What is Microsoft Azure and How Does It Work and services?

Microsoft Azure is one of the leading cloud platforms in the world. About 95% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies use Azure as a part of their cloud computing solutions. Microsoft Azure is a fully-functional cloud computing platform which costs about 1/5th what AWS would charge for Windows and SQL servers. 

Many businesses and managers are still looking to adopt Azure and asking questions about how it works, its scope in cloud computing applications and how to choose a cloud provider. Before answering ‘What is Microsoft Azure?’ you should know what cloud computing encompasses, how it’s grown and why Azure is the world’s fastest-growing cloud platform. 

In October 2008, Microsoft announced the arrival of Azure and released it to the world in February 2010. It was first called Windows Azure, then renamed Microsoft Azure in March 2015. Today, a little over a decade later, Microsoft Azure has been adopted in 140 countries and continues to grow exponentially. 

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is a relatively new technology designed to allow access to several computing resources and data using the internet without any hardware restrictions. As long as your mobile device or computer system is connected to a cloud platform via the internet, you can access computing resources and public data such as Virtual Machines, serverless computing, storage platforms and more. 

A cloud service provider has large data centres containing hundreds or thousands of storage systems, servers and other components critical to the workflows of large and small organisations. Data centres are usually located in secure units and can accommodate large volumes of data. As a user, you can connect to any data centre to gather data or use it as and when you need to. You can access and leverage a wide range of services using cloud computing. For instance, if you wish to receive a notification whenever someone texts you or sends an email, cloud platforms make that happen. Interestingly, cloud platforms have flexible payment models. You need to pay minimal upfront charges and only pay for services that you use. 

Cloud computing has a wide range of applications in the IT industry today. It empowers and enables other technologies such as storage, backup, Machine Learning, media content streaming, data analysis and many others. A more realistic application of cloud computing is Netflix. All the movies that you access via Netflix or any other content streaming platform are stored on the cloud platform for easy access. Additionally, cloud systems also help create and test applications, host blogs and automate software delivery.

Importance of Cloud Computing:

Let’s go ahead assuming that a business has a new idea that can significantly improve the user experience and increase productivity. To make this app a success, you must announce and drop it digitally to increase awareness and conversions. However, launching or rolling out new applications using the internet is not as straightforward as it looks.

Creating and launching an application requires several components and skills such as developers, application security, dedicated networks, servers and storage devices. Each of these applications will ensure the new solution works as you want it to. However, putting together all these components is a hectic process which could mean the new application never gets made.  

Purchasing each component individually is a risky and expensive process. Large volumes of capital go into buying every component and there’s still a chance your application won’t become a commercial success. In this case, you will lose your entire investment. Meanwhile, if your solution does succeed, it will mean buying even more components such as storage or servers to accommodate more users which could once again increase your costs.

Cloud computing is a single platform that can solve all the problems associated with gathering components to create and scale solutions. 

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What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft Azure is one of the world’s leading cloud computing platforms. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

  • Azure was launched about 4 years after AWS, one of its main competitors. Even so, it is the world’s fastest-growing cloud platform today. 
  • Azure lets you start using it for free, meaning zero upfront charges. Going forward, you only need to pay for services that you use.
  • It is the world’s second most widely used cloud platform after AWS but is quickly catching up.
  • Microsoft Azure supports a wide range of programming languages such as Node JS, Java and C#.
  • Azure has 42 data centres of its own across the world, the largest number for any platform. Microsoft has also announced plans to get twelve more soon, which will take the total up to 54.

Types of Azure Cloud Services and How They Work:

Azure offers over 200 types of services which it classifies into 18 categories. This includes networking, computing, IoT, storage, mobile, analytics, migration, artificial intelligence, containers, integration, machine learning, developer tools, management tools, databases, security, media identity, web services and DevOps.

Some of the top Azure services by category are as follows:


Virtual Machine:

This allows users to create virtual systems in systems using Linux, Windows or any other OS within seconds.

Cloud Service:

This allows you to create scalable applications in the cloud. Once deployed, Azure takes care of all application requirements such as load balancing, health monitoring and provisioning. 

Service Fabric:

A microservice refers to any application containing smaller applications as a bundle within itself. Service fabric significantly simplifies the process of microservice development. 


This allows you to make applications using any programming language. What makes this service a good option is that no hardware restrictions apply while using it to develop an application. Users must simply provide the necessary code and Azure takes care of the rest. 

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Azure CDN:

​Azure Content Delivery Network or CDN helps deliver content to users. CDN has a higher bandwidth to transfer content to anyone in any part of the world. CDN uses a server network strategically located across the world to allow users access to data at any time. 

Express Route:

Using Express Route you can connect an on-premise network to the Microsoft cloud as well as any service it offers using a private connection. Thus, the only communications that take place here are between enterprise networks and the services you wish to use. 

