Azure : Getting Started – part 1

Introduction

Microsoft Azure is one of the two leading Cloud Computing Platforms available to us today other being Amazon AWS.
Both of these are battle tested platforms with a host of services available at competing prices. In this article we are discussing basics of Azure.

Cloud Types

  • Public Cloud : Public cloud is the cloud system offered over the internet by vendors like Microsoft and Amazon.┬áThis is what generally people refer to when talking about cloud, you are the consumer here paying for the service provided by cloud vendor.
  • Private Cloud :You own and manage everything, vendors like Microsoft help you with the software which runs on top of your Infrastructure to build your private cloud which is available to people only in your intranet.
    It has a very high upfront cost and similar requirements for upkeep like on-premises data centers. This is never a good option until you have are bound by some law or secrecy pact to keep everything in a closed environment.
  • Hybrid Cloud: This is a mix of both, your public cloud connected with your private cloud over a secured encrypted connection.
    Keep in mind that an on-premise server connected to your public cloud cannot be categorized as hybrid. This makes sense for organisations which have already decided on private cloud
    but want to keep the public cloud as an extension for failover scenarios or handling sudden spikes, please keep in mind that creating a workload for hybrid cloud would be complicated compared to the other two

Services Offered

Azure has a long list of Services and Products on offer ranging from Compute, Network, IOT, Storage, Web + Mobile but in order to consume these services we need to decide on the cloud model thats best for us

  • SaaS (Software as a Service): In this model you are just the consumer of the software with nothing to do with where its hosted, installed, how its build or any other detail. All you are concerned about is using the software for a small fees. For using such software you will need some kind of thin client which in most cases would be your Browser with a working internet connection some e.g. of Azure SaaS offerings are Office360, Outlook.com
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): In this model you are responsible for your Application and its Data rest all which involve everything from runtime, OS, Networking to the actual hardware is all taken care of by the cloud provider. If you think about it we can call it SaaS for developers. Most popular PaaS offering from Azure is Azure App Services which we will be discussing more about later.
  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): This model gives you the most flexibility but is most complex and costly of the 3. You are responsible not only for Application and its Data but also runtime, Middelware and OS. You need to do the upkeep of your servers along with the application which is additional work. PaaS should be the way to go unless you have a good reason for choosing IaaS.

In next few article I will talk in depth about Microsoft PaaS offering: AppServices