Category Archives: cloud computing

Understanding Microsoft Cloud and its essential part

Understanding Microsoft Cloud and its essential part

After giving brief introduction of Cloud few days back I thought to give some light on more details of Microsoft Windows Azure.  Microsoft Windows Cloud is created by so many different services and out of which, following are the some of the important services which makes Windows Cloud more fascinating.

Microsoft Windows Cloud

Picture worth 1000 words so after looking at image given above, you must have an idea about the essential part of Cloud offering by Microsoft. Let us have a look at each in brief here.

Windows Azure :

In simple word, Windows Azure is the operating system provided by Microsoft for Cloud computing. Windows Azure is first reveled in Microsoft Developer Conference 2008 (PDC-2008). By the help of Windows Azure, Microsoft offers  service hosting, service management for Azure Platform. Windows Azure provides you on-demand computing and storage to host, scale, and manage web applications and services on the internet in Microsoft data centers.  Windows Azure is made up of following essential parts.

  • Access:
    1. Web Role: “Web Role” is one of the exciting feature of Windows Azure. It is mainly used to host the website in Window Azure. Generally after creating and deploying web application, developer always wants ability to scale out application horizontally by adding more power in application by hosting it in few different IIS and get request by load balancer and scale up vertically by adding more resources to the existing VM/Instance like CPU, memory etc. Web Role is useful for this task
    2. Worker Role: Web Role is generally used to host the web application and make it available for the user, it shouldn’t be use for long running task like some heavy aggregation, heavy report creating and many more. to decouple front-end from web role, worker role is introduced to perform heavy wait task. You can consider it as Windows Service or a Unix Daemon.
    3. VM Role: VM Role is recent advancement in the Windows Azure Platform which enables you to run a virtual hard disk (VHD) image of Windows Server on the Windows Azure Platform. You can create a VHD file
      on premises and then upload it to the Windows Azure Platform. The VM Role is unique in a sense
      that it allows you to perform a great number of customizations at the operating system level.
  • Storage:
    1. Table: Table Storage object serves as a regular table of SQL Server the only thing is, it won’t allow you to established relationship between two tables and hence it is known as NoSQL.
    2. Blob: Binary Large OBject (BLOB) is used to serve the purpose of storing image, files, audio, video and any unstructured data. This data can be accessed by HTTP or HTTPS from anywhere in the world.
    3. Queue: Windows Azure Queue storage is a service for storing large numbers of messages that can be accessed from anywhere in the world via authenticated calls using HTTP or HTTPS. A single queue message can be up to 64KB in size.

SQL Azure:

SQL Azure is a cloud based relational database management system. It provides a highly available, scalable, multi-tenant database service.

  • Data Synchronization: Microsoft SQL Data Sync is built upon the Microsoft Sync Framework. SQL Data Sync enables you to easily create and schedule bi-directional synchronizations from within the SQL Data Sync web site without the need to write a single line of code. SQL Data Sync supports synchronizations between multiple Windows Azure SQL databases and between SQL Server and SQL databases so you can create custom synchronization groups that fit your business requirements.

App Fabric:

App Fabric is any n-tier .NET application that spans the web, middle, and data tiers, composes with external services, and is inherently written to the cloud architecture for scale and availability

  • Access Control: Access Control is great step take in Windows Azure which separate identity and access control from the application development process.Access control is provided as a feature of Windows Azure and it takes care of integrating your application with commonly used identity providers like Active Directory, Windows Live, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Service Bus: Service Bus is messaging infrastructure that sits between applications allowing them to exchange messages in a loosely coupled way for improved scale. The Service Bus provides both “relayed” and “brokered” messaging capabilities. In the relayed messaging pattern, the relay service supports direct one-way messaging, request/response messaging, and peer-to-peer messaging. Brokered messaging provides durable, asynchronous messaging components such as Queues, Topics, and Subscriptions, with features that support publish-subscribe and temporal decoupling: senders and receivers do not have to be online at the same time; the messaging infrastructure reliably stores messages until the receiving party is ready to receive them.
  • Caching: Caching service provided by Microsoft Azure is a distributed in-memory cache for Azure applications. This gives developers an alternative to the disk based caching. Developers can utilize the caching service to store data based on an individual user session or to store and share data across the applications.

Data Market:

  • Windows Data Market: Microsoft provides IaaS and PaaS but it is not enough. May user/business needs readily available software which they can use as a service (SaaS) with windows cloud. To cater the need, Microsoft has launched “Windows Azure Marketplace” which is online market place where you can sell or buy software.

Reference: Ritesh Shah

Quick Learn

Note: Microsoft Books online is a default reference of all articles but examples and explanations

What is Cloud Computing ?

What is Cloud Computing  ?

Well, I have received the question “What is SQL Azure?” many times in an email and in IT events I go. I generally write blog about SQL Server but I have not written anything about SQL Azure so far. Before I actually answer What the SQL Azure is, I have to explain a small bit about “Cloud” first.

“CLOUD” is one of the booming words in IT industry since last 5 years. Cloud computing is still growing very fast, even beyond our imagination.

Basically to setup IT infrastructure, any company would need:

  • Computers with Operating system (Server and/or desktop)
  • Software to install on top of Operating system, to cater the need of users, such as Exchange Server, MS Office, Share Point, SQL Server, IIS etc.
  • Highly scalable Network/Internet

Provided list of software is just to give an understanding to the readers otherwise this list can easily grows up long & long.

To setup this IT environment, company has to pay a lot for hardware and software licensing. Even after establishing IT infrastructure or website, whenever company grows, it needs to keep changing the infrastructure based on the growing needs of business and again company has to pay up-front for all these requirement whereas, in cloud you don’t need to worry about, you can increase or decrease capacity of whatever infrastructure / software you are using and have to pay for only what you are really using.  Apart from this, you don’t need to employ staff to maintain this infrastructure even you will get 99.9% up time monthly SLA from almost all the major cloud service provider.

Now, question comes to your mind that how they provide Operating system along with software we need? This is really very valid question and the answer will laid down in the following paragraph.

Cloud computing comes in several different categories and you have to choose what exactly suits your need, some of the popular categories of cloud are defined here:

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

These are three very popular services, out of few more, that cloud service provider provides.

Cloud Architecture

Cloud Architecture

Platform as a Service (PaaS): As name suggest, this service provides you a platform where you can host your application without worrying about Hardware, Operating System, Performance of Operating system, update SPs and other patches to Operating system. Microsoft provides “Microsoft Windows Azure” as a PaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS): Iaas basically cater your needs related to networking, load balancing, security, firewalls and much more as long as Infrastructure concerns.

Software as a Sercvice (SaaS): As name describes, this model provides a complete leverage of cloud where you can get SaaS software enabled in your cloud space along with utilization of IaaS and PaaS. You may have CRM, E-Commerce application, Exchange Server, Lync Server, Share Point, Office Professional and many more. In SaaS model, you can even get support of programming framework like .NET, JAVA, PHP to cater the need of your own customized application. You can also ensure that you get relational database support, if needed, in form of SQL Azure.

Hope this makes your concept clear about Cloud Computing.

Images used in this article were taken from “Wikipedia

Reference: Ritesh Shah

Quick Learn

Note: Microsoft Books online is a default reference of all articles but examples and explanations