Chapter 1. Getting to know Windows Azure

This chapter covers

  • Overview of Windows Azure
  • Building your first Windows Azure web role
  • Windows Azure infrastructure
  • How Windows Azure implements core cloud concepts
  • Flagship Windows Azure platform services

Imagine a world where your applications were no longer constrained by hardware and you could consume whatever computing power you needed, when you needed it. More importantly, imagine a world where you paid only for the computing power that you used.

Now that your imagination is running wild, imagine you don’t need to care about managing hardware infrastructure and you can focus on the software that you develop. In this world, you can shift your focus from managing servers to managing applications.

If this is the sort of thing you daydream about, then you should burn your server farm and watch the smoke form into a cloud in the perfect azure sky. Welcome to the cloud, and welcome to Windows Azure. We also suggest that if this is the sort of thing you daydream about, you might want to lie to your non-IT friends.

We’ll slowly introduce lots of new concepts to you throughout this book, eventually giving you the complete picture about cloud computing. In this chapter, we’ll keep things relatively simple. As you get more comfortable with this new paradigm, and as the book progresses, we’ll introduce more of Azure’s complexities. To get the ball rolling, we’ll start by looking at the big Azure picture: the entire platform.

1.1. What’s the Windows Azure platform?

1.2. Building your first Windows Azure web application

1.3. Putting all the Azure pieces together

1.4. Storing data in the cloud with Azure

1.5. Why run in the cloud?

1.6. Inside the Windows Azure platform

1.7. Summary