Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure (formerly Windows Azure /ˈæʒər/) is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft for building, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. It provides software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Azure was announced in October 2008, started with codename "Project Red Dog",[1] and released on February 1, 2010, as "Windows Azure" before being renamed "Microsoft Azure" on March 25, 2014.[2][3]

Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure Logo
Initial releaseFebruary 1, 2010
Operating systemLinux, Microsoft Windows
LicenseClosed source for platform, Open source for client SDKs


Microsoft lists over 600 Azure services,[4] of which some are covered below:


  • Virtual machines, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) allowing users to launch general-purpose Microsoft Windows and Linux virtual machines, as well as preconfigured machine images for popular software packages.[5]
  • App services, platform as a service (PaaS) environment letting developers easily publish and manage websites.
  • Websites, high density hosting of websites allows developers to build sites using ASP.NET, PHP, Node.js, or Python and can be deployed using FTP, Git, Mercurial, Team Foundation Server or uploaded through the user portal. This feature was announced in preview form in June 2012 at the Meet Microsoft Azure event.[6] Customers can create websites in PHP, ASP.NET, Node.js, or Python, or select from several open source applications from a gallery to deploy. This comprises one aspect of the platform as a service (PaaS) offerings for the Microsoft Azure Platform. It was renamed to Web Apps in April 2015.[2][7]
  • WebJobs, applications that can be deployed to an App Service environment to implement background processing that can be invoked on a schedule, on demand, or run continuously. The Blob, Table and Queue services can be used to communicate between WebApps and WebJobs and to provide state.

Mobile services

  • Mobile Engagement collects real-time analytics that highlight users’ behavior. It also provides push notifications to mobile devices.[8]
  • HockeyApp can be used to develop, distribute, and beta-test mobile apps.[9]

Storage services

  • Storage Services provides REST and SDK APIs for storing and accessing data on the cloud.
  • Table Service lets programs store structured text in partitioned collections of entities that are accessed by partition key and primary key. It's a NoSQL non-relational database.
  • Blob Service allows programs to store unstructured text and binary data as blobs that can be accessed by a HTTP(S) path. Blob service also provides security mechanisms to control access to data.
  • Queue Service lets programs communicate asynchronously by message using queues.
  • File Service allows storing and access of data on the cloud using the REST APIs or the SMB protocol.[10]

Data management

  • Azure Search provides text search and a subset of OData's structured filters using REST or SDK APIs.
  • Cosmos DB is a NoSQL database service that implements a subset of the SQL SELECT statement on JSON documents.
  • Redis Cache is a managed implementation of Redis.
  • StorSimple manages storage tasks between on-premises devices and cloud storage.[11]
  • SQL Database, formerly known as SQL Azure Database, works to create, scale and extend applications into the cloud using Microsoft SQL Server technology. It also integrates with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center and Hadoop.[12]
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a fully managed cloud data warehouse for enterprises of any size that combines lightning-fast query performance with industry-leading data security[13].
  • Azure Data Factory, is a data integration service that allows creation of data-driven workflows in the cloud for orchestrating and automating data movement and data transformation.[14]
  • Azure Data Lake is a scalable data storage and analytic service for big data analytics workloads that require developers to run massively parallel queries.
  • Azure HDInsight[15] is a big data relevant service, that deploys Hortonworks Hadoop on Microsoft Azure, and supports the creation of Hadoop clusters using Linux with Ubuntu.
  • Azure Stream Analytics is a Serverless scalable event processing engine that enables users to develop and run real-time analytics on multiple streams of data from sources such as devices, sensors, web sites, social media, and other applications.


The Microsoft Azure Service Bus allows applications running on Azure premises or off premises devices to communicate with Azure. This helps to build scalable and reliable applications in a service-oriented architecture (SOA). The Azure service bus supports four different types of communication mechanisms:[16][17]

  • Event Hubs, which provide event and telemetry ingress to the cloud at massive scale, with low latency and high reliability. For example an event hub can be used to track data from cell phones such as a GPS location coordinate in real time[18].
  • Queues, which allow one-directional communication. A sender application would send the message to the service bus queue, and a receiver would read from the queue. Though there can be multiple readers for the queue only one would process a single message.
  • Topics, which provide one-directional communication using a subscriber pattern. It is similar to a queue, however each subscriber will receive a copy of the message sent to a Topic. Optionally the subscriber can filter out messages based on specific criteria defined by the subscriber.
  • Relays, which provide bi-directional communication. Unlike queues and topics, a relay doesn't store in-flight messages in its own memory. Instead, it just passes them on to the destination application.

