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Microsoft Azure

Product
Developers: Microsoft
Last Release Date: June, 2019
Technology: IaaS - Infrastructure as service,  PaaS - Platform As A Service - the Business platform as service,  Internet of Things of Internet of Things (IoT)

Content

Microsoft Azure is one of cloud platforms which combines as the solution of computing infrastructure IaaS (servers, data warehouses, networks, operating systems), and tool kit and the services facilitating development and deployment of cloud applicaions (PaaS). All this gives to developers the chance to create, develop and operate quickly large-scale applications for satisfaction of requirements of the specific organizations. Microsoft Azure services allow customers to avoid difficulties and additional costs connected with replacement of the existing equipment, management of a core infrastructure and, respectively, provide more effective management of IT budgets: customers pay only for those resources which are necessary for them.

Structure of Microsoft Azure

Cloud Ecosystem Poster: Microsoft Azure, Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2

Public services Microsoft Azure Services. Categories of services:

  • providing computing powers in lease (Compute Services),
  • services of storage (Data Services) and
  • services of applications (App Services).

Services for creation of private infrastructures of virtualization based on products of the System Center 2012 R2 family, including such components as:

  • App Controller,
  • Virtual Machine Manager,
  • Operations Manager,
  • Configuration Manager,
  • Service Manager,
  • Orchestrator,
  • Data Protection Manager и
  • Azure Pack.

Сервисы платформы Windows Server 2012 R2, включая следующие технологии и составляющие: Storage Spaces, Data Deduplication, Resilient File System, SMB Transparent Failover, Storage Quality of Service, Generation 2 Virtual Machines, Online VHDX Resize, Enhanced Session Mode, Live Migration, Failover Clustering, Cluster Shared Volumes, Scale-Out File Server, Shared Virtual Hard Disks, Hyper-V Extensible Switch, Remote Desktop Services, SMB Direct, SMB Multi-channel и NICTeaming.

The PaaS-architecture from Microsoft Azure consists of several components:

  • Windows Azure is the program intended for deployment and management of services, processing and the scaled data storage, the organization of network, provides a possibility of elastic calculations;
  • instrument of work with databases and reporting of Microsoft SQL Services;
  • Microsoft.NET Services - service implementation of the. net Framework components;
  • Microsoft Live Services is a set of services for work with documents. Provides storage, distribution and synchronization of documents, photos and other files between computers, phones, applications and websites;
  • Microsoft SharePoint Services is a set of services for joint work over projects;
  • [[Microsoft Dynamics CRM]] Services is services for management of business information and customer relations.

As cloud applicaions are demanded, as a rule, by creations of the systems integrating several virtual machines and different services at architecture from Microsoft there is an Azure AppFabric component which is responsible for planning, selection of resources, device management and fault tolerance and also additional tools for monitoring and control.

Services of advanced analytics Microsoft Azure PIC
Services of advanced analytics Microsoft Azure PIC

Appointment and possibilities of Microsoft Azure

Basic purpose of Microsoft Azure – a possibility of rapid development of web services and web applications. For this purpose Windows Azure will undertake the solution of such tasks as data storage, information search, labor-consuming calculations, etc. while web developer will need only to execute requests to Windows Azure.

For a possibility of interaction with a system a large number of protocols, such as is provided: HTTP SOAP REST and XML. Microsoft Azure is the open platform therefore supports third-party languages, such as Eclipse Ruby, PHP and Python, also supports Windows.NET Framework and Visual Studio.

For resource support of the platform servers of Microsoft will be used worldwide. The increased performance of work and reliability (as well as in cluster systems) the web applications working with Windows Azure will be result of use of such scheme. Microsoft will begin provision of services on a hosting of the distributed projects working based on Windows Azure, offering disk space and computing powers of the servers and also a new system in service quality on a subscription.

At start it was supposed that the companies of small and medium business which due to transfer of applications in "cloud" will be able to save on hardware equipment of the data centers and services of specialists will become the main subscribers of the services provided based on Windows Azure.

Prices of Microsoft Azure services

Main article: Prices of Microsoft Azure services

Chronology of development of service

2019

Microsoft and OpenAI will develop supercomputer technologies based on AI for Azure

On July 23, 2019 it became known that the Microsoft company invests $1 billion in the OpenAI non-profit organization which is based in San Francisco. The parties concluded long-term partnership on development of supercomputer technologies based on artificial intelligence for a cloud service of Microsoft Azure. Read more here.

Linux is become more popular by Windows Server with users of Azure

At the end of June, 2019 it became known that became of Linux more popular operating system, than Windows Server, among users there is Azure. The Microsoft company realizes high demand on Linux and aims to develop the corresponding projects.

Sasha Levin who is responsible for development of a kernel of Microsoft Linux announced this superiority to the ZDNet edition.

Became of Linux more popular operating system, than Windows Server, among users there is Azure
Became of Linux more popular operating system, than Windows Server, among users there is Azure

According to analysts of IDC, Linux share among OS used in corporate servers and the cloud systems in 2017 reached 68%.

The executive vice president of division of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group Scott Guthrie noted that not only clients of Azure  pass to Linux. 

«
The built-in services Azure often work in Linux. Microsoft creates most of these services. For example, the software-defined network (SDN) in Azure is based on Linux — he reported.
»

According to Guthrie, Microsoft is sure that the open source software the developer can bring benefit to everyone.

«
It is not just the code, that community. Now we are the largest supporter of projects open source in the world — he said.
»

Microsoft submitted the application for inclusion of the company in the closed list of Linux developers which includes Canonical, Debian, Red Hat, SUSE and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

These companies exchange data on uncorrected vulnerabilities before their publication and discuss possible methods of elimination. On introduction of offers on methods of correction of vulnerabilities 7-14 days are allotted to participants of discussion, and after this term information becomes public.

