Microsoft Azure is the former Windows Azure, a Microsoft service for cloud computing. The service works through testing, building, managing, and deploying services and applications via a network of data centers. The system supports a wide range of programming languages, platform as a service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), frameworks and tools.
Applications running off, or on, Azure premises can communicate with the system, improving the reliability and scalability of built service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications. The bus service allows 4 categories of communication, which include:
Those that work with one destination communication alone. When a sender pushes a message to a service queue, a receiver reads it. One receiver can decode only one message, even if several readers are in the queue.
Those categories that apply subscriber patterns in single direction communication. Although it has similar characteristics to a queue, every subscriber receives a Topic message separately. Alternatively, a subscriber may decide to filter messages, depending on their own preferences.
Event Hubs: These provide low latency, high reliability and massive scale cloud telemetry and event ingress. For instance, an event hub might prove useful in real-time tracking of cell phone data, such as GPS location.
Those that offer bi-directional communication without keeping in-flight messages, as is the case with topics and queues. Relays only push such messages to the concerned applications.
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Dedicated connectivity is necessary for hybrid applications to transmit your data, and store it in the cloud from the datacenter. Microsoft’s Azure applies the hybrid cloud concept, which bridges between cloud computing and physical data centers. You should not do away with the servers; you instead link them with the cloud to enjoy the services, assuming it is an extended part of your datacenter.
Establishing a link to any Azure private virtual network involves two possible approaches. The first option is where one makes use of the public internet via VPN; while the second one uses ExpressRoute, a Microsoft product, to create a link with data centers from Azure. Most people prefer using VPN, as it applies the established systems, saving on funds that might otherwise vanish into leasing new lines and installing more hardware.
Connection Through The Internet
Linking up your VPN with Azure is similar to configuring an IPSec VPN with other networks, or establishing branch offices network or disaster response connections. For a VPN gateway connection, you will need an approved vendor to provide you with a legitimate VPN appliance. Microsoft offers customers adequate support and guidance in the network configuration for route-based and policy-based network gateways (virtual).
Connections with low bandwidth will save you the hassle of investing in more hardware, as the Windows Remote Access Service and Server's Routing VPN tools are compatible with Azure. This makes managing network set-up easy for Azure-run IaaS apps, with no investment in user interfaces for accessing management websites.
Azure takes care of all your network connections on the other end, by hosting your network’s IPSec tunnels. These are available in 3 alternative versions, which include:
This one provides 10 VPN access tunnels and a throughput maximum of 100Mbps.
This version has 10 VPN access tunnels, ExpressRoute support, and an optimal 100Mbps throughput.
This version offers an optimal throughput of 200Mbps, ExpressRoute support and 30 VPN access tunnels
For more bandwidth, you can use virtual networks with smaller sizes with Azure, helping you to employ additional VPN gateways.
Establishing A Private Azure Connection With ExpressRoute
Sometimes, significant bandwidth demands and network latency makes a VPN inadequate, and this calls for the application of ExpressRoute in establishing private connections. This is by no means cheap. ExpressRoute costs almost the same as a WAN, with specific lines dedicated to the Azure Microsoft network. Basically, ExpressRoute is part of an extended WAN.
Getting out of the way of the public internet helps you avoid other traffic, and you can enjoy your contracted bandwidth to the fullest. The secondary and primary connections for every ExpressRoute circuit minimize outage risks, protecting you from losing links.
Most ExpressRoute circuits provide speeds ranging between 50Mbps and 10Gbps. This is quite suitable for instances with low-latency links, which is common with cloud workloads. Sudden traffic spikes cannot effect the hybrid services spanning both the Azure and datacenter, as ExpressRoute accommodates temporary bursts going as high as twice the contracted bandwidth.
Sending Azure Data Through Physical Storage
Uploading your data to Azure through the public internet can be hectic. It might take you a couple of days, as this is so much more difficult as compared to copying the data onto physical storage media, such as CD-ROMs. To make things easier, you can copy the data onto some physical storage media and contract the services of a cloud provider, who will then upload it to the cloud on your behalf.
Microsoft used to receive your hard drives and feed the contents into Azure, but this proved to be unsustainable, as the hardware may incur damage or get lost along the way. The disks are also quite expensive, and reusing them is risky because of the possibility of corruption.
To control this, Microsoft has the Azure Data Box in development. This will function as a mobile NAS, providing users with 100TB raw storage space. The ruggedized boxes, once the building is complete, will weigh approximately 45 pounds and be easy, safe and cheap to ship and contract courier services.
You will need to load your data using SMB connections onto the box, after which your service provider uploads it into your Azure account, on your behalf. Cortana Intelligence Suite includes Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML), which provides data interaction and predictive analytics, using speech and natural language.
A total of 36 world regions have access to Azure, with Microsoft trying to penetrate 4 more regions at the moment. Microsoft runs two South African regions, and is the pioneer large-scale scope cloud provider in Africa.
Azure operates its system of data centers via the Microsoft Azure OS. The Microsoft Azure Fabric Controller controls reliability and scalability, to protect the environment and services from crashing. This is because if a server crashed, it would lead to the loss of an enormous amount of client and system data.
The system offers HTTP, XML and REST APIs, which give developers an easy time interacting with Microsoft Azure services. A class library managed from the client’s side is also available, encapsulating the service’s functions, and integrating it with Git, Eclipse and Microsoft Visual Studio.
The web-based Azure portal also provides you with an opportunity to work on the system, apart from using API. Since December 2015, the portal has been helping users modify settings, monitor basic data, launch fresh resources and go through active resources, with active virtual services and machines.
Microsoft Azure provides two cloud deployment resource models. These include the ‘classic’ and Azure Resource Manager deployment models. Every single Azure resource, such as SQL database and virtual machine, has a separate management system in the case of the classic model. Azure Resource Manager, on the other hand, uses groups of closely related resources to manage them in couples, making the tasks easier.
Cloud computing is one of the contemporary technological developments, bringing a complete paradigm shift in the way individuals and organizations manage their data. This approach has huge benefits, including securing data that might otherwise disappear with damage that can be caused on storage devices. The fact that we are living in the era of information makes transferring your data to Microsoft Azure one of the wisest decisions you can make.
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