Introduction to Microsoft Azure
Now that we have some idea about what cloud is, let’s get introduced to Azure. Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform or Microsoft Implementation for Cloud. Azure is both private and public cloud platform. Azure provides 100s of services allowing individuals to Build, deploy and manage their applications.
How does Azure Work?
Azure uses a technology called virtualization. Virtualization helps in separating type coupling between the Hardware and OS with the help of an abstraction layer called hypervisor. Hypervisor simulates all the functions of a real computer, CPU and Virtual Machines. Also, it has the capability of running multiple Virtual Machines at the same time. These VMs can run different OS; Windows or Linux. Azure uses this very technology and repeats it on a supermassive scale on its Data Centers present all over the world.
In every data centre, there are thousands of racks with servers. Each server has a hypervisor which can support multiple virtual machines. There is also a network switch which gives connectivity to all the servers. Every rack has special software called Fabric Controller. Fabric Controller is connected to another special software called the Orchestrator. Orchestrator is responsible for managing everything on Azure including the request from the user. The User makes a request from the web API which can be called from Azure Portal. Below is a picture showing all the organs of Azure we discussed above.
To have a better understanding of how Azure works, let’s take an example. Suppose a user logs in to the Azure portal and requests to create a VM. The API is called by the Azure Portal and this request is sent to the Orchestrator. Everything is packaged by the Orchestrator and sent to the fabric controller. The Fabric Controller creates the VM and the user can finally access it. This is how Azure works and with millions of users and their requests, there must be many data centres which Azure already possesses making it one of the best cloud providers.
What can be done through Azure?
Azure provides 100s of service from running apps on VMs to exploring intelligent bots and mixed reality. Azure Cloud is not just a place to run virtual machines. It can be utilized for much more. Azure provides Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services which can be of huge use to various projects. Also, Azure allows the customers to communicate with their users via their cognitive services. Cognitive service consists of Computer Vision, Language Understanding (LUIS), Speech Recognition, Text to Speech, Conversation Transcription, etc. There are lots of more paradigms on Azure which we can explore. These will be discussed in upcoming articles.
Azure for Students:
For any student willing to learn cloud computing, Azure is the best platform to get started. Microsoft provides students willing to learn cloud a chance to get acquaintance with Azure services by providing 100$ Azure Credits with a validity of 12 months free of cost. This offer doesn’t require any credit card verification. A simple verification of the person being a student is enough to activate this offer. With this offer, students can use Azure App Services, Azure Functions, Notification Hubs, MySQL database from MySQL in-app, Application Insights and Azure DevOps. This allows the students to build and deploy native and web apps in minutes with their choice of technology: Java, PHP, Node.js, Python or ASP.NET. Also, students can write simple, serverless functions in their programming language to run code without worrying about infrastructure. Moreover, the use of MySQL database can be a huge plus point. Azure provides diagnostics to ensure the web apps and services are running on their maximum potential. Azure DevOps can be an excellent platform to learn to work on teams efficiently on software projects with a set of cloud-powered collaboration tools. With Azure, students can plan their credit usage and utilize the services the best way possible. This makes Azure the best platform for students enthusiastic about cloud to explore various paradigms.
In this article, we learned about Microsoft Azure and how it works at a basic level. Moving on to the next article, we’ll focus on the types of cloud services; namely: IAAS, PAAS and SAAS.