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What Is Azure?

Updated: May 1, 2015

Azure is an Internet-scale computing and services platform hosted in data centers managed or supported by Microsoft. It includes many separate features with corresponding developer services which can be used individually or together.

Microsoft Azure content is split between azure.microsoft.com and MSDN (where you are now). Technical getting started content is now largely on azure.microsoft.com. API and REST references are on MSDN.

If you want to know about:

  1. Live Azure Services: See a current list of Azure Services with short descriptions. Each service description links more information on that service and tells you if the service is in Preview (Beta), or in General Availability (released) and supporting production workloads with a Service Level Availability agreement.

  2. What's available in your region: Be sure to check Azure service availability in your region.

  3. Short Overview: If you are brand new to Azure and want to start in just one place with simple graphics and explanation about the scenarios each feature supports, see Introducing Microsoft Azure.

  4. Development: The Azure.microsoft.com documentation center provides tutorials, downloads, and how-to guides that help you get started developing on Azure

  5. Management Portal: The Azure Management Portal provides access to deploy and manage Azure features as well as charts and status information that show the health and performance of your services and accounts. More than one portal is available.

  6. Visuals: The What is Microsoft Azure? Inforgraphic is a large-format downloadable PDF infographic showing the services that comprise Azure. Additional descriptive infographics are also available for viewing, download, and printing. If you are running Windows 8 or later, try the Server Posterpedia application. It provides the ability to zoom and interact with numerous additional infographics and posters.

  7. Training someone else: The Azure Readiness Content supplies materials to help you train other people. The Cloud and Enterprise Symbols provide visuals you can use to build presentations and create system diagrams. The Microsoft Architecture Blueprints offer a "visually pleasing" view of systems built using Microsoft Azure vs. typical flat diagrams.

  8. What's it going to cost: Use the Azure Pricing Calculator to figure out what running different services costs.

  9. Deprecated Services: Some services may be discontinued. The documentation for these services is likely to be available only on MSDN. View the service specific MSDN content