Pillars Of Cloud And Azure Services

In the previous article, I have explained the overview of ‘why cloud and what is Azure cloud’ platform. In this article, we will explore the overview of an individual pillar of Azure cloud along with what are different resources are present in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Introduction

In the previous article, I have given an overview of the Azure cloud platform.

In this article, we will explore an overview of individual pillars of the Azure cloud along with the different resources that are present in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Scenario

These articles will help you in the study of detailed resources and will help in exploring the Microsoft Azure cloud in depth.

Pre-requisite 

Basic knowledge of software technology and basic knowledge of cloud computing.

Background

Pillars of the cloud

  1. Compute
  2. Storage
  3. Networking and Content Delivery
  4. Database
  5. Analytics and Big Data
  6. Intelligence
  7. Internet of Things (IoT)
  8. Management & Monitoring
  9. Mobile Services
  10. Security, Identity & Access
  11. Developer Tools
  12. Enterprise Integrations
  13. Hybrid Cloud
  14. User friendliness
  15. Data Centers
  16. Pricing Options
  17. Disaster Recovery

Details

Now, I will explain the overview of each pillar one by one-

Compute
  • Compute is a set of resources which is used for processing the business logic for your application.
  • It can be a virtual machine, operating system, timer jobs (recurring jobs/background jobs), batch processing, container service etc.
  • Azure cloud platform helps us to integrate and build cloud computing with a variety of built-in features like microservices, batch processing etc.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under the compute category in Azure,

    1. Virtual servers
    2. Container management
    3. Microservice-based
    4. applications
    5. Backend process logic
    6. Job orchestration
    7. Scalability
    8. Pre-defined templates
    9. Time sync
Storage
  • Storage service refers to storing the data in the cloud. It can be non-relational data, relational data or any other artifacts/assets like files etc.
  • It is an important factor to identify the type of data and correct selection of an Azure resource.
  • Also, you need to examine the different services and its features before using it - with respect to the availability of data, scalability, cost, disaster recovery etc.
  • Relational data is typically coming under database service. 
  • Typically, the below services comes under the storage category in Azure.

    1. Shared file storage
    2. Object storage (BLOB’s)
    3. Virtual Server disk infrastructure
    4. Archiving
    5. Backup
    6. Hybrid storage
    7. Bulk data transfer
    8. Disaster recovery
Networking and Content Delivery
  • This category deals with networking on a virtual machine, connectivity between cloud networks, connectivity between cloud network/resources with on-premise network/resources.
  • We can create our own private network in the cloud. We can integrate cloud network with the on-premise network.
  • We can connect Azure resources (like the web application) to the on-premise database (like SQL) by using feature on-premise gateway.
  • We need to think about networking and content delivery features generally when your application is using IaaS OR connectivity with different networks.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure,

    1. Cloud virtual networking (private network)
    2. Cross-premises connectivity
    3. Domain name system management
    4. Content delivery network (CDN)
    5. Dedicated network
    6. Load balancing
Database
  • We have seen in the storage section above #2, data can be relational database type.
  • Most of the application is storing data in relational format.
  • Azure cloud has different features to store data in relational format like Azure SQL.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure,

    1. Relational database (SQL Database including PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB)
    2. NoSQL—document storage (Cosmos DB)
    3. NoSQL—key/value storage (Table Storage)
    4. Caching (Redis Cache)
    5. Database migration (Database Migration Service + Data Migration Assistant)
Analytics and Big Data
  • Nowadays, data analytics and big data is a buzzword in the market.
  • To make a more informed and accurate decision for your business, it is important that we visualize, and examine the data which will help us to the next decisions.
  • Azure has a wide variety of features and tools.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure,

    1. Elastic data warehouse
    2. Big data processing
    3. Data orchestration
    4. Analytics (Stream Analytics, Data Lake Analytics, Data Lake Store)
    5. Streaming data (Event Hubs etc.)
    6. Visualization (Power BI)
    7. Search Market Place
    8. Machine learning
    9. Data discovery
Intelligence
  • We may need to visualize the intent from images, data, speech or vision in certain applications.
  • Intelligence services help users to connect to the application by natural and contextual ways.
  • Azure cloud has cognitive API’s built-in service to reduce the implementation efforts with more other benefits.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure-
    1. Conversational user interfaces
    2. Virtual personal assistant
    3. Speech recognition
    4. Text to Speech
    5. Speech to Text
    6. Text translation
    7. Text analysis
    8. Visual recognition (Face API, Emotions API etc.)
Internet of Things (IoT)
  • If the application is connected to the device(s) to capture untapped data, process it, and visualize it then IoT is indeed a great choice.
  • It is nothing but the collection of the device(s) and software(s) interacting with each other.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure-
    1. IoT Suite (IoT Hub, Machine Learning, Stream Analytics, Notification Hubs, Power BI)
    2. IoT Hub
    3. IoT Edge
    4. Streaming data (Event Hubs, Event Hubs Capture)
Management & Monitoring
  • If we are moving applications to the cloud then depending upon the cloud resources and service plans, we also need to monitor,

