What is Microsoft Azure? Azure vs AWS vs GCP
Introduction to Microsoft Azure
Cloud Computing has become a critical factor for the success of companies of all sizes. Microsoft Azure is one of the top players when it comes to the Cloud Computing market and is growing at an unprecedented pace.
But what is Azure? How is it used? Why is it becoming more and more popular? We will discuss everything here. Let us take a look at the table of content first.
Table of Content:
- Cloud Computing overview
- What is Azure?
- AWS vs Azure vs GCP
- Why Microsoft Azure?
- Microsoft Azure login
- Hands-on 1: Create Microsoft Azure Account
- Microsoft Azure Architecture
- Microsoft Azure Services
- Hands-on 2: Create Microsoft Azure Storage Account
Cloud Computing Overview
Before we jump right into Microsoft Azure, let me give you a brief overview of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is the practice of using computing services – servers, storage, databases, networking, tools, and software, with the help of remote network servers hosted on the internet.
Cloud computing allows companies to consume computing resources remotely without having to build and maintain computing infrastructure in house. In other words, cloud computing is a computing model for enabling ever-present, on-demand, and convenient network access of a shared pool of computing resources (e.g. storage, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be released and provisioned rapidly with minimal effort from both service provider or management side.
A few important points we need to remember.
- 5 Essential Characteristics in Cloud Computing: Broad Network Access, Rapid Elasticity, Measured Service, On-Demand Self-Service, Resource Pooling
- 3 Service Models in Cloud Computing: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- 4 Deployment Models in Cloud Computing: Public, Private, Hybrid, Community
Now let us get into it and talk about Azure.
What is Azure?
Azure is a cloud computing platform by Microsoft, where individuals and organizations can create, deploy, and operate cloud-based apps and infrastructure services.
Image source: Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is a public cloud computing platform. Its secure and global service allows users to create solutions required to encourage the goals of their business. Azure provides a wide range of options including different cloud computing frameworks and multiple cloud services for its users. Azure cloud frameworks include:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Cloud technologies
- Data security and privacy
- Data analytics
- Application developments
- Artificial Intelligence models
Microsoft Azure is a quick, flexible, and affordable platform allowing its services to be used in various domains, such as government, medical, or education.
Alright, now that we have answered the question, “What is Azure?” Let us put Azure against other market leaders.
Azure vs. AWS vs. GCP
Even though AWS has been around the longest, and is very mature, Azure isn’t stepping back at all, so is Google. Before we start comparing these cloud platforms, let me tell you that here we will not conclude a winner, but will analyze what they offer, pros, and cons. The decision of choosing a cloud platform can be affected by many factors. Here I have tried to sum up some of the important factors to analyze Azure vs Azure vs GCP. Let us take a look.
Now that we have seen what Azure, AWS, and GCP have to offer, let us discuss why to choose Microsoft Azure.
Why Microsoft Azure?
According to Azure, “ 90% of Fortune 500 companies trust their business to run on the Microsoft Cloud and are doing amazing things with it.”
Reasons to choose Azure?
Azure is a Microsoft product: Azure calls itself a “future ready” platform with its continuous innovation from Microsoft.
- With its new advancements including AI, blockchain, Kubernetes, containers, and databases - 1000+ latest updates in just last year – to keep its customers ahead in the game.
- It allows businesses to turn their data into insights with breakthrough performance, security, and speed. As they claim, “Analytics 14 times faster that costs 94% less.”
- Azure Quantum Computing services- Last but definitely not the least, its advancement in quantum computing. Yes, Microsoft offers some – “a scalable, open approach to quantum solutions and development” – with Azure Quantum.
Azure is open source and supports all languages and frameworks: Azure lets users build on users’ own terms.
- It provides full-featured, integrated development environments.
- It supports two of the most popular IDEs - Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code – so that developers can take full leverage of the service and build however they want, and deploy wherever they want.
- It offers secure Azure SQL Database service so that users can focus on application development – not to worry about updates, provisioning, and backups.
- Azure DevOps is another very crucial service provided by Microsoft.
Azure provides hybrid cloud features: As it says, be it “on-premises, in the cloud, and at the edge — we meet you where you are.”
Security is the most important factor: Azure claims that security is the foundation of their platform. Azure provides multi-layered security across all physical datacenters, its infrastructure, and all operations with 3500 cyber security experts actively monitoring to protect customer business assets and data. Microsoft has recently invested 1B+ USD in security R&D.
Microsoft Azure login
Logging into Microsoft Azure is very easy. First step is to create a Microsoft Azure account. Let us see how to do that. Here we will create a free trial account. Let me guide you through the process step by step.
Hands-on 1: Create Microsoft Azure Account
First step of getting started with Azure is to sign up with an Azure Account. Here’s a step by step guidance for you to create a Microsoft Azure Account.
Step 1: Sign in with your Microsoft account. If you don’t have one, create a Microsoft account and sign in.
Step 2: To create an Azure free account, go to https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/ and click on “Start free”.
Step 3: Enter a few basic personal information and credit card details.
You will be asked to add credit card details to verify your identity and to keep out spam, but there won’t be any automatic charges unless you choose to upgrade.
Step 4: Complete the final set of verification and agree the terms and conditions to get started with your Microsoft Azure Account.
After signing up you should land on a page like this, that will lead you to the portal.
Microsoft Azure Architecture
Before we can start further operation on Azure platform, let us take a look at its cloud architecture. Microsoft Azure depends on virtualization similar to other cloud platforms. Microsoft Azure architecture runs on a huge collection of servers and networking hardware. It hosts a complex set of applications in order to control operations and configurations of the software and virtualized hardware on those servers. It is indeed a complex orchestration, that is why Azure is so powerful.
Microsoft Azure Services
Azure has 360+ services in its platform. It will not be correct to sum everything up into three four categories. Take a look at the list of services offered by this platform.
Azure Compute: Take a look at Azure compute services.
Azure Networking: Take a look at Azure networking services.
Azure Database: Take a look at Azure database services.
Azure Storage: Take a look at Azure storage services.
In order to leverage Azure storage services, we need to create a storage account. Let us get our hands dirty and see how to create an Azure storage account.
Hands-on 2: Creating Azure Storage Account
Here is a step by step guide for you to create an Azure storage account.
Step 1: Go to Azure portal, open Portal Menu and click on Storage accounts. And then click on “Create”
Step 2: Configure it as shown below.
Step 3: Review and create.
Step 4: Once the deployment is completed go-to resource. And create a container.
As shown below.
We have successfully created blob storage in our Azure account. If you’re interested in exploring more in-depth and industry-oriented projects, refer to Microsoft Azure certification course designed by experts.