Windows Azure

A quick overview of Windows Azure and what it offers, I've explained each of the different services and also included some alternatives so you can see what it's like. This post will get updated from time to time.

What is Windows Azure

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacentres. It provides both PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.

Service Description Alternative
App Services Run stuff Websites, WebApps. Runs apps in PHP, Node, Java, ASP.NET, ASP Core Heroku, Modulus, CloudFoundry, AppHarbour, EngineYard
Cloud Services Not as light as app services, but not as involved as VM's a nice middle ground. Linode, Rackspace VPS
Virtual Machines What it says on the box. Virtual Machines. Rackspace, Amazon EC2, Digital Ocean
Service Fabric Using cloud services to build out microservices. Takes the hassle out of scaling and updating.
Scheduler / Webjobs Run small jobs that must be repeated at set intervals. No need for VM's Heroku Background Jobs, Cron
Azure Container Service Running docker images on Azure. Using DC/OS or Docker Swarm AWS Container Service, Google Container Engine
Developer Services
App Service / Mobile Apps Authenticate, send messages and store network data for mobile platforms. Heroku, Urban Airship, Parse
API Management Control the traffic and limits of what is passed through an API. AWS API Gateway
Notification Hubs Send push notifications to iOS, Android, Windows and Kindle. AWS SNS, UrbanAirship
Visual Studio Team Services Source Control, Continuous Integration, Testing even does some project management Github, Jenkins, CodeShip, BitBucket
Application Insights Monitor performance and exceptions. Get notified of errors. Newrelic
Storage Services
Blob Storage Windows Azure BLOB storage service can be used to store and retrieve Binary Large Objects (BLOBs), or what are more commonly known as files. AWS S3, Rackspace Cloud Files
Table Storage Windows Azure Tables are a non-relational, key-value-pair, storage system suitable for storing massive amounts of unstructured data. Not Relation storage(EX: SQL) DynamoDB
Queue Storage Service Bus, a message queue in Azure. AWS SQS, RabbitMQ, Sidekiq
Search A fully managed search-as-a-service in the cloud. Azure Search offers scalable full-text search for your apps. AWS CloudSearch, ElasticSearch
Document DB Store JSON NoSQL structured data, works with MopngoDB drivers. DynamoDB, MongoDB
SQL Database It's SQL Server but in the cloud. SQL Server, MySql, Postgres
Redis Store frequently used data in convenient structures. Like Memcache Redis2Go, RedisGreen
Automation Automate Azure services with Powershell AWS Cloudformation
Operational Insights Collect, combine and search logs for issues or troubleshooting. Splunk
KeyVault Keep encryption keys in secure storage, accessible only when used. AWS KMS
Security Center Establish policies for Azure services and alert and report when they aren't met.
Media and CDN Services
Encoding Encode videos into formats useful for things like viewing on mobile, web, 4K HomeTheater demos, etc. AWS ElasticTranscoder
Media Player Actually embed the videos without you having to figure out which player and encodings work for each client platform.
Media Indexer Auto generate text from audio and video files. Search this text or use it for auto generated captions.
Content Protection Protect your videos with DRM.
Live and On Demand Streaming Handle mass live playback of video along with making sure only the right people are watching and that they've hopefully already paid you.
Content Delivery Network Speed delivery of your sites, files, videos to the people requesting them. Cloudfront, MaxCDN
Networking Services
Virtual Network Make it seem like new Azure services just happened to show up on your internal company network. Bring your own IP address. AWS VPC
Express Route Push TBs a day up to Azure without overloading your mom's cable modem? Get a dedicated line into Azure. AWS Direct Connect
VPN Gateway Setup a VPN between your datacenter and Azure to put traffic over. OpenVPN
Traffic Manager Improve performance by putting traffic to datacenters closer to requests and smart failover when a DC catches on fire. AWS ELB
Load Balancer Split traffic between multiple servers/services AWS ELB
Application Gateway Load balance web servers. AWS ELB
DNS It's a DNS service DNSimple, Route 53, GoDaddy
Enterprise / Corporate Services
RemoteApp Put an app on Azure and give users a RDP session to it. Citrix
BizTalk Connect both Azure Enteprise apps (like SAS or Peoplesoft) together. That sounds like fun.
Service Bus Dump commands and data into queuing service that lets you connect lots of devices, servers or client together for better and smoother processing. RabbitMQ, AWS SQS
Backup Keep a data center disaster from wiping out all your backups. Sick of swapping tapes, keeping them offsite and accidently recording hot mixes over the incremental accounting backups? Glacier, Backblaze
Site Recovery Keep a replicated version of your critical network apps on standby in Azure. AWS CloudConfig
Active Directory Setup an Active Directory As A Service that can sync to your Enterprise AD or replace it entirely
Big Data Services
Batch USing batch services online.
    <td> AWS Elastic Map Reduce</td>
Logic Apps Hook together different pieces to build a cloud workflow for your data. IFTTT, Zapier
SQL Data Warehouse A fully-managed and scalable cloud service. It is still in preview, but solid. Not only is it compatible with several other Azure offerings, such as Machine Learning and Data Factory, but also with various existing SQL Server tools. AWS Redshift
Data Lake Analytics Hold Exabytes of Data, for some reason or another.
Data Lake Store Azure Data Lake Store is a hyper scale data repository for enterprises to build cloud-based data lakes securely
    <td> AWS ElasticMap Reduce</td>
HDInsight Managed Hadoop, Spark, and R clusters.
Machine Learning Azure Machine Learning enables developers and data scientists to build advanced analytic web services.
    <td> AWS Machine Learning</td>
Stream Analytics Collect thousands of analytics streams simultaneously.
    <td> AWS Kinesis</td>
IoT Services
IoT Hub Collect information from your IOT devices. AWS IOT

Microsoft have created a really great pricing calculator to work out how much things might add up to. Pricing Calculator