Introduction to Microsoft Azure
In the previous section, we gave you an overview of AWS. In this section, we’ll give you an introduction to Microsoft Azure.
Azure is a cloud computing platform that was introduced by Microsoft in 2010. It gives you the ability to create, manage, and deploy applications across a vast global network. Microsoft Azure also offers a range of services to help your company address the existing and potential business challenges in your infrastructure and applications.
Microsoft Azure has the second-largest share in the cloud industry. It also has specialized regions for compliance or legal purposes.
Azure Global Infrastructure
Azure Cloud Infrastructure is built around:
Regions – a group of data centers deployed in a latency-defined perimeter and connected through a dedicated regional low latency network.
Regions that are unique when it comes to compliance:
- Azure Government Cloud – only US federal, state, local, and tribal governments and their partners have access to this dedicated instance.
- China Region – data center is physically located within China and has no connection outside of China, including other Azure regions.
Availability Zones – a zone is composed of one or more data centers with independent power, cooling, and networking facilities.
Azure services that support Availability Zones fall into two categories:
- Zonal services – a resource is pinned to a specific zone.
- Zone-redundant services – replicates automatically across zones.
How does Azure Pricing Work?
Azure helps you estimate your monthly cost using the Pricing Calculator, and compare expenses and savings against on-premises and co-location environments with the Total Cost of Ownership Calculator.
This includes the following pricing models:
- Pay as you go – increase or decrease capacity and only pay for what you use.
- Reservations – commit one-year or three-year terms to reduce your infrastructure costs.
- Spot – significant discounts in purchasing unused compute capacity.
Essential Azure Services
- Azure VM – A virtual server that supports both Linux and Windows operating systems. You can allow or deny the traffic going to your VMs using a network security group.
- Azure Kubernetes Service – It allows you to orchestrate and manage multiple containers, but the control plane and worker nodes upgrades are done manually.
- Azure Blob – An object storage service of Azure. A single blob container size is the same as the maximum storage account capacity.
- Azure Disk – A block storage for virtual machines. You can protect your disks from failure with the data redundancy feature.
- Azure Files – It enables you to mount file shares in popular operating systems such as Linux, Windows, and macOS.
- Azure SQL Database – A relational database service that supports Microsoft SQL server.
- Azure Cosmos DB – A database service for document store, graph DBMS, key-value, and wide column store.
- Azure VNet – A private network to run your VMs and applications. You can segment your virtual network between a /16 and /29 netmask.
- Azure CDN – It enables you to deliver web content closer to users. It has multiple point-of-presence locations in a region.
- Azure Traffic Manager – Distribute incoming traffic based on the routing method of your choice and Azure DNS helps you manage your DNS records.
- Azure Active Directory – An identity and access management service that allows you to create and manage users and groups. You can use RBAC to grant users certain roles to access specific resources.
- Azure Key Vault – A service that allows you to store tokens, passwords, certificates, and other secrets. You can also create and manage the keys used to encrypt your data.
- Azure Application Gateway – A web traffic load balancer for the distribution of HTTP requests. It also has a web application firewall that protects your web applications from commonly known vulnerabilities.
This article is part of our free Journey to Cloud: A Beginner’s Guide eBook. Click here to get a free copy.