What is Microsoft Azure? A Complete Guide

What is Microsoft Azure, Why should you learn it, where is it used? - Find out answers to all the questions you may have about Azure in this blog.

What is Azure?

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and service that offers a wide range of cloud-based services, such as virtual machines, databases, analytics, storage, and networking, which can be used to build, deploy, and manage cloud-based applications and services.

The Microsoft Azure platform provides users access to a flexible and scalable environment for developing and running web apps, allowing developers to focus on the application rather than the infrastructure. It also works with other Microsoft products like Visual Studio and Windows Server, as well as various third-party tools and services, making is one of the most preferred tools for developers around the world.

Azure History 

The history of Microsoft Azure development began with its initial launch in 2010 as a cloud computing platform and service. Over the years, Microsoft added platform-as-a-service (PaaS) capabilities, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities, support for Docker containers, and tighter integration with Visual Studio. In the following years, Azure introduced SONiC (a cross-platform Linux distribution), Azure ARM Portal (2015), Azure Service Fabric (2016), Azure Service Fabric Mesh (2018) and Azure IoT Central (2018). They also introduced Azure Functions, a serverless computing service, and various Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services. 

In 2017, Azure added support for Kubernetes, an open-source container orchestration platform, and in 2018, Microsoft acquired GitHub and integrated it with Azure. Today, Microsoft Azure is a leading cloud computing platform that offers a wide range of services and tools for building, deploying, and managing applications in the public cloud.

Why Azure?

Microsoft Azure is a powerful platform for cloud computing that offers a wide range of services and features for developing and deploying cloud-based applications. Several developers use Azure because of the following key features:

  • Scalability: Microsoft Azure allows you to easily scale up or down your applications as needed without requiring major infrastructure changes.
  • Security: To help protect your Azure data and applications, it offers a variety of security features, such as identity management, encryption, and threat detection.
  • Integration: It integrates with a wide range of other Microsoft products and third-party tools and services, making building and deploying hybrid cloud applications simple.
  • Analytics: Azure includes robust real-time analytics tools that enable you to collect and analyze data from your applications and services to make data-driven decisions.
  • DevOps: It provides a number of tools and services that aid in the DevOps process, such as continuous integration and delivery, testing, and monitoring.

What Does an Azure Developer Do?

An Azure developer is responsible for designing, developing, deploying, and maintaining Azure applications and services. Among the specific tasks that an Azure developer may perform are the following:

  • Creating and testing applications: They create and test applications that run on the Azure platform using a variety of programming languages and tools.
  • Deploying applications: After developing and testing an application, Azure developers deploy it to the Azure cloud using tools such as Azure DevOps or Visual Studio.
  • Develop and Mange Cloud resources: They manage the cloud resources their applications rely on, such as virtual machines, storage, and databases.
  • Integrating with other Microsoft Azure services: They are frequently required to integrate their applications with other Azure products, such as Azure Active Directory, Azure Functions, or Azure Cognitive Services.
  • Monitoring and troubleshooting: They monitor their applications and services to ensure they run smoothly. They must be able to troubleshoot and resolve problems as they arise.

How to Become an Azure Developer? 

Master Several Programming Languages

To become an Azure developer, you must be proficient in at least one programming language. C#, Java, and Python are popular Microsoft Azure development languages. These languages can be learned through online courses, books, or tutorials. Once you've mastered the language, develop small applications to gain practical experience.

Learn Azure Services

Microsoft Azure provides a wide range of services from which to build your applications. Azure Functions, Azure Storage, and Azure SQL Database are some of the most popular Azure services. Learn more about these and other services, by visiting Microsoft's official Azure documentation, online courses, or tutorials.

Gain Experience with Visual Studio 

Many Azure developers use Visual Studio as their IDE. You can install Visual Studio on your computer and develop small applications using the Azure services you've learned. Microsoft also offers online tutorials and courses to help you learn how to use Visual Studio.

Strengthen Cloud Computing Concepts

As an Azure developer, you must understand cloud computing concepts like virtualization, scalability, and security. Begin by learning about these concepts and how they apply to Azure. Microsoft's Azure documentation is an excellent place to learn about cloud computing concepts.

Gain Practical Experience

Small projects on Microsoft Azure are an excellent way to gain practical experience. Begin with simple projects, such as creating a web application that uses Azure Functions for serverless computing or a database-driven web application that uses Azure SQL Database. Then, as you gain experience, you can take on more complex projects.

Get Certified

Microsoft offers several Azure developer certifications, including the Microsoft Certified: Azure Developer Associate certification. Certification can demonstrate your expertise in Azure development to potential employers and help you stand out in a competitive job market.

Join a Community

Joining an online Microsoft Azure developer community can help you learn and stay current on the latest trends and best practices in Azure development. You can participate in online forums, local meetups, or communities like Stack Overflow or GitHub.

Advantages of Azure

There are many advantages to using Azure for development. Here are a few:


It offers the ability to quickly and easily scale your mobile devices, data centers and applications as your needs change. This means you can start small and grow as needed without worrying about infrastructure.


Azure works well with other Microsoft products such as Visual Studio and .NET. This simplifies the management of your public cloud data storage resources and the deployment of your applications.

