What you know about Microsoft Azure?

Although it has been about 2 years since Window Azure changed into Microsoft Azure, there is not many people knowing that. Perhaps they are too customary with the old name. This article will show you information of the new name: Microsoft Azure to see how different it is. However, first, let’s take an overall look on its infrastructure. With regard to the service infrastructure of Microsoft Azure, it is like an IaaS service; contribute to supply customers with a perfect cloud computing method. This method will integrate modern technology infrastructure with all benefits of public cloud computing.

  1. What is Microsoft Azure in general?
  2. SQL Azure
  3. Compute services
  4. Platform AppFabric

1.What is Microsoft Azure in general?

Azure – “cloud” operation system, which was introduced by Microsoft at the end of October at PDC conference 2008, brings many remaining mysteries.

 Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is an application platform for cloud computing technology. You can use this platform in many different ways. For example, Microsoft Azure can be used to build web applications to run or keep important documents in Microsoft Azure datacenters. In addition, you can use the Microsoft Azure to create virtual machines for development and software testing or running SharePoints or other application platforms. Windows Azure completely separates from applications running on the application layer of the operating system of Microsoft virtualization technologies. This allows administrators not to need to upgrade each PC independently when editing applications.

According to Microsoft, computing technology has entered the 5th generation, in which the application is no longer confined to your computer. Internet will be the main method for customers to interact with the businesses. Yet, business architecture that has been designed previously is in a separate direction for employees and partners. Windows Azure has changed this by offering enterprises the flexibility, platform “access” customers to deploy applications and services.

Windows Azure has been developed for 2 years by chief software architect – Ray Ozzie of Microsoft. Previously, Microsoft implemented the project beginning in 2001 under the name PDC 2001 conference Hailstorm such as .NET My Services, expanding online services and integrating with Passport identification but it was rejected and caught poor public attention.

The development of Windows Azure and the Azure Services Platform is Microsoft’s response to Amazon. Microsoft does not deny that Amazon is a pioneer in the field of cloud computing services platform EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) and Simple Storage. Microsoft also acknowledges that the area of cloud computing technology will have to “rely a bit” on the Amazon platform. However, Microsoft will focus on developing more strongly Azure compared to Amazon’s Web Services.

Windows Azure platform is a set of cloud technology and each technology provides a unique set of services to support application developments. Windows Azure platform contains the following parts:

  • Windows Azure: this part supports the users to run applications and store documents on hosting servers of Microsoft data center.
  • SQL Azure: this part is built to supply data services in the cloud based on SQL environment or servers.
  • Windows Azure PAF: connects the applications which are running on the cloud environment or on premise just by supplying cloud services.

 Microsoft Azure

At the highest level, Windows Azure is considered simply as a platform for running Windows applications and storing data in the cloud.

Windows Azure is available on multiple computers situated in Microsoft data centers and accesses through the Internet. A Windows Azure Fabric closely linked more processing power into a unified system.

Computing service is based on Windows. Programmers can establish useful applications easily by applying the model of .NET Framework, Native-Code … These applications are written in the common languages, using Visual Studio or the other development tools. It is easy for developers to create or design any Web applications thanks to using technologies such as WCF; PHP and ASP.Net; Applications can also run as a background process independently, or a combination of Web and background processing.

Both Windows Azure applications and On-Premise applications can access the Windows Azure storage services, and both access by REST API. Storage services for storing large data object (blob) provide queues for communication between components of Windows Azure applications, and offer table format with a simple query language. For applications with data storage needs of traditional relations, the Windows Azure platform provides SQL Azure database.

Nevertheless, to achieve such advantages, it requires effective management. In Windows Azure, each application has a configuration file. By configuring files manually or programmatically, application owners can configure multiple components such as set numbers showing that Windows Azure should run. And then Azure Fabric monitors applications to maintain the requested state.

To allow customers to create, servers should do configuration and monitoring applications. The customer provides a Windows Live ID, and then creates an account hosting to run the application, and a hosting account to host applications.

 Microsoft Azure

  1. SQL Azure

One of the most appealing approaches of using the Internet access server data is process. The purpose of SQL Azure is to deal with this matter, providing a cloud-based service for storage documents and doing with information. Meanwhile Microsoft says SQL Azure will include a variety of data-oriented features, data synchronization, reporting, data analysis and other functions.

SQL Azure Database provides a management system database based on cloud (DBMS). This technology enables On-Premise applications and cloud to store data and relational data types on servers in Microsoft data centers. Like other cloud technologies, organizations just make payment for what they actually used. Using cloud data allows the conversion of capital costs such as hardware, software, storage management system, operating costs.

SQL Database is established on Microsoft SQL Server; for large scale, this technology provides SQL Server environment in the cloud, supplemented with View, Index, Store Procedure… and so on. This data can be approached through ADO.Net or data access interface of Windows. Customers can also use the On-Premise software such as SQL Server Reporting Services to work with cloud-based data.