Media services

A PaaS offering that can be used for encoding, content protection, streaming, or analytics.


A global content delivery network (CDN) for audio, video, applications, images, and other static files. It can be used to cache static assets of websites geographically closer to users to increase performance. The network can be managed by a REST based HTTP API.

Azure has 54 point of presence locations worldwide (also known as Edge locations) as of August 2018.[19]


  • Application Insights
  • Azure DevOps


  • Azure Automation, provides a way for users to automate the manual, long-running, error-prone, and frequently repeated tasks that are commonly performed in a cloud and enterprise environment. It saves time and increases the reliability of regular administrative tasks and even schedules them to be automatically performed at regular intervals. You can automate processes using runbooks or automate configuration management using Desired State Configuration.[20]
  • Microsoft SMA

Machine learning

  • Microsoft Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML) service is part of Cortana Intelligence Suite that enables predictive analytics and interaction with data using natural language and speech through Cortana.[21]
  • Cognitive Services (formerly Project Oxford) are a set of APIs, SDKs and services available to developers to make their applications more intelligent, engaging and discoverable.


Azure functions are used in serverless computing architectures where subscribers can execute code as a Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) without managing the underlying server resources.[22]


  • Azure IoT Hub lets you connect, monitor, and manage billions of IoT assets. On February 4, 2016, Microsoft announced the General Availability of the Azure IoT Hub service.[23]
  • Azure IoT Edge is a fully managed service built on Iot Hub that allows for cloud intelligence deployed locally on IoT edge devices.
  • Azure IoT Central is a fully managed SaaS app that makes it easy to connect, monitor, and manage IoT assets at scale[24]. On December 5, 2017, Microsoft announced the Public Preview of Azure IoT Central; its Azure IoT SaaS service.[25]
  • On October 4, 2017, Microsoft began shipping GA versions of the official Microsoft Azure IoT Developer Kit (DevKit) board; manufactured by MXChip.[26]
  • On April 16, 2018, Microsoft announced the launch of the Azure Sphere, an end-to-end IoT product that focuses on microcontroller-based devices and uses Linux.[27]
  • On June 27, 2018, Microsoft launched Azure IoT Edge, used to run Azure services and artificial intelligence on IoT devices.[28]
  • On November 20, 2018, Microsoft launched the Open Enclave SDK for cross-platform systems such as Arm TrustZone and Intel SGX.[29]

Regional expansion and examples

Azure is generally available in 42 regions around the world. Microsoft has announced an additional 12 regions to be opened soon (as of October 2018).[30] Microsoft is the first hyper-scale cloud provider that has committed to building facilities on the continent of Africa with two regions located in South Africa.[31] An Azure geography contains multiple Azure Regions, such as example “North Europe” (Dublin, Ireland), “West Europe” (Amsterdam, Netherlands). Where a location represents the city or area of the Azure Region. Each Azure Region is paired with another region within the same geography; this makes them a regional pair. In this example, Amsterdam and Dublin are the locations which form the regional-pair.[1]

Microsoft has some Gold partners available across the globe to sell its products. In August 2018, Toyota Tsusho began a partnership with Microsoft to create fish farming tools using the Microsoft Azure application suite for IoT technologies related to water management. Developed in part by researchers from Kindai University, the water pump mechanisms use artificial intelligence to count the number of fish on a conveyor belt, analyze the number of fish, and deduce the effectiveness of water flow from the data the fish provide. The specific computer programs used in the process fall under the Azure Machine Learning and the Azure IoT Hub platforms.[32]