Microsoft Azure provides a wide range of cloud services for developing, deploying, and managing cloud-based applications. This includes computing, storage, networking, databases, data analytics, AI and Azure machine learning, and many other Azure services.


Microsoft Azure has built-in security features to help protect your applications, data, and other sensitive information. This includes role-based access management, encryption, and compliance certifications.

Hybrid Cloud Capabilities

It also supports a hybrid cloud, which allows you to connect your on-premises infrastructure to the cloud. This is useful if you need to migrate some or all of store data from your applications to the cloud while keeping some resources on-premises.

Installation of Azure

There are many different frameworks that you can get with the Microsoft Azure portal, and not all of them can be installed in the same way. With that said, installing the Windows Azure CLI is the best way to get started with the Azure cloud computing platform.

To install Azure CLI, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open a web browser. Navigate to the official Azure CLI download page and download the latest release of Azure CLI.
  2. Select the appropriate installation method based on your operating system. This CLI is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Docker.
  3. Follow the installation instructions for your selected method. The installation steps may vary depending on your operating system.
  4. Once the installation is complete, open a terminal or command prompt window and run the command az login. This will prompt you to sign in with your Azure account credentials.
  5. After you have successfully signed in, you can start using Azure CLI to manage your Microsoft Azure resources.

It's important for users to note that Azure CLI requires an active Azure account and subscription to use. If you don't have an Azure account, you can sign up for a free trial at their official page. Additionally, make sure your system meets the system requirements for the installation method you choose, as some methods may require additional software or configuration.

Components of Microsoft Azure

Here are some of the key components of Azure:

  1. Virtual Machines: Microsoft Azure enables businesses to build and run virtual machines in the cloud, resulting in a scalable and adaptable infrastructure for running applications and services.
  2. Storage: options include Blob Storage for storing unstructured data, Table Storage for NoSQL data, and Queue Storage for message queuing.
  3. Azure App Service: Microsoft Azure provides App Service, a fully managed platform for developing and deploying web and mobile applications. It is compatible with various programming languages, including .NET, Java, Node.js, and PHP.
  4. Azure Functions: It is a serverless computing service that enables developers to run code on-demand without needing infrastructure provisioning or management.
  5. Azure SQL Database: It is a relational database service that is fully managed and provides high availability, automatic backups, and easy scalability.
  6. Azure Active Directory: It manages identity and access to cloud apps and resources.
  7. Azure Kubernetes Service: It is a fully managed service that uses the Kubernetes orchestration system to deploy, manage, and scale containerized applications.
  8. Azure DevOps: It is a tool suite for managing the entire software development lifecycle, including planning, development, testing, and deployment.
  9. Azure Cognitive Services: It offers a selection of pre-built machine learning and artificial cloud intelligence models that developers can use to create intelligent applications.
  10. Azure Monitor: It provides tools for monitoring and analyzing the performance and health of Azure-running applications and cloud services.

Development Best Practices

Use Azure Functions for Serverless Compute

You can run code on-demand with Azure Functions without worrying about infrastructure. A Microsoft Azure Function that is triggered when a new blob of data is added to an Azure Blob Storage container is shown below:

using System;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs;
using Microsoft.Azure.WebJobs.Host;
using Microsoft.Extensions.Logging;

public static void Run(Stream myBlob, string name, ILogger log)
    log.LogInformation($"C# Blob trigger function processed blob\n Name:{name} \n Size: {myBlob.Length} Bytes");

Use Azure Key Vault for Secure Storage

Azure Key Vault secures the storage and management of cryptographic data centers, keys, secrets binary data, and certificates. In C#, here's an example of retrieving a secret from Azure Key Vault:

using Azure.Identity;
using Azure.Security.KeyVault.Secrets;

var client = new SecretClient(new Uri("https://myvault.vault.azure.net/"), new DefaultAzureCredential());
KeyVaultSecret secret = client.GetSecret("mysecret");
string secretValue = secret.Value;

Let's also look at an example of achieving the same thing in Python:

from azure.identity import DefaultAzureCredential
from azure.keyvault.secrets import SecretClient

credential = DefaultAzureCredential()
client = SecretClient(vault_url="https://myvault.vault.azure.net/", credential=credential)
secret = client.get_secret("mysecretname")

Use Azure DevOps

Microsoft Azure DevOps is a set of tools for managing the application development lifecycle. Version control, continuous integration and deployment, testing, and project management are all included. As a result, Azure DevOps can assist you in streamlining your development process and ensuring consistent quality.

Leverage Azure Functions

Azure Functions is a serverless computing service that enables you to run code on demand without infrastructure management. As a result, Azure Functions can help you save money and increase scalability. For example, Azure Functions can run background jobs or trigger actions based on events.

Optimize Costs 

Microsoft Azure offers many features that can assist you in cost optimization. You can, for example, use Azure Advisor to identify cost-cutting opportunities and Azure Cost Management to track and manage your spending. Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances can also save money on long-running workloads. Consider the following Python example:

import os
from azure.identity import DefaultAzureCredential
from azure.mgmt.compute import ComputeManagementClient

subscription_id = 'your-subscription-id'
credential = DefaultAzureCredential()
client = ComputeManagement

Use Azure DevOps for Continuous Integration and Deployment

Azure DevOps includes tools for managing the software development lifecycle, such as source control, build and release pipelines, and testing and deployment tools.

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