Azure is a cloud based operating system from Microsoft. Azure is the name of a color, a blue color in the HSV space hued between the colors blue and cyan. Azure is actually a system that runs over the internet from the Microsoft’s data hosting centers for the Azure Services Platform. Currently Azure is mainly aimed for web developers. Azure will help the Developers to manage and distribute Web Applications on the Internet through Microsoft’s own data centers.
Azure enables developers to develop applications with their skill in Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET framework and test, deploy or monetize them. But Azure welcomes third party tools and languages like Ruby, Eclipse, Python and PHP too. Microsoft plans to add new programming languages in near future. Azure includes elements of Windows Server 2008 and also its subsystems. Azure will support multiple internet protocols including HTTP, REST, SOAP and XML.
Azure’s scalable platform and rich development environment enables developers to focus best on what they do without worrying about the operational constraints. This is possible because of Azure Fabric Controller which is actually a scalable hosting environment built on Microsoft’s Data Centers. It enables developers to scale applications and manage resources and upscale or downscale the services seamlessly as per the demands.
Azure Services Platform: Azure services platform is a combination of Azure, the infrastructure services layer and the online applications layer. Azure Services Platform includes Microsoft SQL services, Live Services, Microsoft Sharepoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services.
Microsoft SQL Services: It aims at extending the SQL server capabilities to the cloud as web-based services. They will deliver integrated services to perform rational queries, search reporting, analytics etc.
Live Services: It is a set of building blocks within the Azure Services Platform for handling user data and application resources. You can also see what others have created using Live Services with the Mashups Library. Live Services Quick Applications offer customizable solutions for specific scenarios.
Microsoft Sharepoint Services: These are used as the building blocks for the applications by the developers familiar with tools like Visual Studio.
Microsoft Dynamic CRM Services: With the skills in tools like Visual Studio, developers will be able to build applications that use Microsoft Dynamics CRM.