Looking back on the last decade, it is becoming increasingly clear that IT services and software development are moving from desktops to cloud solutions. Microsoft Azure or formerly known as Windows Azure is a public cloud platform developed by Microsoft. Azure provides a vast range of cloud services for computing, storage, analysis, and networking. It allows users to develop new applications with a wide scalability level or run the existing applications in the public cloud. Windows Azure can be considered as PaaS – Platform as a Service, cloud computing model with software and hardware provided by third-party provider; and as IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service, a form of cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. The purpose of the creation of Windows Azure was to eliminate or minimize the overhead and expenses associated with distribution, creation, and supporting the Web Applications. Azure can be divided into 4 layers: Compute, Storage, Fabric, and Service management layer. In addition, it can be categorized into 11 main product types:
- Compute – this type of product provide virtual resources for batch processing and remote application access.
- Web and mobile – these services provide support for the development of Web and Mobile applications, API management features, and reporting.
- Data storage – provide SQL and NoSQL databases as a service. In addition, it offers unstructured and cached cloud storage.
- Analytics – provide real-time analytics, Big Data analytics, machine learning, and data warehousing.
- Networking – provide virtual networks, dedicated connections. In addition, it has services for traffic management, load control, and DNS hosting.
- Media and content delivery network – includes on-demand streaming, indexing, video encoding, and playback.
- Hybrid integration – these services provide server backup and site recovery functionality.
- Identity and access management – this type of product provides authorization and encryption keys protection services.
- internet of Things – supporting one of the most growing trends in the IT sector at the moment. These services allow us to monitor and analyze data from sensors and different devices.
- Management and security – these products offer help in managing Azure deployment, scheduling and running jobs, and creation of automation.
At the moment, Microsoft Azure services are constantly subject to change. Users should check the Microsoft Azure website for updates.
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