Azure offers a wide assortment of Software as a service, Platform as a service, and Infrastructure as a service solutions. But how does that translate into helping you hack? Here’s a few easy ways to leverage Azure in your hack and instructions on how to get access to Azure.
Host a website
Exposing your hack through a website is a great way to make sure the judges can easily try your hack. Just share the hyperlink and let the users explore!
Spin up a Virtual Machine
Don’t have what you need on your laptop? Spin up a virtual machine on Azure!
For quick instructions on spinning up an Azure VM, take a look at this tutorial. For free Linux + FreeBSD VM images, check out VM Depot. To see all licensed VM images, check out the Azure VM Marketplace.
Make predictions with Machine Learning
Hack an app that predicts whether your favorite hockey team will win their next hockey game, whether a flight will be late, or what product a customer is most likely to purchase. If you have the data to analyze, machine learning will allow you to make predictions. With Azure Machine Learning Studio you use pre-built algorithms (or your own) to analyze data and find the patterns. Once you have trained a model, ML Studio helps you deploy it as a web service that can easily be called from your app or website.
Check out these tutorials and instructions to get started
- Step by step how to create your first machine learning experiment and deploy it as a web service
- Learn to use Machine Learning to predict titanic survivors Part 1 Part 2
- Kaggle contains some fun datasets you can use for your hack
- Predict automobile prices tutorial
- Credit risk assessment tutorial
- How to interpret model results
- Create and deploy an Azure ML web service
Related Video courses: Getting started with Microsoft Azure Machine Learning
Add powerful search capabilities
Need to add search to your app or website? Want to provide autocorrrect, suggestions, categorization. Do you have time to do all that in a hackathon?
Using Azure search, you can handle spelling mistakes, near-instantaneous responses, multiple languages, faceting, and more. Azure Search is accessed through REST API calls.
Need to store something? Azure provides relational databases, document stores and key-value stores you can access from your code: MongoDB, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Database, Oracle DB, Redis, DocumentDB.
How do I get Azure access?
There are a few options to get access to Azure
1. Find a Microsoft representative at the hackathon, they have Azure passes (no credit card required) you can use during the hackathon.
2. Can’t find a Microsoft representative? Sign up for a free trial.
3. Certain Azure services are available free to students through DreamSpark. The features available are more limited, but you will continue to have access to these features as long as you are a student unlike the passes and free trials which typically expire after 30 days.