Overview of What is Microsoft Azure?
When it comes to running a company, you want to concentrate on the business rather than the infrastructure. You’ll learn how Microsoft Azure offers managed services that help you run your company in this article, What is Microsoft Azure. You’ll start by looking at how Azure came to be and where it is now. After that, you’ll learn about the different types of building blocks Azure has to offer. Finally, you’ll discover why Microsoft is one of the world’s most significant cloud providers.
The topics that we are going to see in this video about Azure is :
- Evolution of Azure
- Azure DataCenters and Global Network
- Beyond the Azure Public Cloud
- Azures’s Services Catalog
- Working with Azure
- Purchase Services and Control Cost
- Microsoft’s Big Bet Is Azure .
The Evolution of Azure
So, you’re probably wondering what Microsoft Azure is and why it matters to you, right? Azure is Microsoft’s cloud service, and it’s essentially a collection of rented computers and facilities.
Finally, the cloud assists you in running your company by handling the complicated, costly, and time-consuming tasks of managing infrastructure and running your app, allowing you to concentrate on your core business competencies.
Okay, let’s talk about the history of Azure. Azure was first announced by Microsoft in 2008 at the Professional Developer Conference. Microsoft called it Windows Azure at that time, and announced to the world that it was a modern cloud computing operating system that could scale from ten users to ten million users without any extra coding. That wasn’t groundbreaking at the time, as Amazon had been using their Amazon Web Services cloud platform for years.
Microsoft officially launched Windows Azure to the public in 2010 after a beta and test phase. Azure provided some basic services at that time, such as cloud services for hosting websites and background operations, and Azure SQL Databases, which is SQL Server in the cloud run by Azure, later in 2010. The Azure platform continued to develop and expand its capabilities. In a rebranding change in 2014, Microsoft renamed Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure. This made it clear that Azure was more of a cloud capabilities platform than an operating system.
Microsoft has invested a tremendous amount of time and money in the creation of Azure over the years. Azure now has offerings in every category imaginable, ranging from artificial intelligence to virtual and augmented reality to services that give you access to space satellites. Yes, you read that correctly. Azure Orbital is a Ground Station as a Service (GSaaS) that allows you to communicate with and monitor your satellite. In the cloud computing room, Microsoft has clearly caught up to the competition.
And even though Azure seems young, Microsoft has decades of cloud computing experience. Can you recall MSN? MSN was introduced by Microsoft in 1995 and has millions of users all over the world. In December 1997, Microsoft purchased Hotmail, which at the time had 8.5 million subscribers and a 2MB storage limit. Microsoft has been in the cloud computing game for a long time, and in that time, they’ve learned how to run highly accessible and stable services from mega scale data centers all over the world. That experience is what makes Azure so great today.
Azure DataCenters and Global Network
Microsoft has created an immense network of data centres all over the world due to decades of cloud experience. Azure, as well as other cloud services such as Office 365, Xbox and Cloud Gaming, and Microsoft Dynamics, are hosted by Microsoft data centres. Microsoft also has data centres in almost every area of the globe, and there have been plenty of other points of presence where it can host static files like images and videos. All of this means you can keep your application and data close all time, ensuring compliance with local regulations and performance.
Microsoft has more data centres than both Amazon Web Services and Google put together, which is very impressive. These data centres are enormous and technologically advanced. Microsoft focuses on making them as durable and energy efficient as possible, lowering costs and reducing environmental effects. In reality, Microsoft is confident that by 2030, they would have achieved carbon neutrality. Microsoft also has data centres the size of a warehouse, and it also works on data centres that run in water.
Microsoft’s Project Natick brings data centers closer to consumers. They say that 50% of us live near the coast, so why doesn’t our data? Aside from that, the water keeps the servers cold and keeps them physically secure, as diving down and manually accessing servers is difficult.
Microsoft’s data centers are constantly changing. Microsoft recently announced the Microsoft Azure Modular Datacenter. Customers that need cloud computing capabilities in hybrid or difficult environments, such as remote locations, can use this option. For example, you could use it for military applications or while mining gold, or you could integrate it into your on-premises data center as a way to keep data local when transitioning to Azure.
The Modular Data Center can also link to the internet through satellites in space, which is pretty awesome. This is a function of the Azure Space package. What is the next step of that? Microsoft’s data centre hardware is now being developed in the open as part of the Open Compute Project. It works on several projects within that, including Project Olympus. The architecture requirements for Microsoft’s next-generation hyperscale cloud hardware are now open source.
It also contributes to Project Cerberus, a new open source hardware security industry standard. It also works on Project Denali, which develops next-generation solid-state disc drive designs. All of these data centre advancements are fantastic, as they reduce Azure’s costs while also improving its efficiency. Furthermore, Microsoft operates its own global network, which connects all of its data centres. They own and operate their own fibre network, which links data centres and network nodes all over the world. This makes it more stable, reliable, and fast, as well as reducing Microsoft’s reliance on third-party network connections.
