Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive set of cloud services used to build, deploy and manage web applications. Azure used by developers and IT professionals, Microsoft Azure has a global network of datacenters. The platform provides integrated tools, Development and operations (DevOps), and the marketplace. Starting from simple mobile apps to internet-scale solutions, Microsoft Azure helps to build anything.
What is Microsoft Azure used for?
Essentially, Microsoft Azure offers various different services which include databases, file storage, backups, full virtual machines, and mobile and web app services. Users can run either Windows or Linux virtual machines on Azure. The service was originally launched as “Windows Azure” and renamed as “Microsoft Azure” as it is more capable than Windows.
Discussing the hundreds of services, Azure can practically do anything. One can set up a Windows or Linux virtual machine which hosts any software which Azure doesn’t offer. Also, users can even host a Windows or Linux desktop in the cloud on a virtual machine to connect it remotely. However, there is competition from other leaders in the segment like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
Microsoft Azure Compute Options:
Microsoft Azure offers three major compute options to run websites and applications. Microsoft Azure Websites and Azure Cloud Services are solutions which influence Virtual Machines in managing. These Azure Websites and Cloud Services are categorized Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings. The third option, Azure Virtual Machines is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering which provides you full control to create and manage your VMs.
Microsoft Azure Websites:
Azure Websites allows you to create and manage websites and web applications executed by Virtual Machines. This Azure Virtual Machine can run your website and web applications reserved solely for your use. These VM’s have features like high-scalability, load balancing, traffic management and fault tolerance.
Azure Cloud Services:
Just like Azure Websites, Azure Cloud Services also employ VMs to execute workloads. However, it gives you some configuration and access to control the VMs. Users can remotely install software on Cloud Service VMs, Yet, you can manage only Azure based Websites.
On the other hand, Azure Cloud Services provides the ability to use web roles running on IIS, or roles which do not require IIS. The model support incoming requests load balancing, fault tolerance through detection of hardware, VM, and application failure.
Azure can automatically start new VMs and new applications in your cloud service to mitigate service downtime if one or more of the VMs or application instances in a cloud service fail. You can select from different VM types according to your workload requirements if one or more VMs in a cloud service fail.
Azure Virtual Machines:
Azure Virtual Machines have a complete control over the creation, configuration, and management of VMs to running your applications. Microsoft Azure provides Virtual Hard Disks for different editions and configurations of Windows Server, Linux servers. Also, it extends VHDs to Microsoft applications like SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint Server, along with many other third-party applications.
Each VM is associated with a cloud service and all VMs should be grouped in the same cloud when needed. The configuration touts some features and allows joining corporate Active Directory (AD) domains. Microsoft Azure Storage provides duplication across the geographical regions while fault tolerance. However, application data should be preserved for troubleshoot when hardware failure.
Then again, Azure Virtual Machines brings the most flexible storage, configuration and connectivity. Never the less, users have to maintain VMs which include updating and maintaining the OS.
Azure virtual machine sizes:
- The A-series and Av2-series VMs can be deployed on a variety of hardware types and processors. The size is throttled, based upon the hardware, to offer consistent processor performance for the running instance, regardless of the hardware it is deployed on. To determine the physical hardware on which this size is deployed, query the virtual hardware from within the Virtual Machine.
- D-series VMs are designed to run applications that demand higher compute power and temporary disk performance. D-series VMs provide faster processors, a higher memory-to-vCPU ratio, and a solid-state drive (SSD) for the temporary disk. For details, see the announcement on the Azure blog, New D-Series Virtual Machine Sizes.
- Dv3-series, Dv2-series, follow-on to the original D-series, features a more powerful CPU. The Dv2-series CPU is about 35% faster than the D-series CPU. It is based on the latest generation 2.4 GHz Intel Xeon® E5-2673 v3 (Haswell) processor, and with the Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, can go up to 3.1 GHz. The Dv2-series has the same memory and disk configurations as the D-series.
- The basic tier sizes are primarily for development workloads and other applications that don’t require load balancing, auto-scaling, or memory-intensive virtual machines.