According to Sasha Levin, Microsoft for many years caused a stir in competent elimination of security concerns that allowed it to get serious experience in identification and elimination of vulnerabilities.[1]

Integration with cloud infrastructure of Oracle

On June 5, 2019 Microsoft and Oracle announced close integration of the cloud services. With this cooperation of the company aim to attract more large customers and to resist to Amazon, leading in the cloud market.

One of conditions of partnership assumes the organization of direct high-speed link between data centers of Oracle and Microsoft. At first such connection will be received by DPCs in the east of the USA, and then it will extend to other regions.

Microsoft and Oracle integrated the cloud services, having declared war of Amazon
Microsoft and Oracle integrated the cloud services, having declared war of Amazon

Clients of Microsoft Azure and Oracle Cloud will be able to undergo authorization, using one account and also to exchange data and to get support from both vendors. Analytical, AI - and other cloud services of Microsoft will be able to be connected to the products Oracle Cloud, such as Autonomous Database.

Besides, users will have an opportunity to unroll cloud computing, the including solutions of Oracle (for example, JD Edwards Enterprise One, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Oracle Retail and Oracle Hyperion) and Microsoft DBMS started in infrastructure of Azure and/or Oracle Cloud.

According to the executive vice president of division of Microsoft Cloud and AI Scott Guthrie, cooperation with Oracle became "the best solution" as it will help clients to transfer quicker the corporate applications and databases to a public cloud.

The head of the analytical agency Amalgam Insights Nyun the Park (Hyoun Park) says that thanks to the agreement it will become easier for companies which only begin to use Azure or Oracle Cloud to carry out data backup in a cloud and to separate workflows between development teams which can have different preferences in the choice of cloud infrastructures.

According to analysts of Gartner, this cloud alliance became explicit "blow" to Amazon, especially from Oracle which does not hide that it considers Amazon by the competitor in the market of DBMS.[2]

Sarafan.AI is available in Microsoft Azure cloud

On March 14, 2019 Microsoft reported that widgets of native advertizing from Sarafan Technology Inc company. became available to all participants of a cloud ecosystem of Microsoft on the AppSource and Azure Marketplace platforms. Read more here.

Announcement of Microsoft Azure Sentinel

On March 1, 2019 Microsoft presented the solution for business information security support. The solution Microsoft Azure Sentinel is created for operational detection and prevention of a broad spectrum of cyberthreats.

Microsoft Azure Sentinel

Microsoft Azure Sentinel service – the SIEM system which is completely integrated into a cloud platform by Azure. It allows to automate routine tasks of specialists in cyber security, having released their time for the solution of priority questions. Besides, use of artificial intelligence technologies (AI) allows to lower Alert Fatigue (slow reaction of experts at too large number of alarms) to 90%.

Service provides protection of all organization, detecting and preventing threats before they do harm. Azure Sentinel uses unlimited computing powers and scalability of a cloud of Microsoft Azure for a guarantee of the high level of security. The solution also collects, integrates and analyzes information from all enterprise – including data from users, applications and infrastructure as locally, and in several clouds. Service combines analytical examination of specialists of Microsoft and functionality of AI with special data and skills of own staff of the organization. All this allows to detect cyber attacks of high category of complexity before they deeply get into a system. The first users of the solution confirmed that it reduces time of detection of cyberthreats from several to several o'clock seconds.

Azure Sentinel supports open standards, for example, of CEF and also has the wide partner network including members of Microsoft Intelligent Security Association, such as Cisco, Symantec, Fortinet, Palo Alto. The solution also allows employees to enter own analytical data into the system and to interact with wide community of specialists in the field of cyber security.

The announcement of integration of Microsoft Azure IoT Hub with SAP Leonardo IoT

On February 28, 2019 SAP SE provided SAP Leonardo Internet of Things technology for digital transformation in the field of industrial Internet of Things and the industry 4.0. A system will be an integirovana with Microsoft Azure IoT Hub for additional connectivities and control of different devices. Read more here.

Direct sale of Azure services

In January, 2019 Microsoft decided to sell independently cloud services of Azure to clients in the sector of medium and small business (SMB). Thus, the American corporation can take away the most part of sales from partners who actively work at this market.

According to the message of software giant, since March, 2019, the new method of purchase and product management of Azure directly at Microsoft will work. The innovation "will facilitate licensing process, will make it more effective and simpler".

Microsoft began to sell directly cloud services of Azure to the small companies. A great number of partners stood aside
Microsoft began to sell directly cloud services of Azure to the small companies. A great number of partners stood aside

The new model includes "the optimized digital client agreement with Microsoft (Microsoft Customer Agreement)" which will replace the current purchasing systems through resellers and MSP.

«
It also supports Azure use by our clients using difficult mechanisms of billing and cost management and also complex functions of management of subscriptions and accounts, said in the statement of Microsoft.
»

The list of products and services from Microsoft and third-party producers and also the new "simple" 11-page client agreement of Microsoft will be offered the clients buying Azure directly from the company.

The company promises that partners will play an important role in new model of sales.

«
They will provide further to clients the help at initial stages of use of products, to propose additional services and the differentiated solutions in combination with products and services of Microsoft. Our partners will be a basis, helping our clients to implement innovations and to prosper — added to the companies.
»

Apparently, Microsoft wants to make purchases of Azure services same simple as in a case with Office 365, but some clients, undoubtedly, still need the help in setup and management of cloud services that can complicate deployment and management.[3]

As told TAdviser in Microsoft, direct sale of Azure services does not concern the Russian market. Changes are relevant only for the following countries: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Puerto Rico, Republic of South Africa, Great Britain, USA, France, Germany and other countries of Western Europe.