Beyond the Azure Public Cloud
We’ve just spoken about the public cloud so far, but Azure is far more. Everyone has access to Azure’s public cloud, and anyone can use its capabilities and services to run applications. These run on the Microsoft backbone network, which links data centres and other network endpoints, in all of the data centres we’ve just discussed.
When you use the public cloud, the data is stored alongside that of other users in those data centers. Azure also offers Azure Government . This is a special Azure cloud designed exclusively for US government agencies and their partners. It operates on its own network so that government agencies can rest assured that their applications and data are fully disconnected from the rest of the world and meet their strict requirements. Azure provides a number of hybrid workload solutions in addition to public and government clouds. These allow businesses to run applications both in the Azure cloud and on-premises, as well as in other clouds.
Azure, for example, provides Azure Stack. These are Azure-enabled devices that run Azure services and offer Azure functionality. There’s Azure Stack Edge, which are portable devices that can be placed anywhere. They have Azure capabilities such as AI services on-demand and don’t need Azure connectivity. In the London Heathrow Airport, for example, Azure Edge systems are used to operate AI services in conjunction with a 3D scanner to aid in the prevention of animal trafficking. Azure Stack HCI and Azure Stack Hub, which provide Azure capabilities on on-premises devices, are also available.
This enables you to run a local version of Azure in your own data centre or in a remote location, like in a computer on a cruise ship. These Azure Stack devices are ideal for hybrid scenarios in which you need Azure capabilities and services but want them to run in a controlled environment. You can also link your on-premises environment to Azure using Azure ExpressRoute. This enables hybrid options, such as hosting your web application in the Azure public cloud while hosting your database on premises in your own data centre.
Finally, Azure Arc is a management software layer that allows you to run Azure virtually anywhere. Azure arc is installed on any infrastructure, and it allows Azure to control and integrate the infrastructure with the cloud. You will use this to integrate all of your environments, including on-premises servers and networks in other clouds, into the Azure cloud.
Azure Services Catalog
Azure’s services can be run in a variety of environments, including on-premises and in other clouds. So, what resources does Azure provide? Almost everything you can think of, divided into many groups. In Azure, you can classify resources into groups based on their level of accountability and power. You may use Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, services when you need a great deal of control over your infrastructure and applications.
Azure Virtual Machines, for example, are Azure-managed services that can run any operating system, including Linux and Windows, and can have different amounts of memory, storage, CPU, and GPU. Other IaaS services, such as Azure Container Instance and Azure Kubernetes Service, are container-based.
You are responsible for the aspects that you have power over when you use IaaS services. As a result, it’s up to you to keep your virtual machines and containers up to date and secure. Platform as a Service, or PaaS, services can be used when you need less power. Azure SQL Database, which runs a database, and Azure App Services, which runs web applications and APIs, are examples of these services. You can use a tool like the Azure App Service web app to deploy the app and configure stuff like the device runtime (.NET or Java) and application scaling.
The rest is handled by Azure, including security, operating system, and networking. Another step up is Logic as a Service, or serverless computing, Many Azure services have serverless usage tiers, and some services, such as Azure Logic Apps, which offers a configurable process workflow, are only available as serverless services. Serverless systems scale up and down automatically, and you just pay for what you use.
This also implies that you have no leverage over the service’s scaling. Finally, Azure provides Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Since these services are prebuilt software that you can use, you have no control over them. You can customise the amount of data it stores, as well as the pricing tier and features you choose to use. Azure Application Insights is an example of an Azure SaaS service. Simply tell it to submit data from your application, and it will begin analysing your solution and application use.Azure manages and runs Application Insights for you and you just use it.
Another example of Saas is Office 365, where you do not have to worry about the scaling, security and other stuff you have to simply use that service of microsoft by paying some subscription charges.
Azure’s services are all compliant with a variety of laws and regulations from around the world. In reality, among all the major cloud providers, Azure is the most compliant. This means you can use Azure to comply with HIPAA, ISO, GDPR, PCI, SEC, and other regulations. So, whatever the compliance requirements or business, Azure is likely to be able to assist you. This also applies to other Microsoft data centre services, such as Office 365.
Working with Azure
One of the key reasons I’ve always loved the Microsoft ecosystem, and this holds true for Azure, is that they have the best resources in the industry to work with their products. Microsoft provides a variety of Azure-related tools in addition to development environments like Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. The Azure portal is the primary method for managing Azure services. The web-based platform includes everything you’ll need to build, manage, and customise your services. Azure Management APIs are used by the Azure portal to build and manage resources, and you can use them as well.
This means that everything that you can do in the portal you can also do with the APIs yourself from your own applications, or even with the command line interface, or CLI.