Microsoft Azure uses a specialized operating system, called Microsoft Azure, to run its "fabric layer":[33] a cluster hosted at Microsoft's data centers that manages computing and storage resources of the computers and provisions the resources (or a subset of them) to applications running on top of Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure has been described as a "cloud layer" on top of a number of Windows Server systems, which use Windows Server 2008 and a customized version of Hyper-V, known as the Microsoft Azure Hypervisor to provide virtualization of services.[34]

Scaling and reliability are controlled by the Microsoft Azure Fabric Controller[35], which ensures the services and environment do not fail if one or more of the servers fails within the Microsoft data center, and which also provides the management of the user's Web application such as memory allocation and load balancing.[36]

Azure provides an API built on REST, HTTP, and XML that allows a developer to interact with the services provided by Microsoft Azure. Microsoft also provides a client-side managed class library that encapsulates the functions of interacting with the services. It also integrates with Microsoft Visual Studio, Git, and Eclipse.[37][38][39]

In addition to interacting with services via API, users can manage Azure services using the Web-based Azure Portal, which reached General Availability in December 2015.[40] The portal allows users to browse active resources, modify settings, launch new resources, and view basic monitoring data from active virtual machines and services. More advanced Azure management services are available.[41]

Deployment models

Microsoft Azure offers two deployment models for cloud resources: the "classic" deployment model and the Azure Resource Manager.[42] In the classic model, each Azure resource (virtual machine, SQL database, etc.) was managed individually. The Azure Resource Manager, introduced in 2014,[42] enables users to create groups of related services so that closely coupled resources can be deployed, managed, and monitored together.[43]


Ray Ozzie PDC2008
Ray Ozzie announcing Windows Azure at PDC 2008, October 27
  • October 2008 (PDC LA) – Announced the Windows Azure Platform[44]
  • March 2009 – Announced SQL Azure Relational Database
  • November 2009 – Updated Windows Azure CTP, Enabled full trust, PHP, Java, CDN CTP and more
  • February 1, 2010 – Windows Azure Platform commercially available[45][46]
  • June 2010 – Windows Azure Update, .NET Framework 4, OS Versioning, CDN, SQL Azure Update[47]
  • October 2010 (PDC) – Platform enhancements, Windows Azure Connect, improved Dev / IT Pro Experience.
  • December 2011 – Traffic manager, SQL Azure reporting, HPC scheduler
  • June 2012 – Websites, Virtual machines for Windows and Linux, Python SDK, new portal, locally redundant storage
  • April 2014 – Windows Azure renamed to Microsoft Azure[2], ARM Portal introduced at Build 2014.
  • July 2014 – Azure Machine Learning public preview[48]
  • November 2014 – Outage affecting major websites including[49]
  • September 2015 – Azure Cloud Switch introduced as a cross-platform Linux distribution.[50]
  • December, 2015 – Azure ARM Portal (codename "Ibiza") released.[51]
  • March, 2016 - Azure Service Fabric is Generally Available (GA)[52]
  • September 2017 – Microsoft Azure gets a new logo and a Manifesto[53]
  • July 16, 2018 - Azure Service Fabric Mesh public preview[54]
  • September 24, 2018 - Microsoft Azure IoT Central is Generally Available (GA)[55]
  • October 10, 2018 - Microsoft joins the Linux-oriented group Open Invention Network.[56]


Microsoft has stated that, per the USA Patriot Act, the US government could have access to the data even if the hosted company is not American and the data resides outside the USA.[57] However, Microsoft Azure is compliant with the E.U. Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC).[58][59] To manage privacy and security-related concerns, Microsoft has created a Microsoft Azure Trust Center,[60] and Microsoft Azure has several of its services compliant with several compliance programs including ISO 27001:2005 and HIPAA. A full and current listing can be found on the Microsoft Azure Trust Center Compliance page.[61] Of special note, Microsoft Azure has been granted JAB Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) from the U.S. government in accordance with guidelines spelled out under the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), a U.S. government program that provides a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud services used by the federal government.[62]

Significant outages

The following is a list of Microsoft Azure outages and service disruptions.