2018

The number of vacancies of specialists in Microsoft Azure grew by 165.9% in three years

In December, 2018 the portal for job search of Indeed  published a research in which announced fast-growing demand for specialists in cloud computing.

So, by the end of 2018 the quantity of vacancies in which knowledge of Google Cloud is required flew up for 1082% in comparison with an indicator of three-year prescription. In a case with clouds of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure indicators of growth were 107.15% and 165.9% respectively. Read more here.

Joint technology developments and Citrix and Microsoft programs

Citrix and Microsoft announced on October 4, 2018 the project of commercial cooperation and also provided joint technology developments and programs which will help customers when implementing cloud strategy.

Citrix received the status of the supplier of cloud solutions (Microsoft Direct Cloud Service Provider, CSP). It will allow customers to purchase more simply in Azure Marketplace cloud solutions of Citrix Workspace with the licenses Microsoft 365, using functionality of the Azure platform. Thanks to the partnership agreement clients will be able quickly to pass from purchase to a full-fledged work without need to execute a large number of additional transactions. This opportunity will also be available through other service providers of Microsoft who can configure, select a configuration and support solutions for the customers, completely ready to use.

The "Desktop as service" (Desktop-as-a-Service, DaaS) integrated with Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop will become the first joint cloud service. Using this solution customers will be able to purchase and unroll a working virtual table based on the Azure platform in only several hours.

In addition service cooperation of the companies includes integration of Citrix Networking and Citrix Analytics technologies.

For all customers who work based on the Azure platform and use software of Office 365 or are going to move the virtual desktops to cloud environments, Citrix Networking will become the integrated solution providing the high speed of work and a fast investment payback, claim in the company.

Citrix also announced the built-in support of the private zones Azure DNS the solution Application Delivery Controller (ADC) that it allows to solve quickly problems with names of domains of customers. The company became one of the first partners within the Microsoft GA of Azure DNS Private Zones program.

Became Linux the most popular OS in Azure

At the end of September, 2018 Microsoft announced that it became of Linux the most popular operating system in Azure infrastructure.

The executive vice president of division of Cloud and Enterprise Group Scott Guthrie said in ZDNet interview that about 50% of Azure virtual machines are started on distribution kits  of the Linux operating system .

«
However, it depending on day because many of these workloads are elastic. But sometimes happens that slightly more than a half of Azure virtual machines work at Linux — he noted, having added that every month use of Linux increases.
»

and Azure is available not less than eight Linux distribution kits
and Azure is available not less than eight Linux distribution kits

According to him, "native" services Azure often work at Linux, and Microsoft creates more and more such services. Among them, for example — Azure Software Defined Network based on Linux.

The edition notes that became Linux the most popular OS in cloud infrastructure of Microsoft, and return of Windows Server is not expected. Such situation developed not only because of demand of Linux among clients of Azure, but also because of promotion of the open platform of Microsoft.

«
Look at  our parallel release of SQL Server on  Linux. All our projects work at Linux now — Scott Guthrie emphasized.
»

On Azure available not less than eight Linux distribution kits, each of which has full support from the Azure command. What projects are most popular among clients and Microsoft, Guthrie did not specify and only told that Microsoft built up the close relationship with the companies Red Hat, SUSE and Canonical.

The top manager also added that by the end of September, 2018 Microsoft has more than 200 projects on software development open source, and the company became the largest supporter of community Open Source.[4]

The lightning got to data center of Microsoft Azure. Services failed

On September 4, 2018 one of data centers of Microsoft was struck by a lightning. To it led to failure of a part of the equipment and the fact that services of the company ceased to work for some users.

Incident occurred in the DPC of Microsoft located in San Antonio which is responsible for functioning of infrastructure of Azure in the southern and central parts of the USA. Lightning discharge fell on the cooling system of an object and led to voltage surge and temperatures.

In DPC of Microsoft in San Antonio the lightning struck that led to shutdown of the equipment
In DPC of Microsoft in San Antonio the lightning struck that led to shutdown of the equipment
«
In data center the automatic processes providing integrity of data and the equipment were activated, and the crucial hardware passed into the structured mode of the lowered energy consumption — the technical support of Azure on official Twitter blog reported.
»

Because of failure services Office 365, Azure Active Directory also Visual Studio Team Services ceased to work for some users. Besides, complaints to lack of access to services Xbox Live arrived and OneDrive.

In several hours Microsoft announced recovery of availability of storages to most affected services. However, judging by information on the website Azure, problems with access remained at the time of the publication of material (on September 5, 3:50 p.m. Moscow time).

As notes the GeekWire edition, the cooling system is the most important part of modern data center, considering the huge heat created by thousands of servers working at the closed territory. In DPCs of most the cloud companies procedures of an automatic stop of the equipment after sharp temperature increase are provided. They demand restart of the equipment and certain time on work recovery.

According to the expert in resistance to threats of cyber security in Mimecast company Pete Banham, an incident with Azure became the next reminder that the companies need to create independently capacities for data backup, but not to rely on one supplier.[5]

Microsoft turns Azure into the world computer

Cloud computing became one of principal themes of a conference for Microsoft Build 2018 developers which passed from May 7 to May 9 in Seattle (USA). The CEO of the company Satya Nadella said that future applications "will need ubiquitous computing environment — from cloud before boundary calculations" which rely on the technologies connected with events without use of local servers.

