Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release 1 February 2010 (2010-02-01)
Operating system Linux, Microsoft Windows
License Closed source for platform, Open source for client SDKs

Microsoft Azure /ˈæʒər/ is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure created by Microsoft for building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers.

It provides SaaS, PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Azure was announced in October 2008 and released on 1 February 2010 as Windows Azure, before being renamed to Microsoft Azure on 25 March 2014.[1][2]


Microsoft lists over 600 Azure services,[3] of which some are covered below:


Mobile services

Storage services

Data management


The Microsoft Azure Service Bus allows applications running on Azure premises or off premises devices to communicate with Azure. This helps to build scalable and reliable applications in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The Azure service bus supports four different types of communication mechanisms:

Media services

A PaaS offering that can be used for encoding, content protection, streaming, or analytics.


A global content delivery network (CDN) for audio, video, applications, images, and other static files. Can be used to cache static assets of websites geographically closer to users to increase performance. The network can be managed by a REST based HTTP API.

Azure has 38 point of presence locations worldwide (also known as Edge locations) as of February 25, 2016.



Machine Learning


Azure is generally available in 30 regions around the world, and has announced plans for 8 additional regions.[12]


Microsoft Azure uses a specialized operating system, called Microsoft Azure, to run its "fabric layer": a cluster hosted at Microsoft's data centers that manages computing and storage resources of the computers and provisions the resources (or a subset of them) to applications running on top of Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure has been described as a "cloud layer" on top of a number of Windows Server systems, which use Windows Server 2008 and a customized version of Hyper-V, known as the Microsoft Azure Hypervisor to provide virtualization of services.

Scaling and reliability are controlled by the Microsoft Azure Fabric Controller so the services and environment do not crash, if one of the servers crashes within the Microsoft data center and provides the management of the user's Web application like memory resources and load balancing.

Azure provides an API built on REST, HTTP, and XML that allows a developer to interact with the services provided by Microsoft Azure. Microsoft also provides a client-side managed class library that encapsulates the functions of interacting with the services. It also integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio, Git, and Eclipse.

In addition to interacting with services via API, users can manage Azure services using the Web-based Azure Portal, which reached General Availability in December 2015.[13] The portal allows users to browse active resources, modify settings, launch new resources, and view basic monitoring data from active virtual machines and services.

Deployment models

Microsoft Azure offers two deployment models for cloud resources: the "classic" deployment model and the Azure Resource Manager.[14] In the classic model, each Azure resource (virtual machine, SQL database, etc.) was managed individually. The Azure Resource Manager, introduced in 2014,[14] enables users to create groups of related services so that closely coupled resources can be deployed, managed, and monitored together.[15]


Ray Ozzie announcing Windows Azure at PDC 2008, October 27
Former Windows Azure logo, 2012-2014


Microsoft has stated that, per the USA Patriot Act, the US government could have access to the data even if the hosted company is not American and the data resides outside the USA.[20] However, Microsoft Azure is compliant with the E.U. Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC)[21][22]. To manage privacy and security-related concerns, Microsoft has created a Microsoft Azure Trust Center,[23] and Microsoft Azure has several of its services compliant with several compliance programs including ISO 27001:2005 and HIPAA. A full and current listing can be found on the Microsoft Azure Trust Center Compliance page.[24] Of special note, Microsoft Azure has been granted JAB Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the U.S. government in accordance with guidelines spelled out under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), a U.S. government program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud services used by the federal government.[25]

Significant outages

Documented Microsoft Azure outages and service disruptions.

Date Cause Notes
2012-02-29 Incorrect code for calculating leap day dates[26]
2012-07-26 Misconfigured network device[27][28]
2013-02-22 Expiry of an SSL certificate[29] Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Video also affected[30]
2013-10-30 Worldwide partial compute outage[31]
2014-11-18 Azure storage upgrade caused reduced capacity across several regions[32] Xbox Live, Windows Store, MSN, Search, Visual Studio Online among others were affected.[33]

As of December 4, 2015, Azure has been available for 99.9936% of the past year.[34]


See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Upcoming Name Change for Windows Azure". Microsoft Azure. 2014-03-24. Archived from the original on 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  2. Tharakan, Anya George and Dastin, Jeffery (20 October 2016). "Microsoft shares hit high as cloud business flies above estimates". Rueters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  3. Directory of Azure Cloud Services,
  4. "How to monitor Microsoft Azure VMs". Datadog. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  5. "Meet Windows Azure event June 2012". 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  6. "Web App Service - Microsoft Azure". Microsoft.
  7. "Mobile Engagement - Microsoft Azure". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  8. "HockeyApp - Microsoft Azure". Retrieved 2016-07-27.
  9. Hassell, Jonathan (3 September 2014). "Microsoft's StorSimple: A first look at the 8000 series". Computerworld.
  10. "Azure and CONNX". CONNX. Retrieved 30 October 2014.
  11. "Why Cortana Intelligence?". Microsoft.
  12. "Azure Regions | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved 2016-11-13.
  13. Welicki, Leon. "Announcing Azure Portal general availability". Microsoft. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  14. 1 2 FitzMacken, Tom. "Azure Resource Manager vs. classic deployment". Microsoft. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  15. FitzMacken, Tom. "Azure Resource Manager overview". Microsoft. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  16. "SQL Azure SU3 is Now Live and Available in 6 Datacenters Worldwide". SQL Azure Team Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  17. "Microsoft Azure Machine Learning combines power of comprehensive machine learning with benefits of cloud". 2014-06-16.
  18. "Human Error Caused Microsoft Azure Outage". 2014-12-20.
  19. "Microsoft demonstrates its Linux-based Azure Cloud Switch operating system". 2015-09-18.
  20. Toor, Amar (2011-06-30). "Microsoft: European cloud data may not be immune to the Patriot Act". Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  21. "EU data privacy authorities approve Microsoft Azure", 15 Apr 2014,
  22. "The collapse of the US-EU Safe Harbor", October 20, 2015, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer,
  23. "Microsoft Azure Trust Center". Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  24. "Microsoft Azure Trust Center Compliance". Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  25. "FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Systems". Retrieved 2014-10-15.
  26. "Summary of Windows Azure Service Disruption on Feb 29th, 2012". 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  27. "Windows Azure outage hits Europe". 2012-07-26. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  28. "Microsoft pins Azure outage on network miscue". 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  29. Microsoft’s Azure storage service goes down, locking out corporate customers from their data Archived 26 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  30. Bishop, Bryan. "Xbox Live and Windows Azure suffering from extended outages". Retrieved 2013-06-27.
  31. "Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud hit by worldwide management interuption [sic]". 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  32. Zander, Jason. "Update on Azure Storage Service Interruption". Microsoft. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  33. Foley, Mary J. "Microsoft says Storage service performance update brought Azure down". ZD.NET. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  34. "Service Status - CloudHarmony".

Further reading

External links

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