Windows Azure is usually misinterpreted as just a hosting solution, but there is a lot more that can be done using Windows Azure. It provides a platform to develop applications using a range of available technologies and programming languages. It offers to create and deploy applications using .net platform, which is Microsoft’s own application development technology. In addition to .net, there are many more technologies and languages supported. For example, Java, PHP, Ruby, Oracle, Linux, MySQL, Python.
Windows Azure applications are scaled by creating multiple instances of the application. The number of instances needed by the application is specified by the developer while hosting the applications. If traffic is increased or decreased on the website or web application it can be managed easily by logging in to Windows Azure management portal and specifying the instances. Load balancing can also be automated which would allow Azure to make the decision itself as when to assign more resources to application.
Web applications support .net, java, python, php and node.js. Tasks such as scaling and backups can be easily automated. A new feature called ‘webjobs’ is available, which is a kind of batch processing service. Webjobs can also be scaled and scheduled. The mobile application platforms supported are Xamarin iOS, Xamarin Android and IOS.
Azure platform is developed in such a way that developers need to concentrate on only the development part and need not worry about other technical stuff outside their domain. Thus most of the administrative work is done by Azure itself.
A marketplace is also set by Azure where its customers can buy applications and services. It is a platform where customers can search applications and deploy them in an easier way. Azure marketplace is available in 88 countries at present. An application purchased from the marketplace can be easily connected to the local development environment by the application developers. The pricing is done using 5 different models, which includes usage-based and monthly fee. Some of the applications are even free of charge.