The Silent Ascension of Microsoft Azure Cloud

free-photo-cloud-957If you are developing, architecting or migrating on-prem apps to Azure, you really need to read this article unless you are follow Microsoft tech news!

For the past few months, Microsoft has released over 60+ features, enhancements, and services to its flagship Windows Azure Cloud offering and continues to do so. Recently, I was asked by a client who is in the midst of the cloud-inzation of their applications due mostly to aging hardware and costly VPN network gear common in IT shops today to deliver a workshop on Azure App Service. One of the feature which I focused on was the App Service. From the sound of it, a new App Service garners the perception is that it’s another Azure service, in other words a SaaS offering, however, that is not even close. Furthermore, all websites hosted in Azure will be or are converted into an App Service so you really need to know more about it.

So, what is NOT an App Service?

Just to clear up any misunderstanding, here is a partial list of what is NOT an App Service:  A stand-alone website. A Software-as-a-Service offering. A custom Virtual Machine you can RDP in to manage. A bunch of APIs for you App. An IIS-management portal for your App.

What IS an App Service?

An App Service is a Platform-as-a-Service and a very sophisticated one in terms of abstracting the complexities of hardware and OS for the developer and allows for easy-to-set performance variables. The App Service three main components:

  1. A Service Plan, and
  2. A Resource Group
  3. An App

A Service Plan: This used to be called the Website Hosting Plan. A Service Plan is comprised of the Compute Tier which is either Basic, Standard or Premium. They come pre-configured, you just need to specify the instance count. This allows you to scale as per the load you believe your app will handle. Auto-scale ready for you to configure. The key here, and the most important takeaway, is that you can have Service Plans for Production, Test, Dev, etc, and can move the app in and out of these Service Plans!

A Resource Group: This is where you will have all of your resources. If you need a database for example, you will create one and assign it to the resource group your app is in. Remember that you have to have your resources in the same Geo so you don’t incur extra charges. You need to have your RG ready before creating the App.

The App: This is the application which could one of the following or all of the following, a Web, Mobile, API and Logic Apps can be moved in and out of Resource Groups but have to be assigned to a Service Plan and can co-exist in the same plan and share the same scale you set at the start.

I hope you enjoyed the article and please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

 About Me:

I have over 22 years of experience in IT and a recent Masters Degree in Business Economics. My involvement in cloud computing dates back to 2005 when I was a PM for BizTalk Server and the group at the time planning and strategizing about how and what functionality to cloud-enable. The first incarnation of such functionality was the Service Bus offering. That was 10 years ago. Today’s BizTalk Services are the core to developing BizTalk application spanning multiple geographies and fully take advantage of the APIs made possible for consumption by the other Azure resources.


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