    • Health and performance of the application
    • Utilization of the application
    • Workloads and infrastructure

  • Azure cloud has different features to monitor and control the application.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure-
    1. Cloud advisor
    2. Deployment orchestration (DevOps)
    3. Management & monitoring (Azure Portal, Cloud Shell, Application Insights and many more)
    4. Administration (Log Analytics, Operations Management Suite, Microsoft Operations Management Suite, Resource Health, Storage Explorer)
Mobile Services
  • Nowadays every application is compatible with the mobile device.
  • It helps users to keep interacting with the application from everywhere by using small devices like mobile.
  • Typically, below services are coming under this category in Azure-
    1. Pro app development (Mobile App, Xamarin apps etc)
    2. App testing
    3. Analytics (HockeyApp, Application Insights etc.)
    4. Enterprise mobility management
    5. Real-time data queries
Security, Identity & Access
  • It is the most important factor when you are dealing with cloud applications.
  • We have a need to protect each of the  cloud resources carefully.
  • Azure cloud has a range of features which helps to protect your Azure resources.
  • Every resource has different techniques to protect it. It varies on which type of resource you are going to protect like identity of user, data, database, azure functions etc.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure-
    1. Authentication and authorization (Active Directory, Multifactor authentication, Role Based Access Security [RBAC] etc.)
    2. Encryption (Storage/Data encryption, Key-vault etc.)
    3. Firewall (Application Gateway, Web Application Firewall)
    4. Security (Security Center etc.)
Developer Tools
  • To build any application and deploy to the cloud is easy now.
  • Azure cloud has integrated with other development tools which helps to development team for easily and quickly building, deploying, monitoring and managing applications by using different development tools.
  • Typically, the below services are coming under this category in Azure-
    1. Media transcoder
    2. Media encoder
    3. Workflow (Logic Apps, Microsoft Flow)
    4. API management
    5. Enterprise app integration
    6. Backend process logic
    7. Application development (API apps, web apps, VSTS etc.)
    8. Programmatic access (Power shell, cloud shell, Command line interface CLI etc.)
Enterprise Integrations
  • This is one more important factor that needs to be evaluated while dealing with multiple features/apps together to solve the B2B workflows which integrates with third party software, any other apps or on-premise resources.
  • Example – Web App can connect to logic app to on-premise SQL etc.
  • Typically, below services are coming under this category in Azure,
    1. Enterprise app integration (Logic Apps, Ms. Flow, Dynamics 365, Office 365)
    2. Content management – SharePoint Online
    3. Messaging (Queue Storage, Service Bus Queues, Topics, Relays)
Hybrid Cloud & User friendliness
  • Hybrid Cloud – When you deal with multi cloud applications OR when there is combination of cloud service with on-premise services then it is coming under hybrid cloud category.

    E.g. Connecting networks, Relay, Service Bus, On-premise gateway connector Azure services comes under this category.
  • User Friendliness – Azure cloud has a more friendly interface than other cloud providers. Most of the time we work with Microsoft’s ecosystem. That's an edge here because as the majority of people use Windows, Azure is easy for them to use. 
Data Centers
  • When your application is developed then we must need to select the proper data center location to host our application. Standards says that data center should be near the location from from users will access the application.
  • Azure cloud is available in 54 geographic regions worldwide, 140 countries as of Oct 2018 and it's growing.

    Pillars Of Cloud And Azure Services
Pricing Options
  • Azure cloud works on a Pay-as-you-go model
  • Charges are applied on charge per minute depending upon the resource
  • We can also do short term commitments with Microsoft for options between pre-paid or monthly charges
Disaster Recovery
  • If an application is critical then we need to configure resources in the cloud is such a way that in case of disasters, we can make the application available in minimal amount of time
  • We need to use features like availability sets (fault domains/ update domains), site recovery, multi-regional replica etc.

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