How does Azure fit into my hack?

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!

Azure Web Apps allows you to create websites based on all sorts of different technologies including: NodeJS, PHP, Java, Python, .NET, WordPress, and more. Deploy from Git or Visual Studio

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals: Websites

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals: Websites

Spin up a Virtual Machine

Don’t have what you need on your laptop? Spin up a virtual machine on Azure!

Azure VMs support Linux, Windows and more. Within seconds, you can have a 20 core Ubuntu 15.04 server up configured to host a Minecraft server or Node.js.

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.

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals: Virtual Machines

Bob Tabor Microsoft Virtual Academy

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.

You can also re-use machine learning experiments published by others such as Bing Voice recognition in the Azure marketplace.

Check out these tutorials and instructions to get started

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.

To learn more, check out these Azure Search tutorials for JavaScript, Java, .NET and PHP.

Adding Microsoft Azure Search to your Websites

Adding Microsoft Azure Search to Your Websites and Apps

Store Data

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.

Related Video courses: Open Source Database on Microsoft Azure, MongoDB Jump Start, Windows Azure SQL Database

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.

Instructions for activating your Azure pass

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.

Instructions to activate your DreamSpark Azure benefits

Happy Hacking and Good Luck from the team at Microsoft

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