Azure Compute Services are a fundamental building block of the Microsoft Cloud. There are many compute services available in the Azure Portal and we will review a few of them here. The concept of compute in Azure refers to the services that are responsible for hosting and running production application workloads in the cloud. Some of the most common azure compute services include Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Container Instances, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Service Fabric, Azure Functions, and more.
Common Azure Compute Services
First, we’ll look at some of the more common services in Azure.
Azure Virtual Machines
Azure offers both Windows and Linux Virtual Machines. Virtual Machines are the most common type of compute service. At creation time, one can select the operating system, memory capacity, CPU, and storage space. The underlying hardware is shared among many customers. Deploy VMs with up to 416 vCPUs and 12 TB of memory. Up to 3.7 million local storage IOPS are available per VM. Blazing fast network speeds of 30 Gbps Ethernet and the cloud’s first offering of 200 Gbps InfiniBand is available.
Azure Container Instances
Azure offers containerized applications by way of Docker as a Service. Azure Container Instances make it possible for businesses to launch applications with no need to provision servers or virtual machines. Key points of Azure Container Instances:
- Run containers without managing servers
- Increase agility with containers on demand
- Secure applications with hypervisor isolation
- Elastic bursting with AKS
- Event-driven applications with Azure Logic Apps
- Data processing jobs
- Azure Container Instances enable elastic bursting for Azure Kubernetes Service
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
Azure offers the Azure Kubernetes Service or Kubernetes as a Service. This is an easy to deploy solution for managing and scaling containerized applications. AKS makes use of the open source Kubernetes K8 software stack.
- Accelerate containerized application development
- Increased operational efficiency
- Build on an enterprise-grade, more secure foundation
- Run any workload in the cloud, at the edge, or as a hybrid
- You can monitor health and availability of your Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cluster with Azure Monitor
Azure Service Fabric
Azure Service Fabric is a Tier 1 Enterprise Containers as a Service offering. It is a distributed systems platform the runs in both Azure and On-Premises. ASF is used to package, deploy, and manage scalable microservices.
- Simplify microservices development and lifecycle management
- Scale and orchestrate containers and microservices
- Data-aware platform for low-latency and high-throughput containers
- Your choice of languages and programming models
- Supports Windows/Linux in Azure, on-premises, or other clouds
- Scales to thousands of machines
Azure functions are event driven, serverless compute. In other words, one can run code without provisioning or managing virtual machines or even containers. Billing is only incurred during the time it takes the function to run so it can be very cost efficient.
- Simplify complex orchestration challenges
- Connect other services for faster solutions development
- Build once and deploy anywhere
- Choose Python, .NET, Node, Java, or Powershell
- Create reliable serverless applications with built-in security
Azure Batch is a compute service that plans, schedules and executes batch workloads across hundreds of jobs in parallel. One may also use Spot Virtual Machines, previously known as low priority VMs, to save on compute costs.
- Scale up to thousands of virtual machines
- Batch workloads and HPC applications are now cloud enabled
- Execute compute pipelines while staging data
- Linux or Windows can be used to run jobs
- Autoscale demand based on queue
- Pay as you go pricing
Azure Portal Compute Services
Here is a quick view of some of the compute services in the Azure Portal with a listing of the available Azure computing services.
- Virtual machines – Create a virtual machine that runs Linux or Windows. Select an image from the marketplace or use your own customized image.
- Virtual machines (classic) – The Azure Virtual Machine (classic) is based on the old Azure Service Management Model (ASM). Which revolved around the concept of a cloud service.
- Virtual machine scale sets – Create a virtual machine scale set to deploy and manage a load-balanced set of identical Windows or Linux virtual machines. Use autoscale to automatically scale virtual machine resources in and out.
- Function App – Azure Functions is a serverless solution that allows you to write less code, maintain less infrastructure, and save on costs.
