Azure Cloud Fundamentals and Core Concepts

Microsoft has a deep-rooted history in the tech world when compared with the other global technology giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Microsoft had dominated the PC operating system world with Windows for many years, far outpacing competitors like Linux and macOS.

But Microsoft is not immune to defeat, as it lost the battle in the mobile operating system war against Android. Facing down that defeat, it seems like Microsoft decided to step up its game and take on the next upcoming technology wave – cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT).

To enter that arena, Microsoft brought us its cloud solution, Microsoft Azure. In this article, we will briefly talk only about the main essential cloud concepts behind Azure, including some of its AI and IoT features.

What is Azure Cloud?

Microsoft Azure is one of the biggest worldwide cloud computing platforms. It has the prestige and majesty that Microsoft products deserve. Azure, with a countless number of services, is really a great cloud platform that should be explored by any developer entering the cloud arena.

From basic mobile app hosting to full virtualized networks and AI databases, Azure has a wide breadth of uses for development teams. It empowers organizations to meet current and future business challenges. For many, it bridges the gaps between what is possible in science fiction to the real world, bringing “smart” technology to businesses and software development firms.

Microsoft Azure has so many features and use cases, that it can be difficult to fully discuss them in such a small forum, such as this article. However, this will not stop us from going ahead and trying to take a deep dive into Azure’s countless technology oceans.

Azure Cloud currently includes more than 100 services, most of which mainly fall in these services categories:

  • Compute Services: Cloud computing with a special focus on Virtual Machines, Containers, and Serverless Computing that you can scale on-demand and on a pay-as-you-go basis
  • Networking: Private and public networks; connect on-prime networks with Azure. VPNs and load balance features.
  • Storage: Either by disks, file, Blob, or archive. Attach to VM and database. Also, expand and shrink per needs.
  • Mobile Apps: Create and deploy native mobile apps across Azure platforms with the help of cognitive and AI services.
  • Databases: Choice of various types of databases, including MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL, and CosmosDB. Developers can build a new database or migrate existing databases.
  • Cloud Web Hosting: Create and deploy websites and web applications with additional special features.
  • Big Data: If your enterprise has a huge amount of data, Azure helps you store and analyze that data for better decision-making.
  • App Hosting and DevOps: Develop, run, and deploy applications on a managed platform including SAP and SQL.
  • AI and Machine Learning: Throw prebuilt cognitive services and models and deploy distinct AI applications.
  • IoT: Integrate sensors and smart devices and manage them with IoT Azure hubs to monitor all firm assets.
  • Integration: Deploy logic apps and services, and connect with applications to orchestrate workflows for business. Also, try new software paradigms like Mixed Reality.
  • Security: Included in the Azure infrastructure and services. Alongside Azure identity management for better control, including centralized account management.

Read more Microsoft Azure articles and tutorials.

What is the Azure Portal?

One of the most important elements of the Azure graphical interface is the Azure Portal. It is a unified, web-based console to empower users who are not familiar with command-line shells. The Azure portal enables you to completely control your Azure subscription.

Using Azure Portal, developers can:

  • Create, manage, monitor, and control all your resources at Azure, from basic web apps to advanced cloud and database processes.
  • Build and customize multiple sub dashboards to increase the organizing management of your apps.
  • Configure user permissions and accessibility to make for a better administration experience.
  • Designed especially for the user to have flexibility and continuous availability in all Azure apps and datacenters.
  • Enjoy the possibility for tolerance of user mistakes and debugging any network slowdowns.
  • Continuous updates that require downtime in the event of any maintenance activities.

What is Azure Marketplace?

As with all major cloud platforms, Azure also has a huge marketplace of third-party digital products and services. The goal is to help Azure users get optimized software from Microsoft partners and startup vendors and to purchase from their offered solutions.

As a customer in Azure Marketplace, you will have various opportunities and abilities to search, try for free, and provision from hundreds of diverse applications and services. The solutions list covers countless digital IT industry categories. These include virtual machine clouds, open-source container images, APIs, and DevOps tools. Major security and threat detection, blockchain, and advanced AI technologies are also popular categories.

Briefly, with the availability of quick and reliable end-to-end solutions, Azure Marketplace is a nice place to peruse for future technology lovers, IT pros, developers, and enlightened business entrepreneurs who are interested in commercial and IT software. Currently, there are more than 8,000 listings of these third-party vendor technologies.

Azure User Account

All cloud platforms have User Accounts management, but Azure User Accounts are known for being user-friendly, having a better user experience, and an organized hierarchy optimization for various needs and situations.

Once you create an Azure account, you can use Azure services, and it will create a subscription for you. You can add more subscriptions under the same Azure account. This will facilitate your company to separate between subscriptions for development and sales department subscriptions under one account under the company name.

You can also sign up for a free account on the Azure platform if you want to gain some experience before you spend any money. If you like it, you can upgrade the free account into a premium one after you trial it.

Many enterprises also try an experimental tour by migrating some of their existing applications to Azure cloud virtual machines and operating systems. It is, of course, a great starting idea to open more horizontal cloud magic capabilities. Always remember, you will only pay just for the resources you use.

Zaher Talab
As a technology writer at TechnologyAdvice, Zaher B. Talab tries to help readers learn more about cloud computing and digital emerging technologies, and inform them in detail about how to put these technologies in use, as a technology, and as a business.

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