Windows Azure Platform

Windows Azure (WA) platform is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment. It provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manages web applications on the internet through Microsoft datacenters. It is also a flexible platform that supports multiple languages and integrates with your existing on-premises environment. To build applications and services on WA, developers can use their existing Microsoft visual studio expertise. In addition, WA supports popular standards, protocols and languages including SOAP, REST, XML, Java, PHP and Ruby. And also it handles load balancing, resource management and life cycle management of a cloud service based on requirements that the owner of the service established. A developer who wishes to deploy an application to WA specifies the service topology, including the number of instances to deploy and any configuration settings. WA deploys the service and manages upgrades and failures to maintain availability.
Building a WA application looks much like building a traditional Windows application and it supports both .NET applications and applications built using unmanaged code. WA provides Visual Studio 2008 project templates for creating Web roles, Worker roles, and applications that combine the two. One obvious difference is that WA applications don’t run locally. Thus, to mitigate that challenge development fabric, a version of the WA environment that runs on a developer’s machine, plays the role,. The development fabric runs on a single machine running either Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista.

It emulates the functionality of WA in the cloud, complete with Web roles, Worker roles, and all three WA storage options. A developer can build a WA application, deploy it to the development fabric, and run it in much the same way as with the real thing. He can determine how many instances of each role should run, for example, use queues to communicate between these instances, and do almost everything else that’s possible using WA itself. Once the application has been developed and tested locally, the developer can upload the code and its configuration file via the WA portal, and then run it. Still, some things are different in the cloud. Developer can’t attach a debugger to an application running on WA, for example, and so developers must rely on logging. Yet even logging could be problematic. Several instances of a WA application are typically running simultaneously, and it is easy they could write to a common log file. WA also provides other services for developers such as WA application can send an alert string through the WA agent, and the platform will forward that alert via email, instant messaging, or some other mechanism to its recipient. If desired, the WA fabric can itself detect an application failure and send an alert. The WA platform also provides detailed information about the application’s resource consumption, including processor time, incoming and outgoing bandwidth, and storage.
Considering hardware side, Developers have the ability to choose the size of VMs to run their application based on the applications resource requirements. WA compute instances come in four unique sizes to enable complex applications and workloads. The for sizes are small, Medium, Large and Extra large and need 1.6 GHz, 2 x 1.6 GHz, 4 x 1.6 GHz, 8 x 1.6 GHz CPUs sequentially with sequential 1.75 GB, 3.5 GB, 7 GB, 14 GB memory and 225 GB, 490 GB, 1000 GB, 2040 GB Instance Storage with  Moderate, High, High, High I/O Performance. Finally Windows Azure plays an increasingly important role in the software world.

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