Azure Cloud Services & Terminology: An Overview

Azure Cloud is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform, providing a wide range of services, including those for computing, analytics, storage, and networking. Users can choose and configure these services to meet their specific needs.

In this blog, we will discuss the essential Azure cloud services and key concept and terminology.

Azure Cloud Services

  1. Compute Services: These include virtual machines (VMs), container services, and serverless computing. E.g. – Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), and Azure Functions.
  2. Storage Services: Azure offers scalable and durable cloud storage options. This includes Blob Storage (object storage), Azure Files (managed file shares), and Azure Data Lake Storage (big data analytics).
  3. Database Services: Azure provides various database services like Azure SQL Database, Azure Cosmos DB (a globally distributed, multi-model database service), and Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL.
  4. Networking: Azure’s networking capabilities include virtual networks, load balancers, and content delivery networks (CDNs). Azure Virtual Network allows users to create isolated networks and subnets within Azure.
  5. AI and Machine Learning: Azure AI services include pre-built APIs, such as Cognitive Services, as well as tools for building custom machine learning models using Azure Machine Learning.
  6. Analytics: Services like Azure Synapse Analytics, Azure Data Factory, and Azure Stream Analytics help process and analyze large volumes of data in real time.
  7. DevOps: Azure supports DevOps practices with services like Azure DevOps (providing CI/CD pipelines), Azure DevTest Labs, and integration with popular tools like GitHub.
  8. Security and Identity: Azure offers a range of security services including Azure Active Directory (identity and access management), Azure Key Vault (secure key management), and Azure Security Center.
  9. Management and Governance: Tools like Azure Resource Manager, Azure Policy, and Azure Cost Management help users manage their resources efficiently and ensure compliance with organizational policies.
  10. Internet of Things (IoT): Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Central provide platforms for building, managing, and monitoring IoT applications.

Azure Cloud Terminology

1. Azure Virtual Machines (VMs)

  • Overview: On-demand, scalable computing resources provided by Azure.
  • Key Concepts: VM sizes, images, disks, virtual networks.

2. Azure Blob Storage

  • Overview: Object storage service for unstructured data.
  • Key Concepts: Containers, blobs, storage tiers (hot, cool, archive), access tiers.

3. Azure SQL Database

  • Overview: Fully managed relational database service.
  • Key Concepts: Databases, elastic pools, managed instances, T-SQL.

4. Azure Virtual Network (VNet)

  • Overview: Isolated network within Azure.
  • Key Concepts: Subnets, network security groups (NSGs), VPN gateway, Azure DNS.

5. Azure Functions

  • Overview: Serverless compute service.
  • Key Concepts: Functions, triggers, bindings, serverless architecture.

6. Azure CDN (Content Delivery Network)

  • Overview: Global network for delivering high-bandwidth content.
  • Key Concepts: Endpoints, origins, edge nodes, caching.

7. Azure Active Directory (AAD)

  • Overview: Identity and access management service.
  • Key Concepts: Users, groups, applications, roles, conditional access.

8. Azure Service Bus

  • Overview: Managed message queuing service.
  • Key Concepts: Queues, topics, subscriptions, message brokers.

9. Azure DevOps

  • Overview: Integrated suite for development, deployment, and collaboration.
  • Key Concepts: Boards, Repos, Pipelines, Artifacts, Test Plans.

10. Azure Resource Manager (ARM)

  • Overview: Deployment and management service for Azure resources.
  • Key Concepts: Resource groups, templates (ARM templates), deployments, tags.

11. Azure Monitor

  • Overview: Comprehensive solution for collecting, analyzing, and acting on telemetry data from Azure and on-premises environments.
  • Key Concepts: Metrics, logs, alerts, dashboards, Application Insights.

12. Azure Autoscale

  • Overview: Automatically adjusts resources based on demand or a defined schedule.
  • Key Concepts: Autoscale rules, scale sets, metrics, instance limits.

13. Azure Key Vault

  • Overview: Securely store and manage sensitive information such as keys, certificates, and secrets.
  • Key Concepts: Secrets, keys, certificates, access policies, soft delete.

14. Azure App Service

  • Overview: Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for building, deploying, and scaling web and mobile applications.
  • Key Concepts: Web Apps, Mobile Apps, API Apps, App Service Environment (ASE).

15. Azure Data Lake

  • Overview: Scalable data storage and analytics service.
  • Key Concepts: Data Lake Store, Data Lake Analytics, U-SQL, hierarchical namespace.

16. Azure Cosmos DB

  • Overview: Globally distributed, multi-model database service.
  • Key Concepts: Databases, containers, partitioning, consistency levels, SQL API, MongoDB API, Cassandra API.

17. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

  • Overview: Managed Kubernetes container orchestration service.
  • Key Concepts: Clusters, nodes, pods, containers, Helm charts.

18. Azure IoT Hub

  • Overview: Managed service for connecting, monitoring, and managing IoT devices.
  • Key Concepts: Devices, device twins, messaging, IoT Edge.

Related: AWS Lambda vs Azure Functions vs Google Cloud Functions: Serverless Showdown

19. Azure Synapse Analytics

  • Overview: Analytics service that brings together big data and data warehousing.
  • Key Concepts: Data integration, data warehousing, big data analytics, SQL pools, Spark pools.

20. Azure Active Directory B2C

  • Overview: Identity management for customer-facing applications.
  • Key Concepts: User flows, identity providers, custom policies, multi-factor authentication (MFA).

21. Azure Databricks

  • Overview: Unified analytics platform for big data and machine learning.
  • Key Concepts: Notebooks, clusters, jobs, Delta Lake.

22. Azure Bastion

  • Overview: Fully managed PaaS service providing secure and seamless RDP and SSH access to virtual machines directly through the Azure Portal.
  • Key Concepts: Secure access, RDP, SSH, management without public IP.

23. Azure Cognitive Services

  • Overview: APIs and services enabling AI capabilities without needing deep data science expertise.
  • Key Concepts: Vision, Speech, Language, Decision, Search APIs.

24. Azure Logic Apps

  • Overview: Automate workflows and integrate apps, data, systems, and services across enterprises and organizations.
  • Key Concepts: Connectors, triggers, actions, workflows.

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