«
Azure is under construction as the world computer — Nadella from a scene on Build 2018 said.
»

The head noted that in 2017 Microsoft added about 130 new features in Azure, and in the future will appear even more.

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella

So, algorithms of artificial intelligence Custom Vision entering into a set of services Azure Cognitive Services began to work at the Azure IoT Edge platform that will allow different "smart" devices, from cameras and drones to industrial equipment, to perform analytical operations by own means without the need for connection to a cloud.

During 2018 in Azure IoT Edge more Azure Cognitive services capable to work directly on devices will appear. "Informative" opportunities include visual and speech recognition, language support, communication, search and operating by knowledge.

Microsoft does Azure IoT Edge Runtime Wednesday with the open code, allowing users to modify, configure applications for "smart" devices.

«
It will allow community to expand options of use and to further develop innovations — the executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise direction in Microsoft company Scott Guthrie says. — You can think that you not the developer of Internet of Things, but thanks to growth of cloud and boundary applicaions start of your code on border will become a new norm.[6]
»

Partnership with PTC

On February 6, 2018 PTC announced the conclusion of the partnership agreement of page Microsoft. Are the cornerstone Microsoft Azure IoT of the joint solution also the industrial platform ThingWorx which symbiosis will allow clients of the companies to create products and processes due to connection to different objects Internet of Things, structurization of data, coordination of different business systems and methods of interaction of users based on the mixed reality. For expansion of capacity of these services it is possible to use all solution portfolio of PTC, including Creo also Windchill for design, production and service maintenance and also helmets of the mixed reality Microsoft HoloLens.

2017

Integration with SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud

Corporation Microsoft and SAP SE on November 28, 2017 announced creation of the integrated offer thanks to which corporate customers will be able to create the precise strategic plan for development of business innovations of century cloud. In particular, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (the private managed cloud service of SAP) it will be integrated into Microsoft Azure and will allow customers to start SAP S/4HANA in the safe managed cloud. Besides, Microsoft will implement SAP S/4HANA on Azure for support of own internal financial processes. SAP, in turn, will transfer internal key business systems to Azure. In more detail here.

Sberbank began to sell cloud services based on Azure

In October, 2017 Sberbank and Microsoft in Russia signed the agreement on cooperation. In its framework Sberbank announced providing cloud services of Microsoft, including services based on Microsoft Azure. Read more here.

Operation of Azure virtual machines on Linux

At the end of October, 2017 the company Microsoft announced that about 40% of Azure virtual machines are started on distribution kits operating system Linux. The American software giant confirmed with this statement the amplifying support open source software.

Microsoft: 40% of Azure virtual machines are started on Linux
Microsoft: 40% of Azure virtual machines are started on Linux

Information on work of 40% of Azure virtual machines for Linux appeared on Twitter account of Microsoft Developer UK. In June, 2016 the company declared approximately a 33 percent indicator. Thus, the share of the users preferring to work with Azure virtual machines on Linux OS, a little more than in a year increased by 7 percentage points.

As notes the edition ZDNet, users of Azure can select the following distribution kits: CentOS CoreOS Debian Oracle Linux RHEL SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE and Ubuntu.[7]

Earlier in 2017 Microsoft also added support Intel Clear Linux — the specialized distribution kit intended for start on the equipment with processors Intel and uses in cloud infrastructure and Internet of Things (IoT).

Microsoft long time kept away from the Open Source projects, however to 2015-2017 the attitude of the company to such software was sharply changed. Such events as opening GUI of the platform which is not connected from a part .NET, creation of an environment for start of the Linux-applications in Windows 10, expansion of support of Linux in Azure, accession to the working groups in the organizations Linux Foundation and Eclipse Foundation, cooperation with the companies Canonical, Red Hat and SUSE, porting SQL Server for Linux, transfer of development of Windows to Git and also creation of such open projects as Visual Studio Code, ChakraCore, LSP, CNTK, DMTK and Typescript demonstrate to it.

Availability of capacities of the Cray supercomputers

The corporation Microsoft and the developer supercomputers Cray in October, 2017 agreed about providing computing powers supercomputers Cray XC and Cray CS in cloud Microsoft Azure.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Cray supercomputers will be connected directly to Azure, integrated with Azure virtual machines and Azure Data Lake storage and also with artificial intelligence technologies and machine learning of Microsoft.

Clients will be able to get access to capacities of supercomputers only within a packet of Azure services — the solutions Cray separately will not be leased. At the same time configuring of solutions under specific needs and tasks will give to customers an opportunity.

In general the offer will allow clients to receive with the limited budget necessary capacities for high-performance computing and other resource-intensive tasks (AI applications, simulation and modeling, difficult analytics).

The Cray supercomputers of series XC and CS work based on Intel processors and graphic systems of Nvidia. Some of machines are equipped with programmable logic integrated circuits (FPGA). Also network interconnect of Cray Aries is applied. Performance of one container exceeds petaFLOPS. The prices of supercomputers of the Cray XC series begin from $500 thousand[8]

Microsoft Azure Enterprise NFS

On October 17, 2017 the companies Microsoft also NetApp provided cloud- the centrichny service Microsoft Azure Enterprise Network File System (NFS) founded on technologies of Netapp. Within service the corporate network file system (NFS) is provided directly in Azure and works at fundamentals of technologies of Netapp.

Customers can transfer the applications to Azure now and continue to use the same level of scalability, performance and reliability which are provided with Netapp services on data management. Users will get access to service directly from the Azure console.

