Chapter 3. How Windows Azure works

This chapter covers

  • How Microsoft built Azure
  • What a cloud operating system is
  • How your application is provisioned and managed in the cloud

Now that you have a basic understanding of what you can do with Azure, let’s drill deeper into the pieces of Azure and how to best work with them. In this chapter, we’ll discuss how Windows Azure is architected and how it does the cloud magic that it does. Understanding this background will help you develop better services, be a better person, and get the most out of your Azure infrastructure.

3.1. The big shift

When Azure was first announced at the PDC in 2008, Microsoft wasn’t a recognized player in the cloud industry. It was the underdog to the giants Google and Amazon, which had been offering cloud services for years by that time. Building and deploying Azure was a big bet for Microsoft. It was a major change in the company’s direction, from where Microsoft had been and where it needed to go in the future. Up until that time, Microsoft had been a product company. It designed and built a product, burnt it to CD, and sold it to customers. Over time, the product was enhanced, but the product was installed and operated in the client’s environment. The trick was to build the right product at the right time, for the right market.

3.2. Windows Azure, an operating system for the cloud

3.3. The Fabric Controller

3.4. The service model and you

3.5. It’s not my fault

3.6. Rolling out new code

3.7. The bare metal

3.8. The innards of the web role VM

3.9. Summary