Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure, is a public cloud computing platform provided by Microsoft. Considering that Azure service offering can be categorized as both a Platform as a service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), it makes for a perfect solution for businesses looking for reliable cloud services.
Most businesses that use Azure rely on it for web development, media and content delivery network, cloud storage, cloud containers, database management, networking and so on. Azure allows you to develop and scale new applications, or run existing applications in the public cloud. Microsoft provides Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis, but you can get Azure for free for 30 days if you follow the instructions I’ll show you below.
How to Download and Install Microsoft Azure on Your PC for Free
- Click on the download button on the sidebar to go directly to the Microsoft Azure Download page.
- Click on Start free to go to the sign-up page.
- You can either sign up with your Microsoft account or with your GitHub login.
- Fill out the form to create your Azure free account. Note that you need your card to proceed, but you won’t be charged, unless you move to pay-as-you-go pricing.
- You can now set up Azure based on your cloud computing needs. Watch the Azure demo included to help get started.
For further help setting up, you can register for the live Q&A session hosted by an Azure technical expert.
How to Uninstall Azure
If Microsoft Azure isn’t the right cloud computing platform for you, you can opt out of the service in a few easy steps. If you’re still interested in getting a cloud computing program, check out the free alternatives below.
Since Azure is not a desktop application, you can simply cancel your subscription on the Microsoft Azure Portal to end your use of the service.
Microsoft Azure Overview
Azure is Microsoft’s public cloud computing platform, which offers a wide range of cloud services, such as web development, analytics, cloud storage, computing, internet of things, databases, containers, and networking. With your free trial account, you can choose from these services to develop new applications and run existing applications in the public cloud. Once you finish setting up your account, you’ll get instant access to the demo. There’s also an option to register for a live, online Q&A session.
Since Microsoft Azure consists of numerous service offerings, it is used for many different applications. It is used for running virtual machines or containers in the cloud. Hence, it can host infrastructure components like domain name system (DNS) servers, Windows Server services, or third-party applications. Microsoft Azure is usable on various operating systems, such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. Another common use of Azure is for hosting databases in the cloud. Microsoft also offers serverless relational databases and acts as a backup and disaster recovery platform. Once you’re done creating your account, you can select any of the services listed to proceed. For instance, to create a web app, simply select the “Create a web app” option to go to the next stage.
Features of Microsoft Azure
- Compute: Azure compute services enable you to deploy and manage VMs, containers, and batch jobs, and they provide support for remote application access.
- Web: You can use these services for developing and deploying web applications.
- Networking: This describes virtual networks, dedicated connections, and gateways services, including traffic management, diagnostics, DNS hosting and network protection, etc.
- Media and content delivery network (CDN): Azure offers CDN services including digital rights protection, on-demand streaming, encoding, and media playback.
- Storage: Azure services also include scalable cloud storage for all kinds of data, including persistent storage and archival storage for big data projects.
- Analytics: With these services, you get distributed analytics and storage and also support big data analytics, machine learning (ML), business intelligence (BI), internet of things (IoT) data streams, and data warehousing.
- Internet of things: Azure provides services that help you capture, monitor, and analyze IoT data.
- DevOps: Access collaboration tools like Azure DevOps for DevOps software development, as well as the diagnostics features.
- Mobile: If you’re a developer, you can use this service to build cloud applications for mobile devices, and provide a range of other essential services, such as notification, support for back-end tasks, tools for building (APIs), etc.
- AI and machine learning: This includes a range of services that enable developers to incorporate artificial intelligence and machine learning into applications and data sets.
Free Alternatives to Microsoft Azure
OpenStack: OpenStack is a free cloud computing platform, where users can access virtual servers and other important resources. OpenStack is mostly available as an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) in both public and private clouds.
Google App Engine: Google App Engine is another free platform specifically designed for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers. This platform allows you to scale easily and execute fast development and deployment without having to worry about hardware, patches, or backups.
OpenShift: OpenShift represents a cloud development solution offered as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) and managed by Red Hat. In contrast to some alternatives, it stands out as an open-source, cloud-based platform designed to be user-friendly. This platform is well-suited for the creation, testing, and deployment of applications in the cloud.