Q8. What are Windows Azure Compute services?

In the previous questions we have answered the basics of azure platform. With this question, we are digging deeper into Azure platform. Let us begin with Azure services specifically compute services.

Of the many services available in Windows Azure platform, compute services are those services which dictate and determine the execution of an application. Understanding this concept is vital for Azure proficiency. Suppose, you were required to make changes in your Azure account for an application which is suddenly getting millions of hits. You would directly access the Compute services section in the Azure management portal to handle the spike in traffic.

There are three services under Compute services and they are

  • Virtual Machines
  • Web Sites
  • Cloud Services

Each of these services execute applications. There are many options associated with each service.

Virtual Machines

If you were to avail (subscribe) Virtual Machines service, you will be able to get only a bare Virtual Machine in which you will be able to install OS of your choice. Azure offers a gallery of VM images which are pre loaded with OS and other software tools. This is done to eliminate the need for you to install the OS and software.

virtual machines execution model

Web Sites

Azure Web sites is a service to host web applications. Developers can upload an application or web site and users can access and use it just like any other web site. However, there is a major difference between hosting a web site using this service and with typical hosting companies. In a typical hosting company, you simple upload your web site and you pay flat rate per year. Suppose your traffic is very high and load on the web site is high, this can result in downtime. To avoid such situations, you need to upgrade your hosting plan to a higher level. When you host your web site on azure Websites, you get the option of scaling up your resources when there is a surge in traffic and scale down as per the load.

Web sites execution model

Cloud Services

Cloud Services is a sophisticated service using which you can host scalable, highly available and complex applications. This service requires minimum intervention. Azure refers to the above services as execution models and we will discuss these models in the upcoming questions.

cloud services execution model

Important words:

Execution of an application

Execution or running of an application refers to that process by which a platform or OS enables a software application to come alive and be available for use by end users. Azure account
If you want to use the Azure services, you will have to create an Azure account. Providing your card details is a must for completing the process of creating an account. However, you will be charged with $1 only for a free trial account.


Subscribe comes into play when you register yourself with an intent to use a service. You are said to have a subscribed to an azure account.

VM images

VM images are virtual hard disk files which consists of different combinations of OS and software tools. You can customize your VM images. Suppose you have already installed an OS and your own choice of software tools, you can capture an image of the combination and use it as a template for all your VMs for future use.