What is Microsoft Azure: How Does it Work? | Intellipaat

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What is Microsoft Azure
Updated on 07th Sep, 23 9.6 K Views

Did you know that almost 95% of Fortune 500 companies use Azure, which is 5x cheaper than AWS for Windows and SQL Server? Read the blog to learn more about Azure.

Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, was introduced in October 2008 and released in February 2010. It is now available in 140 countries and is still expanding.

Before going ahead with the ‘what is Azure’ blog, it is suggestible that your Cloud Computing concepts are clear. For in-depth knowledge of Cloud Computing, please refer to this blog: Introduction to Cloud Computing.

In this blog, we will be answering questions starting from Azure meaning how to become a professional!
In case you want to go ahead with a specific topic, here are the topics that will be discussed in this blog:

Check out this Intellipaat Microsoft Azure Full Course video:

So, let us begin with the Azure definition first, which I am going to talk about in the section below.

What is Microsoft Azure?

Azure was created in 2010 by Microsoft to provide cloud services where users could build, test, deploy, and manage their applications on the data centers of Microsoft. These data centers have been spread across 54 global regions. Microsoft offers various services across multiple domains such as Compute, Database, Content Delivery, Networking, and many more.

Let us now move on, and deep-dive into Microsoft Azure. Let us start by analyzing the other Cloud Providers.

Want to become a Microsoft Certified Azure Professional? Check out Intellipaat’s Azure Administrator certification now!

AWS vs Azure vs Google Cloud

To understand what is Azure cloud is, we must also know about other cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform. Without going into details, let us just compare them to avoid confusion.

Azure vs AWS vs GCP

Here are some of the differences between the three cloud service providers.

AWSMicrosoft AzureGoogle Cloud Platform
12 years old7 years old6 years old
Amazon S3 is mostly used for secondary backupBackup is built into AzureDoes not provide any backup
Gives managed virtual tape infrastructure across hybrid environmentsEnterprise-grade hybrid cloud storageIt relies on partners like Egnyte
Dominant market positionSecond largest providerRecently launched and new
Pricing is per hourPricing is per minutePricing is per minute

Cloud Computing is in its nascent stage, and therefore there is a lot of scopes to grow in this area as a professional with the right certification and the right platform.

Azure holds the largest market share, after AWS. With the extensive use of AWS, there are many professionals who already have mastered it and the job market for AWS has now become saturated. On the other hand, opting for Google Cloud would not help you much, since most of the Fortune 500 companies are not on Google Cloud right now. Hence, the number of jobs available for Google Cloud is comparatively less. Being in the middle ground, getting certified as an Azure Professional is going to be a strategically good choice.

Now that we know learning Azure is the right thing to do, let’s move to learn how it actually works by discussing the Microsoft Azure architecture.

Go through our blog on what is Azure Data Lake to learn in detail.

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Microsoft Azure Architecture

Let us try to understand, Microsoft Azure Architecture by the diagram given below:

Microsoft Azure Architecture

Image source: Mastering Cloud Computing, a book authored by Rajkumar Buyya

AppFabric is the middleware that comprises services such as compute, storage, networking, and identity management. Azure is hosted within Microsoft data centers and is accessible from Microsoft Azure Management Portal. Next, let’s talk about the middleware in detail below, as services.

Let us now explore some of the services that are provided by this cloud computing service in the segment below.

Want to become a Microsoft Certified Azure Professional? Check out Intellipaat’s AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Certification now!

Microsoft Azure Services

Azure Service

By now, you might be having a rough idea about the entire cloud services and what is MS Azure. Let us deep-dive into Azure services.

There is an endless list of services that this cloud computing service provides you with. We will be focusing on all the important services which are frequently asked in the certification exams.

For better understanding, let’s categorize them into domains as follows:

  1. Azure Compute
  2. Azure Networking
  3. Azure Storage
  4. Azure Database

Watch this Azure Video Tutorial:

Azure Compute

Azure Compute

It gives the products that are of building level which determines the execution of an application deployed in the Azure platform. Following are the different services that it provides:

  • Azure Virtual machine: it is an environment that allows the user to have a similar experience as that of while using dedicated hardware.
  • Azure Virtual Machine Set: They are used to create thousands of identical virtual machines in a jiffy.
  • Azure Container Service: Containers are packages that do not need virtual machines and instead depend on virtual isolation to run applications that have a shared OS kernel. And Azure container service creates a container hosting solution.
  • Azure Container Registry: It is used to store and manage container images.
  • Azure Functions: It doesn’t have a server and lets you run code-on-demand without infrastructure.
  • Azure Batch: It is used to scale N number of virtual machines at a time.
  • Azure Service Fabric: It is a distributed platform that simplifies the deployment and lifecycle management of a small service-based application.
  • Azure Cloud Services: They focus on apps and support Java, Node.js, PHP, Python, .Net, and Ruby.
  • Azure Web Apps: They create and deploy web apps at scale very quickly.
  • Azure Mobile App: It is used in building and hosting the backend for any application on mobile.
  • API Apps: It is used to build cloud APIs easily.
  • Azure Search: It provides search-as-a-service which is fully managed.
  • Notification Hubs: They are used to send push notifications to any platform from any backend easily.
  • Azure Logic Apps: It is a cloud service that will help you in automating workflows, business processes, etc.
  • Azure Event Hub: It is a collection of events that can be stored.