According to NetApp, it is simpler to architects of cloud infrastructures and administrators of DWH to select, automate and scale NFS services thanks to RESTful API now. Services of additional data protection, starting with automatic instant copies on demand will be also offered. This service will be supported by workloads of V3 and V4 for the customers working in a cloud and in a hybrid cloud. It will also be integrated with the server of Azure services, including analytics, the server SQL, SAP HANA for Azure.

The companies can already order the Azure Enterprise NFS service founded on products of Netapp.

Preferable cloud platform for Adobe Sign

The companies Microsoft Adobe announced also on September 11, 2017 expansion of strategic partnership and integration of the products. Adobe will make Microsoft Azure a preferable cloud platform for Adobe Sign (a line component Adobe Document Cloud). In more detail here.

Azure includes support of Clear Linux

On January 20, 2017 Microsoft announced expansion of a range of the Linux distribution kits supported in Azure.

In a cloud environment of Azure it is possible to work with CentOS, CoreOS Debian Oracle Linux Red Hat Enterprise Linux SUSE Enterprise Linux OpenSUSE, Ubuntu and Intel Clear [9]. At the same time the distribution kit is available in three options at once:

  • in the first it looks as the normal virtual machine with the maximum opportunities of customization,
  • in the second - the solution on the basis of the container Docker
  • in the third — the special Clear configuration for problems of machine learning.

Clear is the facilitated Linux option initially focused on the solution of high-performance computing tasks capable to work, both on the selected physical servers, and in a cloud. Such specifics quite answer the traditional direction of the software tools of Intel aimed at the maximum use of processor resources. The microprocessor giant considers Clear as a crucial construction element for creation of cloud scalable clusters therefore in this solution special attention is paid to questions of high-speed performance (for this reason all superfluous is deleted from a distribution kit) and optimization of distribution of computing loadings.

Microsoft stops licensing of services "on demand"

On January 12, 2016 it became known of cancellation of the mode of payment of cloud services of Azure (pay-as-you-go is payment of the used resources) since February 1, 2017.

This option of payment according to the scheme MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement) will be unavailable to again connected users. Corporate customers will get access to Azure through the partner providers providing services in[10].

Microsoft explained this solution with need of support of ensuring high-quality application of cloud services from the partners having the corresponding qualification and capable to offer customers own additional services.

2016

Azure virtual machines fell in price again

In October, 2016 the American company Microsoft announced the next reduction of prices of Azure virtual machines. The size of a discount reaches 50%.

As the corporate marketing vice president of cloud and corporate solutions of the company of Takeshi Numoto wrote in the blog of Microsoft, virtual machines of the F and DV2 series fell in price by 11% and 15% respectively. Solutions of the initial A1 and A2 Basic level began to cost half less, than before.

As notes the VentureBeat edition, this step did not become unprecedented for Microsoft. Several years before company management declared the aspiration to maintain price competitiveness of Azure in fight against Amazon Web Services (AWS). In January, 2016 the prices of Azure virtual machines were reduced.

The prices of Azure virtual machines were reduced for value up to 50%
The prices of Azure virtual machines were reduced for value up to 50%

At this Microsoft fights against AWS and other competitors not only by means of discounts. The software corporation develops new infrastructure of cloud data centers and at the beginning of October, 2016 added to it several new features. Among them - Storage Service Encryption technology for the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) service providing data backup in cloud infrastructure of Microsoft. Innovation allows to transfer securely local data to the cloud storage, using possibilities of enciphering.

Besides, the clients of Microsoft using the Windows Server operating system according to the license Software Assurance got access to the initiative of Microsoft Azure Hybrid Use Benefit allowing to transfer Windows Server workloads to a cloud of Azure and to achieve significant savings (can reach 41%, declare in the company) at expansion of data center in cloud infrastructure.[11]

Integration into the platform of GE Predix

In July, 2016 the corporation Microsoft announced connection PaaS- platforms Predix to the cloud, having joined thereby competitors Amazon and Oracle which signed similar agreements of page earlier General Electric (GE).

Within cooperation between GE and Microsoft an industrial system for Internet of Things of Predix will be started on a cloud platform of Azure thanks to what users of the solution GE will be able to analyze data and to exchange them, using Microsoft applications. Clients of GE will get access to such opportunities of Azure as natural language processing, artificial intelligence and data visualization.

Microsoft connected GE to the cloud
Microsoft connected GE to the cloud

It is expected that Predix will be available on Azure in 2017. More exact terms are not called. Besides, Microsoft and GE are going to integrate Predix with  packets Azure IoT Suite and  Cortana Intelligence Suite and also  business applications Office 365, Dynamics 365 and  [[Microsoft Power BI| Power BI]].

To the companies, especially from the industrial sphere, it is necessary to be engaged much more actively in digital transformation of the business, otherwise they will lag behind the conversions going in the world, the CEO of GE Jeff Immelt considers.

As notes the The Wall Street Journal edition, by the time of the announcement of start of Predix this GE platform already works for Azure in clouds of Amazon Web Services and Oracle. Thus, Microsoft did not defeat these competitors, and only caught up with them, Al Gillen, the vice president for the system software of IDC company says.

At the same time, according to the analyst, thanks to presence of Azure in many countries Predix support by Microsoft corporation can offer clients of GE the most profitable platforms for placement of the data and increase attractiveness of Azure among some users whose business is tied to a certain country or the region.[12]


2015

Statistics

According to the statistics of Microsoft, by the end of September, 2015 80% of the companies entering list 500 of the largest according to the edition Fortune work with cloud services of corporation. By 2018 Microsoft is going to increase revenue from sales of cloud solutions to $20 billion. By September, 2015 about 40% of the income generated by the Azure platform arrive from startups and independent software developers. Every fifth Azure virtual machine is started on Linux.

