Introduction: What Is Microsoft Azure?
You may have heard of a program called Microsoft Azure, as it has become quite well-known and popular. However, you probably don’t know what it is or how it works…otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be here. To put it simply, Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud platform, and it functions similarly to other popular cloud computing options.
How Does Azure Work?
Like most other cloud providers, their main function is to provide and configure various servers for the use of their clients. In case you don’t know, a server is just a computer that “serves” the internet to other computers. Whenever you connect to your ISP (internet service provider), you are using a server as the middle-man by which you access the wider world of the internet.
A cloud provider like Microsoft will have many servers arranged in racks. Because these are special-purpose computers, they don’t really look much like your desktop PC. Instead, they are sometimes referred to as “blades” because of their thin, flat shape. This shape makes it easier to fit more servers in a single rack. Sometimes, a functional group of racks will be called a “cluster.” Learning a little bit of network terminology can be very helpful when researching this subject.
What Is Virtualization?
Virtualization is the backbone of all cloud technology, as this type of computing wouldn’t be possible without virtualization. For a good example of a virtualization program, we might look at the many emulators that are used to imitate older hardware. Whether it’s a Commodore 64 or a modern Macbook, an emulator can imitate its hardware. This allows computers to use software for which their operating system wasn’t designed, widening your options for usage.
Another example of a virtualization program would be Virtualbox. This is a piece of software that creates “virtual machines” inside of your existing computer system. These virtual machines can be loaded with any operating system or software and can be made and discarded within minutes. Sometimes, people use these virtual machines as “sandboxes” in which to test new or unfamiliar programs.
The cloud was invented when someone realized that the basic idea of virtualization could be taken much further. Rather than creating miniature systems for special use, they realized that it was possible to create an entire virtualized network. Other than the servers themselves, most of the cloud’s components are virtualized, and they work just as well as the real thing when properly configured.
What Is A Fabric Controller?
This is a term that you might hear, but only if the talk becomes very technical. We have already mentioned that a cloud provider like Azure hosts many servers, but we haven’t talked about how those servers are made to function in unison. To control and direct the activities of each, a component called a fabric controller is required.
Because each cluster of services is meant to fulfill different functions for different clients, they have to be separated into control groups. Each cluster is controlled by a separate fabric controller and given the instructions that are appropriate to them. The fabric controller is not a physical component, as it is basically a virtualized piece of hardware. Thus, we might say that it is both hardware and software in one.
What Is A Front-End?
As the name implies, this is the part of the cloud that most users will see and access. It is the cloud equivalent of a graphical operating system in that it serves as the main control terminal for end users. The front end is kind of like an iceberg: it represents that small piece of the network that is visible, while the majority remains hidden beneath waves of code. In terms of software design, “front end” refers to the surface layer while “back end” refers to all the important stuff that happens behind the scenes.
Services Offered Through Azure
Apart from the obvious benefits of the cloud, Microsoft offers a lot of different services with an Azure account. Obviously, most people do not go for all of these services, and you will pay extra for most of them. For that reason, it is essential to identify the services that your business needs while discarding those that would be superfluous.
Microsoft offers over 200 different services, ranging from developer tools to AI analysis and everything in between. For instance, you have the option to create and delete virtual machines within your cloud, allowing you to use a wider variety of tools. There is also a service called “Functions.” This one allows you to create and manage software applications in an environment where hardware doesn’t matter. These are just a couple of examples, as we certainly don’t have the time or space to cover all 200 services, but you can check the directory to learn more.
As you can see, the answer to the question posed in the title is very straightforward. Microsoft Azure is a cloud provider, and it functions in much the same way as any other cloud provider. While Microsoft has certainly put some unique touches on the thing, long-time cloud users shouldn’t have any trouble making the adjustment. We hope that we have given you a better idea as to how all of this works, and we also hope that you will fill out the contact form. This will allow us to send you even more useful information.