Azure, as Explained by Christian Beauclair

Christian Beauclair

My coworker Christian Beauclair, Senior Developer Evangelist, did an interview with IT in Canada about Azure, its parts and some development patterns for Azure that fit many business scenarios.

For those of you not familiar with Azure, it’s Microsoft’s cloud computing platform made up of three parts:

  • Windows Azure, the operating system in the cloud where your applications run
  • SQL Azure, the database engine in the cloud where your data lives, and
  • AppFabric, which connects cloud, hosted and on-premises services together.

As for the Azure development patterns that fit common business scenarios, they are:

  • Transparence: Simply moving applications and data from servers to the cloud. The benefits are cost savings, not having to manage servers, cost-effective scaling and opportunities to prototype without having to invest in additional hardware and software.
  • Scale-in multi-tenancy: On-the-fly scaling by creating new Azure instances when demand increases. It’s hard to predict what demand for an online service will be; this “just in time” approach does an end run around having to make such forecasts and purchases based on them.
  • Burst compute: This is scaling based on known peak periods, such as the Christmas rush for retailers or the Superbowl for pizza delivery. A cloud-based system like Azure lets you acquire more server capacity during those known peak periods and release them once the peak period is over.
  • Elastic storage: This is data scaling – you can use Azure to extend your storage instead of purchasing more on-premises disk arrays.
  • Inter-organization communication: Using Azure to host an API to connect to your company’s services or data (which may live in Azure, on some hosted system or on-premises). It’s a good way to provide services to the outside world while keeping your infrastructure manageable.

There’s more in the article, and even more in the interview, which you can either:

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.