Windows Azure Tutorial: Getting Started with Windows Azure


Windows Azure is Microsoft’s answer to Cloud Computing. It was first introduced by Microsoft in 2008 at the PDC in Los Angeles. Since that time, a lot of new services arrived for Windows Azure. In this tutorial series, we will cover all services and have a detailed look at what you can achieve with Windows Azure.

Let us first start with an Info-graphic on Windows Azure and it’s services.

Overview of Windows Azure Services
Overview of Windows Azure Services

Each Service Section contains some Services, so this is only “the big picture” of Windows Azure. Let us start by digging deeper into each Service Section.

Web Sites

Windows Azure Web Sites is the entry-level product to the Cloud. With Windows Azure Web Sites, Microsoft offers an easy to use, out of the box Cloud Solution that enables .NET, PHP or Node.js development for the Cloud. The advantage is that you can scale out once your platform grows.

Virtual Machines

With Virtual Machines, Microsoft offers an Infrastructure as a Service-Platform (IaaS). This was introduced after the Platform as a Service (PaaS) Platform, and serves companies with existing Applications an easier to-use platform as the PaaS-approach. Virtual Machines can be both, Linux and Windows.

Cloud Services

Windows Azure Cloud Services is the Platform as a Service (PaaS) Platform from Microsoft. It was one of the originally introduced platforms and gives better possibilities to developers regarding scalability and elasticity. The Windows Azure Cloud Services contains Web- and Worker Roles.

Data Management

In the section “Data Management”, Microsoft offers some Windows Azure Services for data-intense computing. We can find a traditional Database built on top of Microsoft’s SQL Server, as well as two NoSQL Databases. There is a non-relational Database for large, non-relational and schema-less datasets and a Blob (Binary large object) Storage.

Business Analytics

Business Analytics serves the need for Big Data Applications in the Cloud. With these services, customers can use SQL Reporting (Windows Azure SQL Reporting), Data Marketplace for large Datasets and Hadoop for MapReduce operations.

Caching

Caching features some services that have the target to speed up Websites in Performance for the end users. One of the Services is the Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) with several edge-locations all over the globe. The other service is Windows Azure Caching, that allows Web Applications to be more performant.

Networking

There are some requirenments for Businesses, that require more security in privacy. Microsoft delivers services to facilitate that with Windows Azure Networking. The Services are the Virtual Network, that allows users to built up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) Windows Azure Connect that allows direct connection between Machines and the Windows Azure Traffic Manager for load balancing.

Identity

Windows Azure Identity offers the Service Windows Azure Active Directory, which would be used for hybrid cloud Solutions. If you need to connect the Cloud to an existing Active Directory, this is a service that might be interesting for you.

Messaging

Between different Cloud instances or services, communication is often necessary. To do this, Messaging can be used. Windows Azure offers two services for that: the Windows Azure Service Bus and Windows Azure Queues.

Media Services

Windows Azure Media Services offers a Workflow service to build and, manage and distribute Media Services. This service can be used to deliver media content such as videos or music to your customers.

Marketplace

Windows Azure Marketplace is a store to sell Software as a Service (SaaS) Applications or Datasets. It is used for Developers that built their applications on top of Windows Azure Services.

In the next posts, we will go more into detail to each Service. In the Tutorial, we will also feature Hands-on for Developers.

The Image “Windows Azure” was taken from the Microsoft Website at the official Press Site. This Image is copyright protected by Microsoft.

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