Microsoft adjusted the world scientific competition on access to Azure

On May 19, 2015 Microsoft announced start of the local grant program by means of which it will become easier for Russian scientist to fight for the right to get free access to Azure cloud, and it excludes competitive struggle with foreign research teams. The grant program for the Russian scientists carries[13].

The Russian scientists, "which showed the highest potential of domestic science", will be able to use free of charge in scientific work of power of a cloud platform of Azure, within the program. Requests for participation in the program are accepted until the end of August, 2015.

Research teams can use Azure capacities only for carrying out scientific research and get access to virtual machines, data warehouses. The corporation does not advertize the amount of financing of the program.

Taking part in the global Azure for Research program, earlier, Russian scientists could get access to Azure free of charge, but they had to compete with research commands from around the world for this right. Now the Microsoft company created the separate program for Russia, and, according to its conditions, for the right of free access to the platform the Russian scientists will compete only among themselves.

The company grantor explained that the decision on creation of the special program of support of the Russian scientists is made as previous year of cooperation showed the huge scientific capacity of Russia, and added: the solution is caused by high quality of projects and a large number of applications for participation in the program.

In 2014 representatives of laboratory of technologies of programming of faculty of calculus mathematics and cybernetics of MSU became owners of a grant of Azure for Research. In work on the projects scientists from this laboratory develop machine learning technologies.

The scientific group of the Center of studying of the Internet and society became one more owner of a grant. The command studies social networks and their distribution in Russia, including keeps track of behavior of different user groups in online and offline - Wednesdays. In the long term these data will help to understand how social networks influence information transfer and as they influence existence of society.

2014

Opinion of Gartner

In the light of many integral advantages of Microsoft it is easy to forget that the Azure platform rather appeared recently in the market. Gartner in 2014 did not fail to note that customers detected "considerable spaces" as for network functionality and security. Besides, this offer is tied to products of Microsoft, and the company only still should enter the program of licensing.

According to analysts, strengths are the fact that vision of Microsoft in respect of various services Azure includes transparent functional compatibility with its locally installed applications and devices. Microsoft is unique in the capability to construct an ecosystem of own products and aggressively advances this vision on global markets.

Microsoft overtook Amazon

By the number of the cloud installations of Windows well visible in Network, the corporation Microsoft with the Azure platform the other day overtook the company Amazon, one of main competitors in the market of a cloud hosting a little, reports Netcraft. Researchers imposed to the studied cloud servers rather high requirements in respect of their activity therefore the total amount of the market was only about 5 million machines. 23,400 Windows computers fell to the share of Microsoft, and at like that Amazon only 22,600 is exploited. A substantial contribution to success of Microsoft introduced its drafts Office 365 OneDrive, Skype and Xbox Live, PaaS- services for ASP.NET Node.js, PHP and Python and also corporate support of the McDonald's Happy Studio project and the Olympic Games in Sochi. At the same time Linux- business of Amazon exceeds approximately ten times Windows- a component[14].

Claims to marketing

In January, 2014 serious scandal over a new advertizing campaign in support of a cloud service of Microsoft Azure ran high. In particular, the protest caused a slogan of the company which in original language sounds so: "So easy, even an older woman can do it" (i.e. literally - "It is so simple that even the old woman will understand").

Everything began with the fact that in the official account of service in Twitter (@WindowsAzure) the message such appeared: "What are you doing, when your 68-year-old secretary needs to use multifactor authentication? Ask Azure".

Image:Azure-tweet1.png

Multifactor authentication (Multi-Factor Authentication) about which there is a speech actually is not something is impracticable difficult for non-management employees as only assumes use of two types of passwords at the same time, for example, it can be the alphabetic password and a physical key or similar.

Image:Azure-apology-tweet.png

Eventually under pressing of users Microsoft apologized and deleted scandalous tweets.

New features of Azure

On April 4, 2014 Microsoft announced emergence of new features in a cloud platform of Azure.


As a part of updates - the management portal integrating all tools in one place. New features are added, access to the functions which are on a test stage, to bigger number of clients is provided.

One of the main innovations - the updated Azure management portal. All tools, technologies and services from Microsoft and its partners demanded by developers are in one place. According to developers, it facilitates process of creation, implementation and management of applications.

Updating Azure, the corporation considered wishes of clients and added a feature for offline synchronization. Now developers can create applications for scenarios when the user appears on a nekotor time without communication and then it needs to synchronize data on the device and the server.

The commercial service of Azure Backup - the tool for creation of backup copies of data on the clouds platform for Windows Server which copies files and directories on the server, helps to protect data from loss at failure of local storages is started.

The public preliminary version of Hyper-V Recovery Manager - the tool intended for reservation of private clouds is released.

Work with virtual machines is improved. Users can delete at the same time VM together with the disks connected to them.

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"Image" of the new portal

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Azure Backup service

NoSQL DB as a part of Azure

On August 25, 2014 it became known of emergence in a cloud of Microsoft Azure of simple not relational storage of documents - DocumentDB.

Microsoft emphasized that service is focused on the organizations needing base for placement of data mobile or web applications.

For August 25, 2014 Azure DocumentDB works in the fact-finding mode. DocumentDB - the first own base NoSQL from Microsoft in which cloud not relational systems of other developers — MongoDB, MongoLabs, Nodejitsu, Redis and RavenHQ are also offered. In addition to document storage service gives opportunities of request processing and accomplishment of transactions — the functionality inherent to relational DBMS.