Date Cause Notes
2012-02-29 Incorrect code for calculating leap day dates[63]
2012-07-26 Misconfigured network device[64][65]
2013-02-22 Expiry of an SSL certificate[66] Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Video also affected[67]
2013-10-30 Worldwide partial compute outage[68]
2014-11-18 Azure storage upgrade caused reduced capacity across several regions[69] Xbox Live, Windows Store, MSN, Search, Visual Studio Online among others were affected.[70]
2015-12-03 Active Directory issues[71]
2016-09-15 Global DNS outage[72]
2017-03-15 Storage tier issues[73]
2017-10-03 Fire system glitch[74]
2018-06-20 Cooling system failure[75] North Europe region experienced 11 hours of downtime
2018-09-04 Cooling system failure due to inadequate surge protection (lightning strike)[76] Brought down numerous services in multiple regions for over 25 hours, with some services remaining affected until three days later


  • Microsoft Azure certifications

Key people

  • Mark Russinovich, CTO, Microsoft Azure[77]
  • Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group in Microsoft
  • Jason Zander, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Azure[78]
  • Julia White, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure[79]

See also


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  2. ^ a b c "Upcoming Name Change for Windows Azure". Microsoft Azure. March 24, 2014. Archived from the original on March 24, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
  3. ^ Tharakan, Anya George and Dastin, Jeffery (October 20, 2016). "Microsoft shares hit high as cloud business flies above estimates". Rueters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  4. ^ Directory of Azure Cloud Services,
  5. ^ "How to monitor Microsoft Azure VMs". Datadog. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Meet Windows Azure event June 2012". June 7, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  7. ^ "Web App Service - Microsoft Azure". Microsoft.
  8. ^ "Mobile Engagement - Microsoft Azure". Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  9. ^ "HockeyApp - Microsoft Azure". Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  10. ^ "File Storage". Microsoft. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  11. ^ Hassell, Jonathan (September 3, 2014). "Microsoft's StorSimple: A first look at the 8000 series". Computerworld.
  12. ^ "Azure and CONNX". CONNX. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  13. ^ "SQL Data Warehouse | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  14. ^ </ "Introduction to Azure Data Factory". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "HDInsight | Cloud Hadoop". Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  16. ^ "Sanitization". Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  17. ^ sethmanheim. "Overview of Azure Service Bus fundamentals". Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "Event Hubs". Retrieved November 21, 2018.
  19. ^ "Azure Regions | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  20. ^ eamonoreilly. "Azure Automation Overview". Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  21. ^ "Why Cortana Intelligence?". Microsoft.
  22. ^ "What is Microsoft Azure Functions? - Definition from". SearchCloudComputing. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  23. ^ "Azure IoT Hub general availability overview". Microsoft. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  24. ^ "IoT Central | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  25. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Microsoft delivers public preview of its new Azure IoT software as a service". ZDNet. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  26. ^ Pietschmann, Chris. "Azure IoT Developer Kits (AZ3166) Have Arrived". Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  27. ^ "Microsoft built its own custom Linux kernel for its new IoT service – TechCrunch". Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  28. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Microsoft's Azure IoT Edge, now generally available, is key to Redmond's IoT strategy | ZDNet". ZDNet. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  29. ^ "Microsoft's edgy Open Enclave SDK goes cross platform".
  30. ^ "Azure Regions | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  31. ^ "Microsoft beats Google and Amazon to announce first African data centers, kicking off in 2018". VentureBeat. May 18, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  32. ^ "Google goes bilingual, Facebook fleshes out translation and TensorFlow is dope - And, Microsoft is assisting fish farmers in Japan".
  33. ^ "What is Windows Azure Fabric Controller (FC)? - Definition from". SearchCloudComputing. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  34. ^ Petertaylor9999. "Enterprise Cloud Adoption: How does Azure work?". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  35. ^ Petertaylor9999. "Enterprise Cloud Adoption: How does Azure work?". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  36. ^ Petertaylor9999. "Enterprise Cloud Adoption: How does Azure work?". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  37. ^ "Azure Repos – Git Repositories | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  38. ^ "Microsoft Azure Developer Tools | Microsoft Azure". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  39. ^ rmcmurray. "Azure Toolkit for Eclipse". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  40. ^ Welicki, Leon. "Announcing Azure Portal general availability". Microsoft. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  41. ^ "Azure Management Software". ParkMyCloud. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  42. ^ a b FitzMacken, Tom. "Azure Resource Manager vs. classic deployment". Microsoft. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  43. ^ FitzMacken, Tom. "Azure Resource Manager overview". Microsoft. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
