I’ve been presenting this presentation all year. I’ve tweaked it a little after each section. Funny thing is I never blogged that content… So I’d like to take the next few posts to share the content from those sessions in written form. Let’s jump right in.
First, what is Azure?
You’ll read and hear people talking about different cloud based services.You’ll find references to Platform as a Service (PAAS), and you’ll find references to Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS). Microsoft Windows Azure has both. You can set up “private” network segments, Active Directory Domains, and virtual machines, all of these are considered infrastructure as a service. You have to do a little more set up. For example, when standing up a virtual machine you have to choose a number of cores, amount of memory (right now it’s tied to how many cores you choose), and a number of discs to attach to that virtual machine. Once you choose that, your service starts up. IAAS has a draw back, you have to shutdown the service to make a change to how many resources you’ve allocated.
But then you also have Platform as a Service options, such as web sites, storage, and SQL Databases. In this case, all you have to do is Name the service, and choose a class, and you’re up and running. For example, if you go to spin up a new database on Windows Azure SQL Database, you name it, choose web (0-10 GB) or business class (0 – 150GB per instance), and you’re up. You won’t have to shut down to grow the database. The down-side here, is you don’t get direct control over CPU, Memory, or Storage.
There are other offerings in Windows Azure that aren’t Platform or Infrastructure as a Service. Most of these are found in the Azure Marketplace. You can “lease” access to data sets maintained by other companies. For example, Melissa Data has opened up their address and email checking services through the Marketplace. You can add this to one of your solutions and pay a unit cost for each lookup performed! This can make it quicker, cheaper, and easier to deploy than the traditional subscription models.
Windows Azure has multiple data centers. As soon as I publish this, it will be out of date, but as of today, there are 8 fixed data centers. There are four in the United States, Illinois, Texas, California and Virginia. There are two in Asia: Hong Kong and Singapore. There are two in Europe: Ireland and Netherlands. There are two more coming soon in Australia.
Not only do they have these fixed-site data centers, but they also have mobile data centers. Think of a data center in the back of a tractor trailer! They can ship on of these to any location with power and network and spin the whole data center up on demand. This can be useful for large volume data migrations. You wouldn’t want to upload thousands of terabytes of data over your corporate internet connection, right?
These on-demand data centers could also be a response to disasters. If a natural disaster would strike, these could be deployed for additional coverage until the main data centers could be brought back online. Cloud based solutions are all about high availability!
52projects works mostly with small and medium sized companies. Many of them start out with a single server, and slowly add more as they need extra capacity. Some never consider the possibility that machines will fail, power will go out, disasters will happen; others don’t see how to justify the extra costs associated with planning for those kinds of failures. One of the many reasons I’ve embraced Windows Azure is we can now bring this enterprise-level plan for high availability to these smaller companies…and we can do it for less than they are paying for their current services. Talk about huge wins!
If you’d like to find out how we can help you take advantage of these new solutions, call or email today! 704.645.7226 firstname.lastname@example.org