The search system Bing is offered as the service available to embedding in applications, and as a part of DBMS Azure Hadoop service the distributed Apache HBase base is from now on available. Besides, now in a cloud of Microsoft more than 300 ready images of the virtual machines which are in advance configured for different tasks are offered.

VMAccess Extension for replacement of the lost password

On August 26, 2014 it became known of release by Microsoft company of means VMAccess Extension for users of Azure Virtual Machines service.

When using virtual machines in a cloud environment all questions of management of storage of passwords a prerogative of the user - all passwords and keys used in the virtual machine are unavailable to strangers. If the password is forgotten, it is necessary or to remember it or to independently take data from disks that often is impossible or it is very difficult.

For permission of similar situations Microsoft created and released means of VMAccess Extension, using it the user generates in the virtual machine (on the Windows platform, Linux) new passwords of access and SSH keys. Function will work only in that case when the VMAccess Extension expansion is a part of the virtual machine during its creation.

Transaction of reinstallation of keys are made by means of a personal management portal of Azure, access to which is executed through authorization of Windows Live ID, and there the user for the purpose of increase in security can use two-factor authentication: access to the account is executed using the permanent password and the one-time code coming to the mobile phone in the SMS format.

Expansion of opportunities Azure

On September 15, 2014 it became known of expansion of opportunities of the cloud Azure service platform from Microsoft what the company announced at the beginning of September, 2014 in a series of announcements.

Funds of Azure SQL Databases after long stay in the status of the beta are transferred to the mode of commercial availability with the SLA level of 99.99% and an opportunity to store information with a capacity up to 500 GB. These services implement model "databases as service" (DBaaS) that helps customers - to involve quickly functionality of DBMS without the need for use of own IT infrastructure. SQL Databases are implemented in three options (Tiers) — Basic, Standard and Premium, their difference in volumes of data storage, speed of execution of transactions, opportunities of self-service and geographical replication (creations of copies in different regions of the world).

Management tools program interfaces (API Management) are transferred to commercial availability with SLA of the standard level. These services available from any client devices, including mobile, provide a possibility of control from user side of access to all its API sets placed both in a cloud, and in own infrastructure. Services are implemented in several functional options, including there is a version for developers at the price from 49 dollars a month.

Virtual networks of Azure Virtual Networks with support of the TCP and UDP protocols are available to integration of the Websites Azure to use now. Thereby there was an opportunity to connect directly the website with the database placed in the non-public virtual machine or in infrastructure of the enterprise. Configuration management by connections of the website is executed using the new version of Preview Azure Portal.

In tools for scalable web content management systems (CMS) support of the popular WordPress system appeared.

Services of the notification Azure Alerting are transferred to a commercial operation mode, possibilities of a streaming video of Media Services are expanded, the preliminary version of a system of role access control to information resources is released.

Support of analytical processing of Apache Storm for Hadoop

On October 15, 2014 the press service of Microsoft announced support of analytics by Microsoft HDInsight (Hadoop) service in real time of Apache Storm in the form of print preview as a part of Azure.

The company advertizes Apache Storm support as an opportunity for clients for "processing of millions of data members of Hadoop from their devices of Internet of Things in real time using completely managed Hadoop service".

HDInsight is cloud distribution of Hadoop which Microsoft developed together with Hortonworks.

Microsoft represents new opportunities of machine learning to [[Windows Azure Marketplace|Azure Marketplace]] that clients and partners could use new functionality in the form of web services.

Microsoft made available own services of machine learning on Azure for print preview, Azure ML in June, 2014.

Compatibility of the cloud systems of IBM and Microsoft

On October 28, 2014 it became known of the forthcoming compatibility of the cloud systems of IBM and Microsoft.

Despite the competition IBM and Microsoft in the market of cloud services, corporations agreed about support of work of the main corporate packets on the cloud systems of each other. The application server WebSphere, a message exchange system will work at the Microsoft Azure platform Websphere MQ and DBMS DB2.

Infrastructure services IBM Cloud will provide support Windows Server and SQL Server, IBM Bluemix Wednesday will work at the platform Microsoft. NET. In addition, in IBM Cloud it will be possible to start virtual machines on the platform Windows Server with a hypervisor Hyper-V, and in the Azure system will earn the IBM PureApplication service intended for transfer in a cloud of corporate applications. In Azure licensing of programs of a binding layer from IBM based on use payment after delivery will be supported.

The preliminary version of.NET on the Bluemix platform will appear in several months.

2013: failure in work of service

Cloud service from Microsoft Windows Azure from October 30 to October 31, 2013 had serious problems with working capacity worldwide so some users could not manage it.

The first messages on service-desk of service were recorded at 2:35 am on universal time on October 30, 2013, then Microsoft reported literally the following: "We experience difficulties with working capacity in the North and in the central part and also the southern part to the USA, Northern Europe, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, East Asia, in the West and the East of the USA".

17 hours later the corporation also published the message in which it announced that management of so-called swap-transactions can work not correctly so users are recommended to refuse them. Finally the problem was solved by the morning on October 31, 2013 when at 10:45 a.m. in the morning the support service announced recovery of the specified functions in all regions of work of service.

As the problem affected only deployment, processes in a cloud at clients of Microsoft were started regularly. Nevertheless, to Microsoft there were questions in safety of service at once: why failure found such large-scale character and why on its elimination a lot of time was required? Microsoft apologized to the clients for the inconvenience.

2012: Failure in work of service

On February 29, 2012 the cloud service of Microsoft Azure experienced serious failure which effects are still not liquidated. Microsoft stated about it that it has problems with Windows Azure service, at the same time clients will not be able to implement control function.