  44. ^ "Ray Ozzie announces Windows Azure". ZDNet. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
  45. ^ "Windows Azure General Availability". February 1, 2010.
  46. ^ Pietschmann, Chris. "Happy 7th Birthday Microsoft Azure!". Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  47. ^ "SQL Azure SU3 is Now Live and Available in 6 Datacenters Worldwide". SQL Azure Team Blog. Microsoft. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  48. ^ "Microsoft Azure Machine Learning combines power of comprehensive machine learning with benefits of cloud". June 16, 2014.
  49. ^ "Human Error Caused Microsoft Azure Outage". December 20, 2014.
  50. ^ "Microsoft demonstrates its Linux-based Azure Cloud Switch operating system". September 18, 2015.
  51. ^ "Announcing Azure Portal general availability".
  52. ^ Fussell, Mark. "Azure Service Fabric is GA!". Microsoft. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  53. ^ "Microsoft Azure gets a new Logo and a Manifesto". Build Azure. September 26, 2017. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  54. ^ Daniel, Chacko. "Azure Service Fabric is now in public preview". Microsoft Azure. Microsoft. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  55. ^ "Azure IoT Central is now available". Microsoft Azure. Microsoft. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  56. ^ "Microsoft has signed up to the Open Invention Network. We repeat. Microsoft has signed up to the OIN".
  57. ^ Toor, Amar (June 30, 2011). "Microsoft: European cloud data may not be immune to the Patriot Act". Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  58. ^ "EU data privacy authorities approve Microsoft Azure", April 15, 2014,
  59. ^ "The collapse of the US-EU Safe Harbor", October 20, 2015, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer,
  60. ^ "Microsoft Azure Trust Center". Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  61. ^ "Microsoft Azure Trust Center Compliance". Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  62. ^ "FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Systems". Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  63. ^ "Summary of Windows Azure Service Disruption on Feb 29th, 2012". March 9, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  64. ^ "Windows Azure outage hits Europe". July 26, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  65. ^ "Microsoft pins Azure outage on network miscue". July 27, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  66. ^ Microsoft’s Azure storage service goes down, locking out corporate customers from their data Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  67. ^ Bishop, Bryan. "Xbox Live and Windows Azure suffering from extended outages". Retrieved June 27, 2013.
  68. ^ "Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud hit by worldwide management interuption [sic]". October 31, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  69. ^ Zander, Jason. "Update on Azure Storage Service Interruption". Microsoft. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  70. ^ Foley, Mary J. "Microsoft says Storage service performance update brought Azure down". ZD.NET. Retrieved December 5, 2014.
  71. ^ "European Office 365 and Microsoft Azure users hit by service outage". Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  72. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Global DNS outage hits Microsoft Azure customers - ZDNet". Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  73. ^ "Microsoft confirms Azure storage issues around the world (updated)". March 16, 2017. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  74. ^ "Microsoft Says Azure Outage Caused by Accidental Fire-Suppression Gas Release". October 4, 2017. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  75. ^ "Microsoft Azure suffers major outage". Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  76. ^ Foley, Mary Jo. "Microsoft South Central U.S. datacenter outage takes down a number of cloud services - ZDNet". Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  77. ^ "Mark Russinovich - Blog - Microsoft Azure".
  78. ^ "Jason Zander - Blog - Microsoft Azure".
  79. ^ "Julia White - Blog - Microsoft Azure".

Further reading

External links


21Vianet Group claims to be the largest carrier-neutral Internet and data center service provider in China. It is the exclusive operator of Microsoft Azure and Office 365 services in China, and also houses data centers for IBM and others.

Amazon Redshift

Amazon Redshift is an Internet hosting service and data warehouse product which forms part of the larger cloud-computing platform Amazon Web Services. It is built on top of technology from the massive parallel processing (MPP) data warehouse company ParAccel (later acquired by Actian), to handle large scale data sets and database migrations. Redshift differs from Amazon's other hosted database offering, Amazon RDS, in its ability to handle analytic workloads on big data data sets stored by a column-oriented DBMS principle.

