The Azure Guide/Introduction
Here, we present a brief overview on what Azure is all about.
Azure is most well known for its cloud services - it powers Office 365 to start with, and also offers a host of virtual machine facilities that can be run on the cloud. But it also offers a variety of other features, for example,
- AI and machine learning
- Speech and text recognition
- Databases (SQL and Azure Databricks)
- Web services
- AD (Active Directory services)
and so on
There are a wide variety of reasons as to why someone might want to use Azure. Consider the following scenarios:
- A user wants to run a task which requires high computational power. Instead of having to upgrade what they have, they can easily create an Azure VM to be used for that period of time. When his task is done, the VM can be quickly deleted.
- Applications requiring Windows Server 2008 or 2008 R2 at Azure will benefit from the former's free extended security updates under it.
-  is a compelling option for applications which require Windows 7 (due to the same reason as mentioned above)
- A user wants to use speech or text functionality within their application. They can easily make use of Azure's speech SDKs, and as they are online, do not need to be packed within the application.
Azure is generally not free, with most services being provided through a subscription or as a PAYG (Pay as you Go) model. However, there are several ways for users to use Azure services for free:
- Azure for Students - Gives $100 of credit that can be used for a year; only students are eligible however.
- Azure Free - provides $200 of credit for a year. However, a credit card is required.
Note that the Azure name can be used even in cases where there is no direct relevance: Azure Dev tools for teaching being an example. Formerly called Imagine Standard/Premium, while it is a very useful program which provides free access to valuable tools like Visual Studio and Windows 10, it does not provide Azure credit by itself.
See External links.