Azure public cloud: For companies interested in moving to the cloud, Microsoft Azure is one of the most complete public cloud platforms available. With so many providers and features to choose from in this growing, competitive market, there are many good reasons to choose the Azure public cloud infrastructure.
Azure public cloud: built for hybrid solutions and for “seamless cloud connectivity”
A long-trusted technology partner, Azure is a natural extension of Microsoft’s solutions for businesses and individuals. The Microsoft Azure public cloud platform is the only cloud platform that is built with hybrid technologies in mind.
It’s a complete software suite, from Windows Server to SQL Server and Internet Information Server, can now natively extend, scale, stretch, failover, backup and restore themselves in the cloud.
The System Center family of management tools supports administrators in maintaining consistent and complete control over the entire hybrid infrastructure. Users can add, manage and remove local and virtual machines and other resources, seamlessly.
Azure ’s private and hybrid cloud infrastructure, Azure Stack, enables running part of the actual Azure technologies, as well as the portal, in custom, on-premise hardware. This allows users to manage their local data center like a service provider.
Location, privacy, and compliance
Location, privacy, and compliance are essential features to consider when evaluating a cloud provider. Azure public cloud is present in 30 regions worldwide (as of October 2016), and according to its website, it plans to add 8 new regions. The location is important for speed and latency performance but especially for data protection laws and privacy, which differ by region. Technology issues and government regulations are particularly relevant in countries like China, and Microsoft Azure has been available there since 2014.
Azure has also invested in customer data protection. From a facility and internal point of view, the Azure Public Cloud (MCIO) team handles all data center initiatives worldwide. They have applied 20+ years of experience to keep data safe through a robust set of technologies and practices. To help organizations comply with national, regional and industry-specific requirements governing the collection and use of data, Microsoft offers the most comprehensive set of Azure certifications of any cloud service provider.
C# is one of the most important programming languages in terms of worldwide adoption. Programs in C# run on the .NET framework, which was created in 2000 by Microsoft as a platform to develop new applications, from the desktop to the web. .NET now has an important new implementation, .NET Core, which has been updated with the cloud and Azure in mind. It is available across platforms so that it also runs seamlessly on Linux and MacOS.
If .NET is your focus, then Azure public cloud has a more consistent and rich .NET offering than other providers. From the client point of view, the consistent REST APIs that are exposed by all Azure services are encapsulated in libraries that can be easily downloaded inside its Visual Studio development framework. PaaS services, such as App Services, natively host .NET applications.
In addition, all .NET and Visual Studio Team Services offer an integrated experience with Azure public cloud for continuous delivery of solutions and functionalities, from development to release.
From the IT side, the PowerShell language is effective for handling the administrative tasks for managing the Windows Server Infrastructure and Azure Services. Powershell is implemented with .NET and offers a high level of performance thanks to:
- A consistent and powerful language;
- An object pipeline that allows passing results as parameters to commands in the pipeline in the form of in-memory objects rather that classing input and output streams;
- The CmdLet extensibility model allows implementation of more commands as needed.
With .NET Core, Powershell is also available for Linux.
In general, PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides the building blocks that allow you to run your own applications and create solutions. Microsoft Azure’s PaaS model can be used to host or manage services, or as a development environment, and it supports multiple roles.
Because Microsoft is much more developer focused, Azure public cloud provides stronger PaaS capabilities and a more consistent service offering than over providers. Also, by embracing open source solutions and Linux, Microsoft’s PaaS offering includes many strategic services (search and cache, for example) for developers.
Microsoft is moving away from the notion of being a Windows-centered company. On the server side, Microsoft has acknowledged that Internet startups, distinct from the enterprise customers, rely completely on Linux. In 2014, it launched a “Microsoft loves Linux” campaign to promote support for Linux and OS. Microsoft continues to invest in Linux-based assets.
More than 30% of Virtual Machines deployed as Infrastructure as a Service are based on Linux distributions, a number that is increasing each month.
Microsoft has embraced the philosophy of Linux containers and mainly Docker to deploy the new ASP.NET Core applications. You can deploy web applications on Windows, on App Services or to Docker Containers directly from Visual Studio and Visual Studio Team Services. And, you can always install Docker on a Linux VM as Infrastructure as a Service. Following the PaaS philosophy, Azure Container Services provides a Docker Registry and Host.
One of the most successful Azure public cloud services, App Services (originally based on Windows with project Kudu and Internet Information Services) recently introduced a pure Linux variation in handling PHP and Node.js workloads.
A great advantage of App Services its ability to manage the lifetime of a website, from deployment to testing, to maintenance, to management in a simple and powerful way.
Some of the most important services in Azure’s PaaS offering run and scale over Linux instances, such as Azure Search, which implements a custom version of ElasticSearch and Azure Redis Cache.
Microsoft also announced earlier this year that a version of the relational DBMS SQL Server will be available in 2017.
Whether you are an enterprise customer looking for a hybrid cloud solution, a developer that appreciates the PaaS approach, or if you’re a .NET Developer, this is a great time to approach the Azure public cloud.
As part of our Azure post collections, take a read at our blog posts on preparing for the Microsoft Azure 70-535 Exam and preparing for the 70,533 exam.