When applications are applying SQL Database, the monitor demands will be significantly reduced. Instead of worrying about the mechanism, such as disk usage monitoring and tracking log files (log files); customers using SQL Azure Database can focus on data. Microsoft will handle the operational details. And like the other components of the Windows Azure platform, to use SQL Azure Database Windows Azure, you just have to access Web Portal and provide necessary information.

 Microsoft Azure

Applications can be dependent on SQL Azure through different ways.

A Windows Azure application can keep documents in SQL Azure environment; meanwhile Windows Azure storage does not support relational data tables, in which many existing applications use relational databases. So programmers can move running applications to Windows Azure applications with data stored in SQL Azure Database.

Supposing that manufacturers want product information to be available on both the dealer network and customers. Putting this data into SQL Azure Database allows it to be accessed by applications running at the dealer and the customer’s Web applications.

  1. Compute Services

Microsoft Azure compute services can run many different types of applications. The main goal of this architecture is to support the applications having the huge number of users simultaneous accessing. We can achieve this objective by enhancing the use of larger servers. However, instead of that, Microsoft Azure is designed to support the best applications, running multiple copies of the same source code on many different servers. To achieve this, Microsoft Azure application can have multiple entities (instance) which can actually be executed on a virtual machine.

To run an application, programmers access Microsoft Azure portal through a browser and log in with a Windows Live ID. And then, programmers create a hosting account for running applications, or a hosting account (storage) to store data, or both. Once the programmers have a hosting account, you can upload your application; indicate how many entities that applications need, as well as configuration of the virtual machine. Microsoft Azure will create virtual machines to run applications respectively. Programmers can only see the left of the application state deployed through Microsoft Azure portal. Once the application is deployed, it is completely managed by Windows Azure. The only thing you have to do is to indicate the parameters used for the application, the rest of workload: deployment, scalability, availability, upgrading server hardware preparations are done by Microsoft Azure cloud applications.

 Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure virtual machines include three components:

  • VM Role: run on agents concurrently (Windows Azure Agent). The service agent supports the interaction between the entities with Microsoft Azure Fabric. The agent presents the API defined for the entity to be able to do several things, such as: notes, find the root of local storage resources over its virtual machines.
  • Web Role: can accept a request HTTP / HTTPS. To achieve this goal, it runs on a virtual machine with Internet Information Services (IIS) 7. Programmers can create Web role with ASP.NET, WCF, .NET or any technique that might work with IIS 7. In addition, developers can write applications with native code – the use the .NET Framework is not required. That means you can upload and run applications using different techniques, e.g. PHP and Java. When a request is sent to the Web role, it will be transmitted through the load balancer to the Web role instances of the same application. Therefore, no guarantee that requests from a user may be sent to the same instance of the application.
  • Worker Role: Unlike Web role, it does not accept the request from the outside; its virtual machines do not run IIS system. A Worker role gives you the ability to run the underground continuous processing in the cloud. A Worker role can work with the queue, table, blob in hosting services. It runs completely independent entity with Web roles, although it may belong to the same part of the service. The link between Worker role and Web role can be through the hosting service queue.

Programmers can use the entity only Web role or Worker roles, or a combination of both to create Windows Azure applications. Or they can use Microsoft Azure portal to change the number of instances of Web roles, Worker roles, depending on the requirements of the application.

  1. Platform AppFabric (PAF)

 Microsoft Azure

It supplies infrastructure services based on clouds. Windows Azure PAF includes:

  • Service Bus: This kind of service is designed to allow the Endpoint Expose application to be approached by other applications; each is assigned a URI Endpoint Exposed. The client uses this URI to navigate and gain access to services. Service Bus also interprets the switch network address and bypasses the firewall without opening a new Port to expose application.
  • Access Control: This service allows the client to authenticate application by itself and provides an application server with credential information. The server probably makes use of this information to make decision on what applications are permitted to do.

These services can be used in different ways as follows:

  • Supposing that a company wants the software to be accessed by all trading partners to one of its applications. It can expose application functionality through Web services: SOAP or REST, then their registration with the Service Bus Endpoint. The trading partners can use Service Bus to find and retrieve this Endpoint services.
  • A Windows Azure application can access data stored in On-Premise databases. To do this, it can be solved by creating a Service to retrieve data, and then exposing this Service through Service Bus.

Imagine an enterprise exposes plenty of application services for its business partners. If these services are using REST Expose, applications can rely on the Access Control to authenticate and provide identifying information for each customer application. Instead of maintaining internal information about each trading partner applications, this information can be stored in the Access Control service.

In addition, Microsoft Azure provides a huge storage system called as Storage services. To know more about it, you can access the official website of Microsoft. The above is an overview of famous application of Microsoft – Azure. As mentioned previously, you can do a lot of things with Azure, which is out of your imagination.