Virtual Network:

This allows users to make any Azure service communicate with the other securely and privately. 

Azure DNS:

This lets you host your system or DNS domains on Microsoft Azure. 


Disk Storage:

This lets you choose your Solid State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) as the main storage option with your VM.

Blob Storage:

This service is optimised for unstructured data storage in large volumes which includes both text and binary data.

File Storage:

File Storage is a managed service that you can access using the industry server message block (SMB) protocol. 

Queue Storage:

This allows you to stably ques messages for large workloads. You can access this service remotely from any part of the world.

Features of Microsoft Azure:

1. Disaster Recovery:

Azure stores data in various geographical locations instead of a single physical system or server. This secures data during times of crisis. Even if a single location is damaged or harmed, the data cannot be destroyed since it is stored safely in another location. Once the crisis is averted, the data can be recovered from alternate locations. 

2. Security:

Microsoft Azure is always providing new updates, which makes it more secure every time. The Security Development Lifecycle ensures that each phase of development is secure.

3. Flexibility: 

With Microsoft Azure, your storage capacity can scale up or down as and when required. Among the most recent updates from Azure, Microsoft enabled increased flexibility when it came to virtual machine size. These instances help reduce the overall cost of cloud computing. 

4. Cost: 

Using physical hardware to deploy applications is a costly affair. For a new business owner or application developer, it could cost a significant part of their initial investment capital. Hiring and training people to work with this hardware also requires additional resources and plenty of time. Besides, the level of competition in the world is also rising steadily. This means if you take too long to deliver your final application, losses are going to be huge. Azure solves all problems related to physical resources and hardware with its cost-effective plans and pay-as-you-go model. 

Azure Pricing:

Azure offers pricing models that suit every business type. You can choose from the following three payment models for your business:

  1. Pay As You Go
  2. Low Priority VM or Spot Pricing
  3. Azure Reserved Instances

Take a look at what these plans entail in more detail.

1. Pay As You Go: This payment model is quite simple and self-explanatory. You only need to pay for the services you use instead of an overpriced bundle of too many services. For instance, consider that you used a machine with 64GB RAM and 8-core CPU for only 45 minutes. When you are billed, you don’t need to pay for the entire hour. Adding to this, the cost of using such a machine can be as low as Rs.61 or about $0.8 per hour. 

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2. Low Priority: VM or Spot Pricing: By using this model, users can avail of up to 70% off on standard Azure service prices. Azure has several servers available for use. If there is low demand, the servers remain idle. You can get machines and servers for as low as $0.2 per hour. However, it’s called the low-priority VM model for a reason. Whenever the demand increases for these servers, Azure can take them from you. Suppose someone bids a higher rate per hour for the same server. Azure will take that server from you and give it to them. Spot Pricing is the perfect model if you have non-urgent tasks that need processing.

3. Azure Reserved Instances: The Reserved Instances payment model also helps users avail of up to 70% off on Azure service prices. In contrast to the Low Priority VM model, Reserved Instances is mostly used for urgent workloads that need constant processing. You need to commit to a cloud service that you will use for two years (for example). Looking at the commitment period, Microsoft Azure provides a discount varying based on your commitment period. The only drawback is you cannot cancel your plan mid-term. After you commit to a fixed period, you are charged for the same. You will have to pay the full amount even if you don’t use the servers. 

Pricing Options for Leading MS Azure Services:

Component Price (in dollars) Free Services
App Service 0.01336/hour First 12 months free
Virtual Machines 0.01118/hour First 12 months free
SQL Databases 0.02081/hour First 12 months free with 250 GB
Blob 0.01895/GB First 12 months free with 5 GB
Azure Container Service 0.01118/hour First 12 months free
Functions 0.2053/1 million executions Always 1 million requests/month per month

With such a wide range of pricing plans, cost-effective solutions and innovative offerings that are constantly upgraded, Microsoft Azure is a highly promising career domain. With that in mind, take a look at some of the top Microsoft Azure job opportunities and the salaries they pay. 

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Azure Job Roles and Salaries:

  • The average Azure Architect earns about Rs.30,46,000 - 33,27,000 per annum.
  • The basic salary for Cloud Developers ranges between Rs. 20,00,000 - 30,00,000 per annum.
  • An Azure Administrator can earn an average annual salary of about Rs.12,00,000 - 19,00,000 per annum.
  • Today, there are over 16,000 job openings for Microsoft Azure roles in the world. In India alone, there are over 5,000 roles available. With more and more enterprises shifting to a cloud-based service model, the demand and job roles will only increase. 

Getting a Microsoft Azure cloud professional certification is a great way to future-proof your career and increase your earning opportunities. Give your career the boost it deserves and enrol in an Azure training course on Koenig today.

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Armin Vans
Archer Charles has top education industry knowledge with 4 years of experience. Being a passionate blogger also does blogging on the technology niche.



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