Later at 5:30 p.m. (Moscow time) on February 29, 2012 Microsoft reported that the sharpness of a problem "is reduced and for most of customers the control of service is regained". "We still need to resolve some issues before we are able to regain completely control of service", says the company. "a certain event an event 2/29/2012" became the cause of the incident as the corporation reported.

By 8 a.m. Moscow time on February 29 failure affected less than 3.8% of the placed services, and as told Microsoft, measures to prevention of a problem of "distribution of an error in all environment of an environment" were taken. Besides, clients of Azure in the North and the South of the central part of the USA and also in Northern Europe could observe some problems with performance, Microsoft through a dashboard of service reported at 1:55 p.m. Moscow time. Also it was reported that the incoming traffic can not reach subsets of services of a hosting for this subregion. The unrolled applications will continue to work. The events will not influence the stored credentials.

At 10:30 p.m. Moscow time on February 29 Microsoft stated that it "is engaged in active recovery of Windows Azure services for subregions of a northern part of the USA, the South and central states and also Northern Europe" and that "more and more client applications should be recovered and work even if the functionality of management of service is not recovered yet".

The service of synchronization of data SQL Azure was unavailable in six regions in the territory of the USA, Europe and Asia, also different problems in some regions on interaction with Access Control 2.0, Azure Reporting, Azure Marketplace and Azure Service Bus were specified.

The company promised to update regularly information on the held events for recovery of functionality of a cloud service, but any specific terms was not brought. In response to occurring users of Azure created on February 29 at official forums a flow of critical remarks concerning shutdown. In them reproaches and charges that the company does nothing for maintenance of service expressed.

One commentator wrote "the dashboard shows that service works". Relying on Windows Azure, he for day watched closely a dashboard and noticed total absence of time estimates for the solution of problematic issues.

Other client of a cloud service complained of idle time of the websites of his company which fell within an hour (approximately from 2 p.m. Moscow time). "It becomes very problematic for us as we accept online payments 24/7 across all Great Britain and Europe. The office panel does not tell me anything except that I already know excepting what: "The unrolled applications will continue to work". I assure you, it not so because the unrolled applications do not answer", - he focused attention on work of service.

Representatives of Microsoft did not give additional comments about problems with Azure and the reasons of their emergence at once. This not first shutdown of Azure since launch of service at the end of 2009.

2009: Start of service and declaration of the prices

Quotations on Windows Azure became known in the summer of 2009. Microsoft began to take $0.12 in each hour of calculations, $0.15 for each transferred GB of data and on $0.01 for each 10 thousand transactions of reading - data writings.

The hosting of a SQL database of Azure Web Edition with a capacity no more than 1 GB costs $10 a month. The database for the SQL Azure Business Edition enterprises with a capacity up to 10 GB will cost $100 a month, and 100 thousand messages of.NET Services - $0.15.

The cost of Windows Azure is comparable to the cost of the competing cloud platforms - for example, Amazon EC2, Google App Engine and Force.com.

Application development

Application creation

For work with Windows Azure in the Visual Studio of 2008 it is necessary to set:

Then in the Visual Studio new types of projects will appear. By application programming it is possible to use any.NET language (though focus of Microsoft when developing Azure was on C). After writing of the code of service, it it is necessary to prepare a packet for "publication". After that 2 files (a packet with the code of service and the file of a configuration, in which the quantity of nodes for, of service it is specified), which need to be loaded into a cloud will be created.

The procedure of the publication consists of two stages:

  • Loading of the project in Staging for check.
  • The translation of the checked project in Production

And the last that is required for work and testing of the project – to make a web cover.

Accomplishment of the application

In Windows Azure several copies have the appendix, each of which executes a part or all application code. Each of copies works on the virtual machine. But the application on Windows Azure does not see the virtual machine on which it works. Instead the developer can create applications from two types of ekzmeplyar – Web Role and Worker Role. The copy of Web Role accepts incoming requests through Internet Information Services (IIS). Web role can be implemented with the help ASP.NET, WCF or other.NET of technology which works with page IIS.

Worker Role obtains initial data from Web Role, is normal through queue in Windows Azure storage. The result of work of copies of Worker Role can be written to Windows Azure storage or be sent to the outside world through outbound network connections. In difference from copies of Web Role which are created for request processing and are switched off after processing of a request, Worker Role can infinitely work is a background job.

Each virtual machine on which copies of Web Role or Worker Role work supports the agent of Windows Azure through which applications interact with Windows Azure factory. To each virtual machine there corresponds the physical core of the processor. Blador it can manage performance of each application increasing the quantity of the working copies specified in a configuration file.

Data access

Windows Azure allows to store data in blobs, tables and queues, access to which is provided under the REST protocol.

Use of blobs – the easiest way of data storage in Windows Azure. There is a simple hierarchy: the storage can have one or several containers, each of which to store one or several blobs. Blobs can be big – vlot up to 50 GB everyone and to do pass of blobs it is simpler, each of them can is separated into subblobs. At a transmission error, repeated transfer can begin with the latest transferred subblob. Blobs can have metadata (for example, information on where JPEG the picture, or data on the composer of the song for the MP3 file was taken).

Tables are used for data storage that applications could work with data at the level of small structural units. Data in tables are stored in a type of simple hierarchy of entities with properties.

The third method of data storage in Windows Azure storage – queues – is created for the purpose of ensuring interaction of copies of Web Role and Worker Role. For example, the user sends a request for accomplishment of some resource-intensive task through the web page implemented in Web Role. The copy of Web Role which receives this request, writes the message to queue. The copy of Worker Role which expects the message in queue reads out the new message and performs trebuyumy work. Results of work it can return through another queues or some other method.

Notes