- App Services – Create build and deploy powerful web, mobile, and API applications for employees or customers using a single back end. Build standards-based apps in Python, PHP, Node.js, Java, or .NET.
- Container instances – Use Azure Container Instances to create and manage Docker containers in Azure without having to set up virtual machines or manage infrastructure.
- Batch accounts – Use Azure Batch to run large-scale parallel and high-performance computing (HPC) batch jobs efficiently in Azure. Azure Batch creates and manages a pool of compute nodes (virtual machines), installs the applications you want to run, and schedules jobs to run on the nodes.
- Service Fabric clusters – Azure Service Fabric is a distributed systems platform that makes it easy to package, deploy, and manage scalable and reliable microservices and containers.
- Cloud services (classic) – Create a cloud service application. Upload your cloud service package and config file to define the OS and the number of virtual machine instances used to run the app.
- Kubernetes services – Azure Kubernetes can create and manage Kubernetes clusters. Azure will handle cluster operations like creating, scaling, and upgrading.
- Availability sets – An availability set is a logical grouping of VMs that allows Azure to understand how your application is built to provide for redundancy and availability.
- Disks (classic) – Create disks for persistent storage to use with classic virtual machines.
- OS images (classic) – OS Images today are generalized. This type of VM Image is meant to be used as a “model” to quickly stamp out similar virtual machines, such as scaling out a front-end to your application in production or spinning up and tearing down similar development and test environments quickly.
- VM images (classic) – VM Images as a more comprehensive image for Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines.
- Citrix Virtual Desktops Essentials – Citrix Virtual Desktops Essentials Service on Azure simplifies Windows 10 migration, expedites deployment, and streamlines ongoing management at scale while delivering a rich user experience.
- Citrix Virtual Apps Essentials – Citrix Virtual Apps Essentials securely delivers applications with enterprise-level security and scale your business needs.
- SAP HANA on Azure – SAP HANA on Azure (Large Instances) is a unique solution to Azure. In addition to providing virtual machines for deploying and running SAP HANA, Azure offers you the possibility to run and deploy SAP HANA on bare-metal servers that are dedicated to you.
- CloudSimple Virtual Machines – CloudSimple allows you to manage VMware virtual machines (VMs) from the Azure portal. A cluster or a resource pool from your vSphere cluster is managed through Azure by mapping it to your subscription.
- CloudSimple Services – Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple is a fully managed service that empowers you to run the VMware platform in Azure.
- CloudSimple Nodes – Nodes are the building blocks of a Private Cloud. A node is a dedicated bare metal compute host where a VMware ESXi hypervisor is installed
- Proximity placement groups – A proximity placement group is a logical grouping used to make sure that Azure compute resources are physically located close to each other. Proximity placement groups are useful for workloads where low latency is a requirement.
- Hosts – Azure Dedicated Host is a service that provides physical servers – able to host one or more virtual machines – dedicated to one Azure subscription. Dedicated hosts are the same physical servers used in our data centers, provided as a resource.
- Host groups – A host group is a resource that represents a collection of dedicated hosts. You create a host group in a region and an availability zone and add hosts to it.
- Azure Spring Cloud – Use Spring Cloud to bring modern microservice patterns to Spring Boot and Steeltoe .NET Core apps, eliminating boilerplate code to quickly develop robust apps in the cloud.
- Application groups – Azure Application Security Groups (ASG) are a new feature, currently in Preview, that allows for configuring network security using an application-centric approach within Network Security Groups.
- Maintenance Configurations – Get Configuration records within a subscription.
- Workspaces – The workspace is the top-level resource for Azure Machine Learning, providing a centralized place to work with all the artifacts you create when you use Azure Machine Learning.
Learn More About Azure Computing Services
- Azure Architecture Guide Technology Choices Compute Decision Tree (docs.microsoft.com)
- Top Azure Services (hizlabs.com)
- List Of Top Microsoft Azure Services (devopsschool.com)
- Azurecharts Azure Services Overview (azurecharts.com)