imageGood morning Everyone and Happy New Year.   For the New Year all of my IT Pro teammates across the country wanted to get together and talk about 31 things we love about having Servers in the Cloud.   Throughout this month we are going to be talking about Windows Azure IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).  You may have heard of Windows Azure before and thought it was just PaaS (Platform as a Service) just for the developers in your organization.  Windows Azure now offers a new feature currently in customer preview called Virtual Machines & Virtual Networks.  This new functionality provides Windows Azure with an IaaS platform for you to deploy your own virtual machines.  In Windows Azure IaaS you can easily deploy and run Windows Server and Linux virtual machines in Windows Azure. Windows Azure Virtual Machines allow you to migrate applications and infrastructure without having to change existing code. You can also create your own virtual private networks (VPNs) in Windows Azure and securely connect them to on-premises IT infrastructure with Windows Azure Virtual Network. You can extend your on-premises networks into the cloud with control over network topology, including configuration of IP addresses and DNS.   You can take a free 90 day test drive of Windows Azure and Virtual Machines here:

http://aka.ms/GetAzureIaaS

To understand were Windows Azure IaaS fits into the different cloud models, it is all about what you manage and what services you are paying for.  Take a look at the following graphic:

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It all boils down to what you manage and what is being manage by Microsoft at our data centers.   When you think about managing your own on premise data center then you are responsible for everything. PaaS provides a platform for your applications, and you have really no control over the platform.  With PaaS you only had to manage the your applications and data, the cloud service managed the rest of infrastructure.  With IaaS gives you a combination of control and the ability to leverage the cloud infrastructures.  With IaaS you manage the application, data, runtime, middleware and even the O/S.  In a nutshell with IaaS Windows Azure provides you the hyper-v host to hold your virtual machines.  Just a special note, there is one other model not shown and that is SaaS.  With SaaS, you are not responsible for supporting the application or any of the components.  You are basically paying a provider for a service, usually on a subscription basis.  With SaaS your provider manages the data, platform, really the entire backend. 

Virtual Machines provides a true solution for IT professionals, and your responsibilities are almost the same for your on-premise datacenters compared to the machines hosted in Windows Azure.    You will still have the considerations to configure your virtual machine, it’s storage network access, applications you want to install.  Windows Azure Virtual Machines provides you the ability to run many of today’s key server applications like  AD, DNS, SharePoint, Exchange…etc., if this is something you choose to do.  The functionality is there for you leverage.  You will still have to perform you daily administration of these services, really the main difference is you do not have to worry about the hardware or high availability.   When you create, or upload, a Virtual Machine in Windows Azure, automatically on the back-end, the Windows Azure service creates replica copies for you.

What makes working with Windows Azure is that we are all the only company to provide you solutions across all four main cloud models.  Whether you want to have all on premise or leverage IaaS or a combination in a Hybrid cloud, we can provide you a solution. One last note, moving your work load to the cloud is not a permanent thing.  You can easily place your workloads in the cloud when demand is increased for your applications or servers.  When the demand reduces you can then move the workloads back to your own datacenter.  It really is all about Cloud on your terms.  Through out this Month we are going to take you on a deep dive of Windows Azure IaaS, some of the technical in’s and out’s, how to, and how Windows Azure can fit in your overall IT strategy.    So check back every day to learn more about Windows Azure and see if it is a fit for you.

We hope you enjoy the series and make sure you give Windows Azure a Try: http://aka.ms/GetAzureIaaS

If you missed any of the parts you can find the rest of the series here: 31 Days of Servers in the Cloud.