Amazon Redshift is based on an older version of PostgreSQL 8.0.2, and Redshift has made changes to that version. An initial preview beta was released in November 2012 and a full release was made available on February 15, 2013. The service can handle connections from most other applications using ODBC and JDBC connections.According to Cloud Data Warehouse report published by Forrester in Q4 2018, Amazon Redshift has the largest Cloud data warehouse deployments, with more than 6,500 deployments. In 2018, Redshift came second in a industry wide benchmark test run by Gigaom, behind Microsoft Azure, but ahead of Google BigQuery and Snowflake Computing.

Amazon has listed a number of business intelligence software proprietors as partners and tested tools in their "APN Partner" program, including Actian, Actuate Corporation, Alteryx, Dundas Data Visualization, IBM Cognos, InetSoft, Infor, Logi Analytics, Looker (company), MicroStrategy, Pentaho, Qlik, SiSense, Tableau Software, and Yellowfin. Partner companies providing data integration tools include Informatica and SnapLogic. System integration and consulting partners include Accenture, Deloitte, Capgemini and DXC Technology.

Apache MXNet

Apache MXNet is an open-source deep learning software framework, used to train, and deploy deep neural networks. It is scalable, allowing for fast model training, and supports a flexible programming model and multiple programming languages (including C++, Python, Julia, Matlab, JavaScript, Go, R, Scala, Perl, and Wolfram Language.)

The MXNet library is portable and can scale to multiple GPUs and multiple machines. MXNet is supported by public cloud providers including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. Amazon has chosen MXNet as its deep learning framework of choice at AWS. Currently, MXNet is supported by Intel, Dato, Baidu, Microsoft, Wolfram Research, and research institutions such as Carnegie Mellon, MIT, the University of Washington, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.


Azure may refer to:

Azure (color), a hue of blue

Shades of azure, shades and variations

Azure (barley), a malting barley variety

Azure (design magazine), Toronto, Ontario

Azure (magazine), a periodical on Jewish thought and identity

Azure (heraldry), a blue tincture on flags or coats of arms

Azure (album), an album by jazz flugelhornist Art Farmer

"Azure" (song), by Duke Ellington

Azure, Alberta, a locality in Canada

Azure, Montana, a census-designated place in the United States

Azure Window, a former natural arch in Malta

Bentley Azure, a car

Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform

Mozilla Azure, a graphics abstraction API

Azure Sphere

Azure Sphere is a Linux-based operating system created by Microsoft for Internet of Things applications. It is the first time Microsoft has publicly released an operating system running the Linux kernel and the second Unix-like operating system that the company has developed for external (public) users – the other being Xenix. The name is derived from Microsoft Azure services.

The first supported processor is the ARM based MediaTek MT3620.


IBM Bluemix is a cloud platform as a service (PaaS) developed by IBM. It supports several programming languages and services as well as integrated DevOps to build, run, deploy and manage applications on the cloud. Bluemix is based on Cloud Foundry open technology and runs on SoftLayer infrastructure. Bluemix supports several programming languages including Java, Node.js, Go, PHP, Swift, Python, Ruby Sinatra, Ruby on Rails and can be extended to support other languages such as Scala through the use of buildpacks.

Chef (software)

Chef is a company and the name of a configuration management tool written in Ruby and Erlang. It uses a pure-Ruby, domain-specific language (DSL) for writing system configuration "recipes". Chef is used to streamline the task of configuring and maintaining a company's servers, and can integrate with cloud-based platforms such as Internap, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle Cloud, OpenStack, SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, and Rackspace to automatically provision and configure new machines. Chef contains solutions for both small and large scale systems, with features and pricing for the respective ranges.

Citrix Cloud

Citrix Cloud is a cloud management platform that allows organizations to deploy cloud-hosted desktops and apps to end users. It was developed by Citrix Systems and released in 2015.

Cloud database

A cloud database is a database that typically runs on a cloud computing platform, and access to the database is provided as-a-service.

Database services take care of scalability and high availability of the database. Database services make the underlying software-stack transparent to the user.