Want to become an Azure developer, Check out this Azure Developer Certification in Singapore to enhance your career!

Azure Networking

Azure Networking

These networks allow enterprises to safely connect to their cloud resources through Azure ExpressRoute. It is also used to manage private virtual networks and, further, create multiple virtual networks.

  • Azure Virtual Network: It performs network isolation and segmentation with filters that route the traffic. It comprises Azure Connect which allows easy setup of IP-based and Azure Traffic Manager.
  • Azure Load Balancer: It balances a load of traffic going to virtual machines and isolates the external traffic to another virtual machine.
  • Azure Traffic Manager: It provides load balancing features.
  • Azure Express Route: It is a network that lets you extend the current network into Microsoft cloud over a private connection.
  • Azure DNS: Azure DNS translates a website to the IP address.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): Azure CDN helps in improving delivering the content and allows the streaming of content by using the location of 24 different locations that are distributed throughout the world.
  • Azure VPN Gateway: It sends encrypted traffic across a public connection.

Want to read more about Azure? Go through this Azure Tutorial!

Azure Storage

Azure Storage

Azure storage provides storage solutions that are more durable and You can build large-scale applications, and still scale higher if needed, and it automatically balances the data based on traffic.

  • Azure Blob Storage: Azure follows storage in terms of binary large objects (BLOBs) with blob service. It gives users the ability to describe their data by adding metadata.
  • Azure Queue Storage: It allows applications to communicate via the exchange of messages on a queue hence it avoids lost or unprocessed messages.
  • Azure File Storage: It offers file sharing in the cloud using a standard protocol.
  • Azure Table Storage: It stores semi-structured NoSQL data in the cloud.

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Azure Database

Azure Database is a relational database-as-a-service that is reliable and secure, and it gives high performance without having to worry about any infrastructure.

Azure Database-What is Microsoft Azure-Intellipaat
  • Azure SQL Database: It is a relational database hosted in Azure and built on SQL server technologies. It provides a scalable, highly available, and fault-tolerant database.
  • Azure DocumentDB: It is a NoSQL database-as-a-service whose features are a transactional process over no schema data, rich querying and query processing and transaction semantics that are similar to the relational databases.
  • Azure Redis Cache: It is a data structure that implements a key-value database with optional durability.

Notable other services are Azure Service Bus, Azure Notification Hub, Azure Resource Manager. So, those were the services of Azure but there is a lot to it. Coming back to our question, ‘what is Microsoft Azure?’, let us see why companies are opting for this cloud computing service, in the next section.

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Microsoft Azure Features

Now that we know exactly what is Azure, let us see what its features are.

  • Disaster Recovery: Since data is not stored on a single physical computer and instead is present in different geographical locations, it will be much safer in the time of disaster. Even if one location undergoes some natural calamity, other locations are not harmed, and hence your data is safe.
  • Security: Azure is continuously updated and that makes it secure. Security Development Lifecycle makes sure that every development phase is safe and secure.
  • Flexibility: With Azure, you can scale your storage capacity. Recently, the service from Microsoft even gave updates on its increased flexibility in terms of virtual machine size. These reserved instances can decrease the Cloud Computing cost.
  • Cost: Using physical hardware for the deployment of applications comes up with emptying your pockets. Training people on how to work with it requires a lot of time and money. In this fast-paced technological world, there is huge competition. And if you take time in delivering the final product, it is obvious that your business will foresee a huge loss. Azure is the solution to all those problems as it is cheap in terms of hardware and manpower.

Now that you are aware of Microsoft Azure’s services and features, let us dive into how to log in to Microsoft Azure.

Master the core concepts of Azure through this Azure Training in Bangalore!

Microsoft Azure Login

Moving along in this ‘what is Azure’ blog, let us see, how you can create a free account in Microsoft Azure. On successful signup, you get Rs.13,300 credit in your Microsoft Azure free-tier account, and 25+ free services for a lifetime.

Below are the steps of creating your own Azure free trial account:

Azure login

1st Step: Go to https://www.azure.com and click on the green Start free button

Azure Free account

2nd Step: Again, click on the Start free button

azure sign in

3rd Step: If you already have a Microsoft account, enter your credentials and log in

Azure verification

4th Step: You will need to verify your account via phone SMS

Azure account details

5th Step: Provide your valid credit/debit card details, but you won’t be charged

Azure portal dashboard

6th Step: Next, tick on I agree and click on Sign Up. Within a few seconds, your account will be ready. Here is your dashboard

And that’s how simple it is!
Now, talking about the pricing of this cloud computing service, here is what you must know.

Go through these Microsoft Azure Interview Questions and Answers to excel in your interview.

Azure Pricing

Microsoft Azure gives the most amazing pocket-friendly plans for your Infrastructure on Azure.

