Introduction to Cloud Computing and Microsoft Azure

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This tutorial we will discuss, what is cloud computing? What is Microsoft Azure? What are the advantages of cloud computing? What are the various types of cloud? What are various cloud offerings? And finally, we will discuss what are the services Microsoft Azure provides?

What is Cloud Computing

First, we will discuss what is cloud computing. Nowadays lots of companies adopting and moving to the cloud. So it is necessary to understand what is cloud computing, the advantages we are getting from the cloud.

In the case of an on-premise data center, the company is fully responsible end to end for the hardware and software for the data center includes hardware purchase to maintenance, etc.

But cloud computing is an alternative to the on-premise data center, where a 3rd party company is responsible for everything, from hardware purchase to maintenance and provides a wide range of services which we can only use.

We can kind of rent whatever hardware and software services we need for our business. We can rent or lease purely on need basis and we will only pay whatever and whenever we use it.

The cloud environment provides an online portal experience which makes it easy to use and maintain.

What is Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. Microsoft Azure provides a wide range of different services, Windows Azure lets you build, deploy, and manage solutions.

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool, or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

In the Azure portal, a user can create a virtual machine (VM) configuration specifying the VM size (with regard to CPU, RAM, and local disks), the operating system, any pre-deployed software, the network configuration, and the location of the VM.

Look at services provided by Microsoft Azure below:

what is microsoft azure

Azure also provides Azure Preview Portal by which administrators can do admin level of activities.

Microsoft Azure provides a set of cloud services that allow you to build and deploy cloud-based applications using almost any programming language, framework, or tool.

Microsoft Azure services are currently hosted in several data centers spread across the United States, Europe, and Asia. These data centers are managed by Microsoft and provide expert global support on a 24x7x365 basis.

Advantages of Cloud Computing over On-Premise Datacenters

  • Companies can reduce or eliminate on-premise datacenters. Companies can reduce servers, software licenses, IT administrators cost. Companies do not have to spend money on hardware, utilities, etc. Large organizations can save millions of money by using the cloud. Because in case of cloud everything will be taken care of by the 3rd party vendor.
  • Companies will only pay whatever and whenever they will use it. But in the case of on-premise data centers, companies will have to buy all the hardware and software.
  • Cloud providers are reliable and Microsoft saying Azure has 99.99% uptime and is available 24/7/365. You need an only internet connection to use.
  • Cloud Computing helps to access data anywhere and anytime. But in an on-premise datacenter, the user can access his data only on the sys­tem in which he has stored it. If the user has to access the data in another system, he needs to save it in an External storage Medium. To access the data using only need an active internet connection. Data is not restricted to only one system or network.

Various Types of Cloud

There are three types of cloud:

  1. Public Cloud: Public cloud will be available for general public users. The cloud will be available through the internet by users. The infrastructure is owned and maintained by providers like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.
  2. Private Cloud: Private cloud is maintained and managed by a particular organization or any third party. The particular organization can use the cloud to store company data as well as can host business applications. The data cannot be shared outside the organization.
  3. Hybrid Cloud: In a hybrid cloud, we use both private clouds as well as the public cloud. Organizations can use private clouds for sensitive applications, while public clouds for non-sensitive applications.

Cloud Offerings

Three types of services provided by cloud computing.

  • SaaS (Software as a service)

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. For example Office 365. Here we can just use and pay as subscription-based.

Cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure and handle any maintenance, like software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet or PC.

Other examples are Dropbox, WordPress, and Amazon Kindle, etc.

  • PaaS (Platform as a service)

In this method of cloud computing services, it supplies an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network and databases needed for development.

  • IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service)

In the case of IaaS cloud computing services, the company will rent IT infrastructures such as servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Microsoft Azure Services

Microsoft Azure provides various services on its cloud platform.

  • Compute services: This service includes, Azure Virtual Machines (Linux & Windows), Cloud Services, App Services (Web Apps, Mobile Apps, API Apps etc), RemoteApp, Service Fabric, and the Azure Container Service, etc.
  • Data services: This service includes Microsoft Azure Storage, Azure SQL Database, DocumentDB, StorSimple etc.
  • Application services: These services include the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Service Bus for connecting distributed systems, HDInsight for processing big data, Azure Scheduler, and Azure Media Services.
  • Network services: This service includes Virtual Networks, ExpressRoute, Azure DNS, Azure Traffic Manager, and the Azure Content Delivery Network, etc.

Here in this tutorial we learned, what is cloud computing? What are the various cloud offerings like SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, etc?

We also learned what are the advantages of cloud computing and various types of cloud, like public, private and hybrid cloud.

We also saw, what are Microsoft Azure and various services provided by Microsoft Azure.

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About Bijay Kumar

I am Bijay from Odisha, India. Currently working in my own venture TSInfo Technologies in Bangalore, India. I am Microsoft Office Servers and Services (SharePoint) MVP (5 times). I works in SharePoint 2016/2013/2010, SharePoint Online Office 365 etc. Check out My MVP Profile.. I also run popular SharePoint web site SharePointSky.com

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