I get questions all the time about Windows Azure. What is it exactly? If I am an IT Pro Why should I care about Windows Azure? What are the components of Windows Azure? In an attempt to answer these and a host of other Questions I decided I would post some content that I have been delivering in my live sessions to help answer these key questions.
Windows Azure is hosted in Microsoft data centers around the world. Windows Azure provides compute power, storage, and automated service management, as well as easy connectivity to other applications and access control to provide secure authorization and authentication of access to cloud resources. At its core, it is a specialized version of Windows 2008 Server, running thousand of virtual machines managed by the Fabric Controller. The complexity of this vast system has been abstracted from users. To business and end-users they appear to be standard Web services and applications, regardless of the type of device they use, whether it’s a browser, a mobile device, a desktop application, or another service.
Also hosted in the Windows Azure platform is Microsoft SQL Azure, providing relational database services and automated management of relational service. SQL Azure can help reduce costs by integrating with existing toolsets and providing symmetry with on-premises and cloud databases.
Windows Azure AppFabric helps developers connect applications and services in the cloud or on-premises. This includes applications running on Windows Azure, Windows Server and a number of other platforms including Java, Ruby, PHP and others. Windows Azure AppFabric provides a Service Bus for connectivity across network and organizational boundaries, and Access Control for federated authorization as a service.
These basic components make up what we call Windows Azure. So next time someone asks you “So what is Windows Azure?” Use the information above and answer with confidence.