How to Work with Microsoft Azure

Welcome to the latest news from TalkIT. This issue looks at working with Azure. If you want to know more take at look at our complete training course in Azure.



  • Why Bother with Azure
  • Azure Features
  • Getting Started using Windows Azure

 Why Bother with Azure

Over the last 15 years I have developed in applications in C#.Net often with a SQL Server back-end database. These have been held on my laptop or local servers. Recently I have been deploying apps & data to the cloud. There has been lots to learn around cloud computing, but also a more fundamental shift of perspective. Software in the cloud is behaves very differently from “on-premise” software.

 Azure is, of course, the cloud computing platform from Microsoft. It provides a hosted environment for applications, web apps, and data storage.

Let’s first consider the benefits of cloud computing.

  • Lower costs for servers, operating systems and software
  • Reduce time in setting up infrastructure
  • Improve availability of services
  • Manage elastic demand for services
  • Speed up the development life-cycle
  • Speed up bringing ideas to market

The are 3 strategies for cloud computing with Azure…

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Services (SaaS)

Let’s look at each.

 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • Azure allows you to create virtual machines on the cloud
  • You have complete control over what goes on the VMs
  • You can build VMs for many standard Operating Systems, including Windows Server, Linux, etc.
  • You can load any software you like on the VMs – you have complete control!


IaaS gives you the most control out of all the Azure options. But it’s also more work – you must manage the VMs yourself

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • Windows Azure allows you to deploy your web applications and cloud solutions to the cloud
  • For cloud solutions, you split the application into Web Roles and Worker Roles
  • Web Roles implement the UI, and Worker Roles implement logic
  • For each Role, you can configure the min/max number of VMs required in order to achieve the required scalability


PaaS requires much less administrative effort than IaaS. Your software runs on a standardised platform provided by Microsoft, including OS, storage, and replication

 Software as a Service (SaaS)

Windows Azure includes pre-built software that can be used immediately

  • Office 365


SaaS is pre-canned software provided by the platform. Allows you to create custom solutions based on this substrate layer

Azure Features

Azure provides a wide range of cloud features. Here are some of the main components:

  • Compute
  • Data Storage
  • Networking


Azure offers several ways to host your application code. The term compute refers to the hosting model for the computing resources that your application runs on. Possible compute options for your application include App Services, Functions, VM and Azure Fabric.

Data Storage

Azure also offers several ways store data.

Azure Storage

  • Cloud-based large-scale data store for persisting semi-structured and unstructured data in the cloud
  • Blob storage, table storage, queue storage

Azure SQL Database

  • Cloud-based relational database as a service
  • Based on SQL Server technologies
  • The easiest migration route if you’ve been using SQL Server in your on-premise solutions, and you want to migrate to the cloud


Networking is a critical component of any cloud infrastructure. IT teams need to connect resources and optimise application performance — all of which depends on solid network architecture.

Networking extends your on-premises networks into the Microsoft cloud over a private connection facilitated by a connectivity provider. Sends encrypted traffic between an Azure virtual network and an on-premises location over the public Internet. Optimises and automates branch connectivity to, and through, Azure

 Getting Started using Azure

You can start with an Azure free account.

This includes free access to our most popular Azure products for 12 months, $200 credit to spend for the first 30 days of sign up. You need a Microsoft ID, so use an existing one, or get a new one. But you will also have to enter credit card / VAT numbers. To manage your Azure account, use the Azure Management Portal.

This website allows you to create databases, storage, apps, VMs, etc, etc. It is very comprehensive but takes a while to get familiar with.

Enjoy your Azure Journey! Any comments on this blog appreciated.

Thanks to Andy Olsen for his excellent course slides

David Ringsell TalkIT 2020 ©

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