Microsoft has had its Azure cloud services for years, however most enterprises really don’t know how Azure can help their organization. Much of it has to do with Microsoft having released Azure long ago with today’s perception of the service based on what Azure did years ago. It also doesn’t help that Azure does a LOT of different things, so for someone to get their arms around how Azure can help them is like roaming around aimlessly in a grocery store trying to figure out what to make for dinner.
Microsoft Azure provides everything from:
- Raw virtual machines that organizations can build their own Windows or Linux guest sessions and load up whatever they want (Infrastructure as a Service).
- A Platform as a Service (PaaS) coding space where developers can upload their Microsoft .NET code and run applications up in Azure.
- A Software as a Service (SaaS) application space to do predictive learning and data analytics as a service (Azure ML (Machine Learning)).
- Raw website space where an organization can upload their Web content and have Microsoft host their web services.
The focus of this article is leveraging Microsoft Azure as an agile and elastic workspace where a development team can build virtually an unlimited number of virtual machines (Windows or Linux), develop code (.NET, Python, C#, Ruby, Bash, Perl), manage the target development systems (using System Center, Puppet, Chef, PowerShell), address Application Lifecycle Management (using Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Online, GIT), and plug-in a variety of commonly leveraged applications (Apache, SQL, Octopus Deploy, Docker, Oracle), etc.
The key thing from a development platform perspective is that most developers don’t think of Microsoft Azure as a target for building Linux farms, managing with Puppet and Chef, and doing common development tasks in non-Windows platforms.
CCO consultants Rand Morimoto and Guy Yardeni released a book titled “Maximizing Microsoft’s Azure for Dev, Test, and DevOps Scenarios” (2014) that covers the broad range uses of Azure for application development for not only Microsoft-based solutions, but also the depth of services available in Azure for non-Microsoft solutions.
And for technical demos on Microsoft Azure as a development platform including demos and guidance on implementing and supporting Puppet, Chef, Desired State Configuration (DSC), and the like, Microsoft hosted a series of 1-hour training sessions and posted the content here.