F5 Networks

F5 Networks, Inc. is a global company that specializes in application services and application delivery networking (ADN). F5 technologies focus on the delivery, security, performance, and availability of web applications, as well as the availability of servers, cloud resources, data storage devices, and other networking components. F5 is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with additional development, manufacturing, and sales/marketing offices worldwide.

Known originally for its load balancing product, today F5's product and services line has expanded into all things related to the delivery of applications, including local load balancing and acceleration, global (DNS based) load balancing and acceleration, security through web application firewall and application authentication and access products, DDoS defense. F5 technologies are available in the data center and the cloud, including private, public, and multi-cloud environments based on platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and OpenStack.

Function as a service

Function as a service (FaaS) is a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage application functionalities without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app. Building an application following this model is one way of achieving a "serverless" architecture, and is typically used when building microservices applications.

FaaS was initially offered by various start-ups circa 2010, such as PiCloud.AWS Lambda, was the first FaaS offering by a large public cloud vendor, followed by Google Cloud Functions, Microsoft Azure Functions, IBM/Apache's OpenWhisk (open source) in 2016 and Oracle Cloud Fn (open source) in 2017.


iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service from Apple Inc. launched on October 12, 2011. As of 2018, the service had an estimated 850 million users, up from 782 million users in 2016.iCloud enables users to store data such as documents, photos, and music on remote servers for download to iOS, macOS or Windows devices, to share and send data to other users, and to manage their Apple devices if lost or stolen.

iCloud also provides the means to wirelessly back up iOS devices directly to iCloud, instead of being reliant on manual backups to a host Mac or Windows computer using iTunes. Service users are also able to share photos, music, and games instantly by linking accounts via AirDrop wireless.

iCloud replaced Apple's MobileMe service, acting as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, reminders (to-do lists), iWork documents, photos, and other data.

Apple has eleven company owned and operated data centers supporting iCloud services. The company has six data centers in the United States, two in Denmark, and three in Asia. One of Apple's original iCloud data centers is located in Maiden, North Carolina, US.Beginning in 2011, iCloud is based on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure (Apple iOS Security white paper published in 2014, Apple acknowledged that encrypted iOS files are stored in Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure). In 2016, Apple signed a deal with Google to use Google Cloud Platform for some iCloud services.In October 2016, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on project Pie which aims to improve the speed and experience of Apple's online services by being operated more directly by Apple. Also it was reported that Apple was going to relocate all of its services employees to the Apple Campus (1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California), as many other employees would be moving to the Apple Park.


mLab is a fully managed cloud database service that hosts MongoDB databases. mLab runs on cloud providers Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure, and has partnered with platform-as-a-service providers.

In May 2011, mLab secured $3 million in first-round funding from Foundry Group, Baseline Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Freestyle Capital and David Cohen.In October 2012, mLab received a follow-on investment of $5 million and shortly thereafter, mLab was named by Network World as one of the 10 most useful cloud databases along with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud SQL, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, and others.

In June 2014, MongoDB Inc. announced a fully managed highly available MongoDB-as-a-Service Add-On offering on the Microsoft Azure store. The offering is delivered in collaboration with Microsoft and mLab.In February 2016, mLab changed its name from MongoLab to mLab to expand into new areas and products.In October 2018, mLab announced that it will be acquired by MongoDB Inc., citing reasons of a shared vision and engineering culture. All engineers at mLab have been invited to join MongoDB Inc. All of mLab's customers will be transitioned to MongoDB Atlas instances. The acquisition "is expected to close in the fourth quarter of MongoDB’s fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2019".

Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching

Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching or simply Azure Dev Tools for Teaching is a Microsoft program to provide students with software design and development tools at free of cost. The program is available for university/college and K-12 students in more than 120 countries.It has formerly been known as Microsoft Imagine, DreamSpark and MSDN-AA.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database

Microsoft Azure SQL Database (formerly SQL Azure, SQL Server Data Services, SQL Services, and Windows Azure SQL Database) is a managed cloud database (SaaS) provided as part of Microsoft Azure.

A cloud database is a database that runs on a cloud computing platform, and access to it is provided as a service. Managed database services take care of scalability, backup, and high availability of the database. Azure SQL Database is a managed database service which is different from AWS RDS which is a container service.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database includes built-in intelligence that learns app patterns and adapts to maximize performance, reliability, and data protection.

