Technology Primers for Cloud Services

Cloud Services are just one of Azure’s compute models. Think of a ‘compute model’ as the motor of a vehicle. Every type of powered transportation needs an engine to roll, fly, or sail. In the same way, every Azure app needs an engine to process data and perform tasks. But the motor is specialized to the vehicle’s demands. A compute model serves computing power in one way or another, but is optimized for different service types.

Azure has four compute models, each optimized for different uses:

· Websites: these are designed for only one purpose—to serve websites by executing server-side code such as PHP, ASP.NET, Python, and node.js (along with SQL for databases). You only worry about the website code—not the system that it runs on.

· Virtual Machines: Virtual Machines include nearly everything that a hardware-based system contains—an operating system and virtual disk space, in addition to the virtualized processing power. Like a real machine, you are responsible for installing software and keeping the system patched.

· Mobile Services: a mobile service is a turnkey backend for a mobile or other connected client app. It provides infrastructure for server-side storage, user authentication, and handles push notifications. A single mobile service is often used to coordinate app activities across client platforms like Windows, Android, iOS, and HTML.

· Cloud Services: Cloud services are made of “roles” which are like VMs, in having a system and small virtual hard disk. They have one bonus: you do not have to maintain the operating system. The downside is that any role can go down without warning. Therefore, it is best to code these as stateless entities—with no knowledge of what happened before or what will happen later. Roles should be autonomous and ready to immediately resume the task at hand whenever they start. They are called ‘roles’ because they are adapted to specific kinds of tasks. A web role is built to communicate on the web using IIS to serve websites or web services. In contrast, a worker role only runs the methods of the application—it is a VM dedicated to computing without the overhead of IIS.

Understanding the Opportunity of Cloud

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