment and executed on a timeline, on-demand, or indefinitely. Blob, Table, and Queue services can be used to interact and provide a state between WebApps and WebJobs.

Microsoft Azure identity
  1. To synchronize on-premises directories and allow single sign-on, Azure Active Directory is used.
  2. Azure Active Directory B2C enables cloud-based identity and access control for consumers.
  3. Azure Active Directory Domain Services is a service that connects Azure virtual machines to a domain without the need for domain controllers.
  4. Data security in Azure can be used to safeguard confidential data.
Microsoft Azure Mobile Services

Mobile Engagement gathers real-time data to illustrate consumer activity. It also sends mobile devices to push alerts.

Microsoft Azure Storage services

  1. Storage Services offers REST and SDK APIs for storing and accessing data in the cloud.
  2. Table Service allows programs to save the organized text in partitioned sets of entities that can be accessed using the partition key and primary key. Azure Table Service is a non-relational database that uses NoSQL.
  3. Blob Service lets programs save unstructured text and binary data as blobs that can be accessed through an HTTP(S) route. Protection mechanisms for data access are also provided by the Blob service.
  4. The Queue Service allows programs to communicate asynchronously through queues.
  5. Using REST APIs or the SMB protocol, File Service helps you to store and access data in the cloud.
Microsoft Azure Data management        

  1. Azure Data Explorer allows you to analyze and explore vast amounts of data.
  2. Using REST or SDK APIs, Azure Search offers text search and a subset of OData's standardized filters.
  3. Cosmos DB is a NoSQL database service that uses JSON documents to enforce a subset of the SQL SELECT statement.
  4. Azure Cache for Redis is a Redis implementation that is maintained.
  5. StorSimple coordinates storage functions across on-premises and cloud storage devices.
  6. Using Microsoft SQL Server technology, Azure SQL Database helps developers create, scale, and expand cloud-based applications. It also has Active Directory, Microsoft System Center, and Hadoop integrations.
  7. Azure Synapse Analytics is a cloud data warehouse that is completely run.
  8. Azure Data Factory is a cloud-based data integration service that enables users to create data-driven workflows for orchestrating and automating data movement and transformation.
  9. For big data analytics workloads that enable developers to run massively parallel queries, Azure Data Lake is scalable data storage and analytic service.
  10. Azure HDInsight is a big data-related service that runs Hortonworks Hadoop on Microsoft Azure and allows Hadoop clusters to be built on Linux with Ubuntu.
  11. Azure Stream Analytics is a serverless, scalable event processing engine that allows users to create and run real-time analytics on multiple streams of data from computers, sensors, websites, social media, and other sources.

Microsoft Azure AI         
  1. Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML) is a set of modern tools and ML frameworks that allow developers to build their own machine learning and AI services.
  2. Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services are a collection of pre-built APIs, SDKs, and customizable services that developers can use to make their applications more intelligent, engaging, and discoverable. Speech recognition, speaker recognition, neural speech synthesis, face recognition, computer vision, OCR/form understanding, natural language processing, machine translation, and business decision services are among the services offered. The majority of AI features were first seen in Microsoft's own products and services. Azure Cognitive Services powers the majority of AI features found in Microsoft's own products and services (Bing, Office, Teams, Xbox, and Windows).
Microsoft Azure Blockchain Workbench

Microsoft's Azure Blockchain Workbench provides the infrastructure needed to set up a consortium network in multiple topologies using a variety of consensus mechanisms. Microsoft integrates these blockchain platforms with other Microsoft services to simplify the development of distributed applications. Microsoft supports a wide range of general-purpose blockchains, such as Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric, as well as purpose-built blockchains such as Corda.

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