Pricing of Azure is offered in the following three forms:

  1. Pay as you go
  2. Spot Pricing or Low Priority VM
  3. Azure Reserved Instances

Let us understand them one by one:

Pay as you go: It is as simple as it sounds, you pay only for what you use. For example: Let’s say you use a 64GB RAM machine with 8 CPU cores for 45 minutes. You will just be charged for 45 minutes, nothing more nothing less. Want to hear something cool? The pricing for the machine similar to this spec is as low as, 61 rupees or 0.8 US dollars an hour. Isn’t that amazing! Not impressed with this pricing? Read on.

Spot Pricing or Low Priority VM: Azure Spot Pricing and Low Priority VMs offer users a way to save up to 70% on standard Azure pricing by using unused compute capacity. Azure Spot Pricing allows users to bid on spare compute resources, while Low Priority VMs are always available at a discounted price but can be interrupted if demand for compute resources increases.

This pricing option is ideal for workloads that can be interrupted, such as batch processing jobs, dev/test environments, and large compute workloads.

Certification in Cloud & Devops

Azure Reserved Instances: With Azure Reserved Instances you can avail a discount of up to 70% on standard Azure pricing. How? Well, unlike Low Priority VMs, this kind of pricing is for workloads, which are extremely important and require constant processing. The way it works is, you commit to this cloud service that you will be using a particular VM for let’s say 2 years. This way, Azure gives you an upfront discount up to 70% which can vary based on the commitment time. But, you cannot withdraw the VM mid-term. Once you have committed you will use the VM for a particular amount of time, you will be billed for the time that you committed for, even though you are not using it.

Want to see how the prominent services of Azure are priced? I have tried to put forth the pricing options for the major services down below:

ComponentPrice (in dollars)Free Services
App Service0.01336/hourFree for the first 12 months
Virtual Machines0.01118/hourFree for the first 12 months
SQL Databases0.02081/hour250 GB free for the first 12 months
Blob0.01895/GB5 GB free for the first 12 months
Azure Container Service0.01118/hourFree for the first 12 months
Functions0.2053/1 million executions1 million requests/month always free

It must be clear to you by now, Microsoft Azure means and how fast it is growing. So, why not see some job prospects in this field?

In case you want to get certified and become an Azure Specialist, here is the course you are looking for Microsoft Azure Masters Program!

Azure Jobs

Azure job

Image source: The Businessinsider

Cloud is growing each day and so are the platforms that provide cloud-based services.

  1. The average salary of an Azure Architect is about ₹3,046,000–₹3,327,00 annually, in India.
  2. While the basic pay scale for a Cloud Developer is up to ₹2,000,000–₹3,000,000, an Azure Administrator’s average salary is about ₹1,200,000–₹1,900,000.
  3. There are 16,000+ openings as of today globally, and this is 5,000+ in India! With the majority of the companies shifting to cloud services, the number of jobs in this field is going to increase.

We have almost reached the end of this blog and it must be crystal clear to you about what is Microsoft Azure and all its advantages in terms of services it offers, job market, etc. Isn’t it going to help, if you learn and gain expertise now? Getting certified as a cloud professional, especially as a professional, will give your career a new edge.

If you have any doubts or queries related to Azure, do post them on Azure Community!

Microsoft Azure Certification

Microsoft has become popular worldwide. It has managed to set a benchmark for all its certifications, and it is also making sure to deliver the best cloud servicing platforms.

Azure certification-What is Microsoft Azure-Intellipaat

Further, there are three roles in Azure cloud services. They are:

Azure Administrator

This certification is basically for beginners. With this certification, Microsoft aims to help the candidates learn and acquire knowledge and skills about basic cloud concepts and core Azure fundamentals.

  1. There have been few updates on this certification. Instead of appearing for the exams AZ-100 and AZ-10, from May 1, 2019, there will only be one exam that you need to pass:
    • AZ-103: Microsoft Azure Administrator

Azure Developer

We recommend this certification only for those who have been in the cloud servicing industry for at least 2–3 years. With this certification, Microsoft aims to help the candidates learn all skills required in the development domain such as designing or building cloud-based applications. To achieve this certification, you will need to clear the following exam:

  1. Exam AZ-203: Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure

Prepare for Azure DevOps with the help of these Azure DevOps Interview Questions.

Azure Architect

Microsoft launched its first role-based certification for the expert level. With this certification, Microsoft aims to help the candidates learn the most advanced Azure skills, along with learning to design secure, reliable, and scalable solutions for businesses. After this certification, a candidate is expected to have gained expertise in compute, network, security, and storage. To achieve this certification, you will have to pass the following exams:

  1. Exam AZ-300: Microsoft Azure Architect Technologies
  2. Exam AZ-301: Microsoft Azure Architect Design

If you have taken up Exam 70-535: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions, then you need to go for the following exam to get certified:

  1. Exam AZ-302: Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect Certification Transition

Now that you know what is Microsoft Azure and the steps involved in getting certified, I am sure, it will be a game-changer altogether.

So, now we hope that you are confident enough to answer the question ‘what is Azure?’

Know about the difference between Azure, AWS, and GCP in the blog by Intellipaat.

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