Microsoft Azure (a.k.a. Windows Azure), is an open services-based operating environment (cloud computing platform and infrastructure) announced October 2008.  Azure is described as Microsoft’s operating system for Cloud and is considered as both Platform as a Service (Paas) and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), where developers can build applications and host services on Microsoft’s data centers. Azure simplifies maintenance cycle and operating environments with on-demand compute and store. Infrastructure management is designed for high availability and dynamic scaling to match usage needs with the option of a pay-as-you-go pricing model. To avoid environment and service crash, scaling and reliability are controlled by Azure Fabric Controller that also provides memory resources management and load balancing.

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Azure supports Microsoft Visual Studio development environment and .NET Framework, in addition to more development environments, programming and scripting languages. In addition, Azure provides API built on top on open and standard-based environments (e.g. HTTP, XML, and REST) allowing developers to seamlessly interact with Azure cloud services besides client-side library which encapsulates interactions methods with Git and Eclipse. Besides APIs, Azure Portal is a web-based service allows users to monitor and browse active resources and data from services and active virtual machines.

Azure Service Bus, allows applications to communicate with Azure platform in a scalable fashion through four different types of communication scenarios: 1) Queues (one-directional channel). application would send the message to the service bus queue, and receiver would read from the queue; 2) Topics (pub-sub communication pattern) each subscriber will receive a copy of the message send to a Topic; 3) Relays (bi-directional channel) don’t store messages but directly passes them on to the destination application; 4) Eventhubs capture specific data according to certain user events.

Wide range of cloud resources and services is offered for users to pick what is appropriate and simply deploy his application; such services include computing (e.g. VM and containers), analytics (e.g. big data and data warehousing), storage(e.g. SQL and NoSQL), networking (e.g. Virtual networks, traffic management, and load-balancing) and Internet of Thing (IoT) services.

As IoT is strongly emerging to our daily lives, many cloud computing platforms realized the need to connect devices (e.g. sensors, home thermostat) to cloud services and get them accessible to cloud-based applications. Azure IoT Suite is a Microsoft solution takes advantage of Azure cloud capabilities and infrastructure to connect devices, collecting and analyzing data generated then representing it in human-usable forms. Azure IoT currently allows windows, android, Linux and iOS based devices to connect and start secure communication channel with the user’s back-end applications that reside Azure cloud.

Read more about Microsoft Azure from Azure

Check more about Azure IoT Suite from IoT-Suite