Windows Azure

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Azure is a blue-cyan color which resembles the color of the sky and this product is basically used for cloud computing.That’s why, Microsoft named this product as Azure.

Today we are in Web 2.0 Era. Applications today are different from the kind of application we used to create earlier. For example, we have Yahoo, MSN as a company which creates application and also provide the content. But now we have other applications also, where content is driven from the contributor like Wikipedia, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. At the same time, we also wants to create an application which includes lots of unique features, created using different technologies.

So, the idea behind this is that we want to be more connected.Have you ever thought of creating a website and hosting it on the web server so that it will be globally accessible by anyone in the world?

 

If yes? Then what are the options available for hosting a website???

1) Hosted Server

Hosted Server is a server which you buy on rent basis to deploy your application in hosted server. In the case of hosted server, you don’t have complete control on the server .If you want any service to be used by application, and then you need to inform the hosting service company to provide the same to you

2) On-Premises server

In the case of On-Premises Server, you have the complete control on the server. You are responsible for doing everything even system upgrade. You can use any service you want but at the same time it will be very costly for you to buy the complete server.

Now what if you get all these things under control where somebody else maintains your application and you get time to think about new features for your application. That is where the third and best option comes i.e. using new Microsoft Windows Azure.

Azure Services Platform is an application platform in the cloud that allows applications to be hosted and run at Microsoft datacenters. It provides a cloud operating system called Windows Azure that serves as a runtime for the applications and provides a set of services that allows development, management and hosting of applications off-premises. In the Microsoft datacenters, we have set of virtualized servers available, in which we can host our applications.

Windows Azure SDK is also available using which you can use to create and test applications on your local system and then host the application on the cloud. The Azure Services Platform can currently run .NET Framework applications compiled for the CLR while supporting the ASP.NET application framework and associated deployment methods to deploy the applications onto the cloud platform. Azure also supports third-party tools and languages, including Eclipse, Ruby, PHP and Python. Recently, two new SDK were also introduced to provide support for third-party software’s like Windows Azure SDK for PHP, Java, Ruby etc.

The platform also includes five services — Live Services, SQL Azure (formerly SQL Services), AppFabric (formerly .NET Services), SharePoint Services and Dynamics CRM Services — which the developers can use to build the applications that will run in the cloud. SQL Azure is a Relational Database for the Cloud.

Customers and partners who adopt the Windows Azure platform derive the following benefits:

? Efficiency: The Windows Azure platform improves productivity and increases operational efficiency by lowering upfront capital costs. Customers and partners can realize a reduction in Total Cost of Operations of some workloads by up to 30 – 40% over a 3 year period. The consumption based pricing(Pay as you go model-amount will be charged based on the services used), packages and discounts for partners lower the barrier to entry for cloud services adoption and ensure predictable IT spend.

? Scalability: As Windows Azure follows the Pay as you go model, amount will be charged based on the services used. Besides, during the peak seasons, you can simply increase the no. of instances of servers on which your application is running so that performance does not goes down. Besides, whenever you host your application in the Microsoft Data Centres using Windows Azure, it maintains minimum three copies of your application/data in different servers so that if one server goes down, another server gets activated to process the request of the client. Azure provides built-in hardware load balancing to spread requests across multiple server instances that are part of the same application.

? Agility: Partners and customers can take advantage of development tools, automated service management and global datacenter presence to respond faster to customer needs, focus on their competitive differentiators, and reach new markets.

? Focus: Partners and customers can focus on delivering services and value to their customers – and not on managing technology infrastructure. The Windows Azure platform enables partners and customers to spend less time on operational hurdles and more time focusing on their competitive differentiators.

? Simplicity: Partners and customers can utilize their existing skills in familiar languages such as .NET, Java, PHP to create and manage web applications and services, whether in the cloud or on premises.

? Trustworthy: Partners and customers will receive enterprise class service backed by reliable service level agreements and deep online services experience

For using Windows Azure Services, you need to create a Windows Azure account at http://windows.azure.com

To Learn more about Windows Azure visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/sdk/

 

FAQ’s::

1) Is Windows Azure just an operating system?

Yes and no. While Azure includes elements of Windows Server 2008 and its sub-systems. Azure OS is a part of a separation of the operating system, infrastructure services and applications so each can be managed separately. That lets users upgrade applications or boost computing resources on the fly. Azure combines with layers of services that live on top of it — infrastructure services such as security and application services — to provide the complete cloud platform.

2) What’s with the name?

Azure is a blue-cyan color which resembles the color of the sky and this product is basically used for cloud computing. That’s why, Microsoft named this product as Azure.

 

3) What is the difference between Azure and the Azure Services Platform?

Azure is the operating system. The platform is a combination of Azure, the infrastructure services layer and the online applications layer.

4) Do I need to learn how to use new tools in order to develop on Azure?

Microsoft is creating alignment between Azure and its current development tools, Visual Studio, ASP.Net and the .Net Framework. What that means is that developers can use the tools they know in order to build cloud applications. Azure also supports third-party tools and languages, including Eclipse, Ruby, PHP and Python. Microsoft is making Azure SDKs, a set of templates for Visual Studio, available to a select group and later to a wider audience.

5) In which countries is the Windows Azure platform commercially available?

As of April 2010, Windows Azure is available in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, United States, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Happy Azuring

Regards

Uday Vaswani



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