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Getting Started with Windows Azure

Getting Started with Windows Azure - Part 1: Introduction to Windows Azure

Mar 28 2013 12:00AM by Karthikeyan Anbarasan   

Introduction: Welcome to the series of article on Windows Azure, in this series we are going to see what Windows Azure is and some of the components that are basically needed to start developing your application that supports Microsoft Windows Azure or migrate your existing application to the Windows Azure with some steps to make the compatibility for the application to run on the cloud. Before we step into Windows Azure, we need to understand what a cloud is.

Cloud computing in simple terms is providing resources, which can compute based on the application need, and stores the data on the internet scalable data center’s instead of storing them on premises. Cloud computing is more scalable and secure so that we can virtualize the servers and the services on demand instead of buying the costly hardware and laying the infrastructure with more costly resources.

Cloud Computing has now became a challenge for the Architects and Administrators to make how the infrastructure exactly going to be on how to manage the application on the cloud, and how to design, configure and scale the application to be available on the cloud without any hassle. As an end user the consumers will not have much control on to check on which environment the application is running on when the consumer access the application or the service from the Desktop or a browser or even from a mobile device. So the complete idea behind the Cloud is to pay for the resources that are been used on the go instead of investing a huge amount of money on the infrastructure.

Why to go into cloud?

Some of the considerations which each and every architect considers on why to get in to cloud technology are as follows.

  • Lower IT Operation Costs
  • Pay as you go (Pay for the service you consumed) model.
  • Easy implementation and migrating to cloud.
  • Decreased downtime.
  • Good response time.
  • Very simplified upgrade of the applications.
  • Flexible through different technologies.

There are many advantages on using the cloud over the application development, like we can access the application anywhere real time with the update in much more reliable and scalable way.

Windows Azure:

Windows Azure a Microsoft Cloud Platform is used to build application that runs and stores the data in a Microsoft data center which is highly scalable and available. This platform can work with the internal data center and at the same time connects and works well with the On Premises application that is hosted outside the Azure environment. Initially Windows Azure was available as a PAAS model (PlatformAs A Service) and now in later 2012 Windows Azure was released as a IAAS model (Infrastructure As A Service) where a bunch of new features and enhancements are introduced which makes Windows Azure more powerful.

Windows Azure runs on an Operating System called Windows Azure, which is a cluster, hosted at Microsoft data centers that manage compute and storage resources of the system to run the applications on top of the Windows Azure Operating System. There are many components that are available with the Windows Azure, which makes the environment more powerful and reliable, and this makes the Microsoft Windows Azure be available in the top spots in the list of Global Cloud Providers.

Features of Windows Azure:

Some of the Key features that need to be listed to the readers are as follows.

  • Windows Azure Cloud Services
  • Windows Azure Web sites
  • Virtual Machines support for Microsoft OS and Non-Microsoft OS
  • SQL Azure for Data Management
  • Media Services
  • Mobile Services

Components of Windows Azure:

Below are some of the Major Microsoft Windows Azure component list that need to be known while we design and design a Windows Azure Application.

  • Azure Cloud Services
  • Virtual Machines
  • Websites
  • Azure AppFabric
  • Data Management
    • SQL Databases
    • Table Storage
    • Blog Storage
  • Business Analytics
    • SQL Server Reporting Services
    • Hadoop Services
  • Messaging Services
    • Service Bus
    • Queues
  • Media Services
  • Mobile Services
  • Identity
    • Active Directory
    • Access Control
  • Azure CDN

How to get started?

Windows Azure is available for a 90 days free trial with the list of following benefits

  • Compute / 750 small compute hours per month
  • Web sites / 10 web sites
  • Mobile services / 10 mobile services
  • Relational database / 1 SQL database
  • SQL reporting / 100 hours per month
  • Storage / 35GB with 50,000,000 storage transactions
  • Bandwidth / unlimited inbound & 25GB outbound
  • Media services encoding / 50 GB (input & output combined)
  • CDN / 20GB outbound with 500,000 transactions
  • Cache / 128MB
  • Service bus / 1,500 relay hours and 500,000 messages

To register for the account visit http://www.windowsazure.com and start registering using your Windows Live ID and a valid Credit card. Credit Card is required for the identity and no amount will be charged while registering.

Conclusion:

Therefore, in this article, we have seen what a Windows Azure is all about and the cloud terminologies that make us comfortable to understand cloud with Windows Azure.


Karthikeyan Anbarasan
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