The CLI can also handle and build services using APIs, which is a great way to automate tasks. The portal is your primary method for managing Azure. You can also use Azure DevOps to deploy and test services on Azure. This is a full-featured technology lifecycle management suite that lets you manage user stories and bugs, store code, and create, test, and deploy apps to Azure or anywhere else.
Azure DevOps can operate for any form of programme, including those written in.NET,.NET Core, Java, Node, Python, and other languages. You can use the Azure mobile app to access your services when on the go. The Azure Management APIs are also used to communicate with Azure services. It allows you to track the status of your Azure services and perform simple tasks such as starting, stopping, and scaling them, as well as run a version of the command line interface that allows you to do almost everything in Azure.
GitHub is another important aspect of the Azure ecosystem. This was once just a place to store your code, but it has evolved into a much more sophisticated tool that you can use to create, evaluate, and deploy your code to Azure. And, like Azure DevOps, this can be used for any kind of code, not just.NET. You can manage Azure with a variety of tools, including SQL Server Management Studio and Azure Data Studio for data management.
Since the Azure Management APIs can be used to do anything in Azure, most popular development tools can also be used with Azure. Since Microsoft has spent a lot of effort to make Azure the platform for all, regardless of their programming language, the Eclipse development environment for Java, for example, will deploy your Java applications directly to Azure.
Control Cost and Purchase Services
Azure resources can be paid for in a variety of ways. The first is the pay-as-you-go option. This is exactly how it looks. You choose a service or capability and use it when paying for it on the fly. You pay for certain serverless resources on a monthly basis, such as a database that runs all month, and you only pay when you use them, such as when a Logic App process runs.
Since you don’t get a discount if you choose pay as you go, it’s the most expensive choice. You may also purchase Azure via a business agreement. Enterprise deals require you to commit to investing a certain sum of money in Azure for a certain period of time, such as a year or three years, and you must pay the amount in advance, although there are payment options available. The advantage is that you will get additional assistance as well as a 45 percent discount on Azure service rates.
Enterprise agreements are appropriate when you intend to invest a significant amount of money in Azure. A cloud solution provider, or CSP, will also help you purchase Azure services. These companies will give you a discount on Azure rates as well as additional services such as Azure management and application development. Microsoft cloud products such as Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, and Dynamics CRM Online are often offered by cloud solution providers.
Finally, developers can build and use Azure services with the monthly Azure credits they receive from their Visual Studio subscriptions. They can’t use these credits for production workloads, but since each developer can use their credits for their own Azure development environment, the credits can add up to a significant savings. The way you buy Azure services has a big effect on your prices because it affects the discount you receive.
Other factors that influence your Azure costs include the facilities you use, such as how many VMs you have running and how efficient they are, as well as the amount of storage you use. You must also pay for outgoing network traffic, also known as egress. This is information from Microsoft’s data centres. You don’t have to pay for the data you upload to Azure, which is referred to as ingress. And finally, you pay for software that cloud services use.
For example, you could pay for a SQL Server licence or a Windows Server operating system that runs on a VM in Azure. These expenses are usually included in the service price, and you might be able to save money if you already have a licence. A major part of using Azure is keeping track of and managing costs. The Azure Cost Management + Billing tool, which is available to all for free, can be used to actively track and evaluate costs.
You may also use Azure Advisor to cut costs. This is also free, and it looks for ways to improve your Azure resources. It will send you actionable tips to minimize costs for your services that you can quickly incorporate from Azure Advisor when you use it. In terms of efficiency, availability, and protection, it’s the same.
Microsoft’s Big Bet Is Azure
So, Microsoft has a lot of data centers and its own network that runs everything and many, many highly compliant services that can be managed by great tools. That’s impressive, but Amazon and Google have similar capabilities, so why is Azure so special?
Well, in the past, Microsoft made its money by selling licenses to Windows and Office. It still does that, and Office is still a major part of Microsoft’s revenue, but now in the cloud as Office 365, or Microsoft 365 as it’s now called. And, Microsoft is making a lot of money with Azure. In fact, Azure Revenue will be greater than revenue from Office and all other activities like Xbox and Surface hardware combined.
That means that the cloud, and Azure specifically, is Microsoft’s big bet. The whole company revolves around Azure and is making it a success. It is a primary product. If Azure fails, Microsoft fails.On top of that, Microsoft uses its decades of cloud experience from the MSN and Hotmail days to be the leader in infrastructure, and it does the same in its service offering and in incredible tooling. A clear trend in the Azure service landscape is that services are created to help run your business, not just these cool technologies. That’s why new services emerge like pretrained AI services that require little knowledge or work for a business to use, but do provide a lot of business value.
And, all of that is available for businesses of any size in any industry, regardless of their technology preferences. Everybody is welcome in Azure because Microsoft wants everyone to use their services. If you’re not using Azure yet, give it a try..