It was originally announced in 2009 and released in 2010.

Key capabilities include:

Continuous learning of your unique app patterns, adaptive performance tuning, and automatic improvements to reliability and data protection

Scaling as needed, with virtually no app downtime

Management and monitoring of multitenant apps with isolation benefits of one-customer-per-database

Leverage open source tools like cheetah, sql-cli, VS Code and Microsoft tools like Visual Studio and SQL Server Management Studio, Azure Management Portal, PowerShell, and REST APIs

Data protection with encryption, authentication, limiting user access to the appropriate subset of the data, continuous monitoring and auditing to help detect potential threats and provide a record of critical events in case of a breach

Microsoft Azure Web Sites

Microsoft Azure Web Sites is a cloud computing based platform for hosting websites, created and operated by Microsoft. Microsoft Azure Web Sites is a platform as a service (PaaS) which allows publishing Web apps running on multiple frameworks and written in different programming languages (.NET, node.js, PHP, Python and Java), including Microsoft proprietary ones and 3rd party ones. Microsoft Azure Web Sites became available in its first preview version in June 2012, and an official version ("General Availability") was announced in June 2013. Microsoft Azure Web Sites was originally named Windows Azure Web Sites, but was renamed as part of a re-branding move across Azure in March 2014. It was subsequently renamed "App Services" in March 2015.


Nasuni is a privately held cloud storage company with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. It was founded in 2008, and has raised approximately $120M, with the last funding a $38M investment by Goldman Sachs.The firm's storage software uses object storage, local file caching appliances, and the company's proprietary UniFS global file system to offer a hybrid cloud solution for Network Attached Storage. Nasuni integrates with public cloud storage platforms, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, and private cloud storage platforms such as IBM Cloud Object Storage and EMC Elastic Cloud Storage (ECS). Such storage platforms provide an object-based storage infrastructure, on top of which UniFS creates a complete versioned file system. The Nasuni platform stores customer data as a sequence of snapshots that include every version of every file. The firm has demonstrated the ability to store more than one billion objects in a single storage volume.Nasuni Edge Appliances run on-premises to provide shared access to active files. These Appliances can be virtual, running on existing infrastructure (including VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V), or physical, running on hardware offered by Nasuni. The appliances can also run in the cloud as a Microsoft Azure or Amazon EC2 virtual appliance. Hardware appliance choices include systems with solid-state drives.Nasuni holds a number of patents for technologies that support the Nasuni enterprise file services platform, including:

A cached file system that stores data and metadata in a cloud object store .

A cloud service that coordinates management of file locks across multiple locations to enable collaboration without file conflict.

A cloud service that coordinates the creation of versions of a shared volume across multiple locations .

A versioned file system with fast restore .

Scott Guthrie

Scott Guthrie is an Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group in Microsoft. He is best known for his work on ASP.NET, which he and colleague Mark Anders developed while at Microsoft.He runs the Microsoft Azure (formerly known as Windows Azure) team as well as the development teams that build Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Active Directory, System Center, Visual Studio and .NET.

Guthrie graduated with a degree in computer science from Duke University. Following this, he chose to focus on his major and joined Microsoft in 1997. He frequently presents wearing a signature red shirt and speaks at many of the major Microsoft conferences.

In October 2016, Guthrie unveiled the capabilities of Microsoft’s Azure-based Dynamics 365 service in a demo at a Summit conference in Tampa, Florida.


Unit4 is a software company that designs and delivers enterprise software and ERP applications and related professional services for people in services organizations, with a special focus on the professional services, education, public services, and not-for-profit sectors.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, it has subsidiaries and offices in 26 countries across Europe, North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.

The company is best known for its Unit4 Business World (formerly Agresso) ERP suite and Unit4 Financials (formerly Coda) accounting software. In 2015, Unit4 announced a partnership with Microsoft to build self-driving business applications on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Unit4 is the major shareholder of, a cloud applications company based in San Francisco.

As a service
WinFabric layer
AppFabric layer
Services layer
Online applications
Major Internet companies
Largest Internet companies
Cloud computing
E-commerce only

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