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What is Azure Virtual Machine?

02nd Jan, 2024
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    What is Azure Virtual Machine?

    Cloud computing is an essential aspect of contemporary business and enterprise in today's digital age. Almost 56 percent of organizations worldwide use Microsoft Azure for their cloud services. In this respect, the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine, among the top cloud service providers, has a variety of services to suit different computing needs. It is an application deployment platform that allows multiple applications to operate in the cloud.

    In this blog, I will explain all the important things about Azure Virtual Machines by providing an overview. Please read further.

    Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine

    What is Azure Virtual Machine?

    Azure Virtual Machine is a computing service where we can construct and use virtual machines as infrastructure as a service in the cloud. In simpler terms, it helps us to deploy applications on the cloud without getting involved in the details. We may use our image or one given by Azure or a partner to build the virtual machine.

    These virtual machines each offer their own set of virtual hardware, including CPUs, RAM, hard drives, network ports, and other similar components. The best machine learning course will help you ace key concepts and fundamentals of deep learning and machine learning.

    Use Cases for Azure Virtual Machine

    Azure VMs are a top option for companies leveraging the cloud since they have applications in many different use cases. These significant use examples are provided:

    1. Web Hosting

    Azure GPU VMs are excellent for web hosting. Linux VMs have web servers like Apache and Nginx, while Windows VMs have IIS. With Azure, the website can also remain very fast even when there are increases in website traffic. You can also set up uncomplicated load balancing and auto-scaling to handle demand increases.

    2. Application Development and Testing

    Azure VMs provide a flexible playground for developers. VMs you create may have different settings, such as OSes/software stacks. This variability permits developers to engage in multiple development projects simultaneously, explore various scenarios or configurations of a project and reproduce test labs identical to their live ones.

    3. Data Analysis and Machine Learning

    One of the perks of using an Azure VM is its ability to carry a powerful GPU capable of high-performance computer processing. This makes Azure VMs cost-effective for running data analysis and machine-learning workloads with competitive Azure VM pricing. These include using Azure Machine Learning to simplify model training and deployment and Azure Databricks in big data processing.

    4. Disaster Recovery

    With Azure VMs, you can even replicate your VMs and data in multiple regions within Azure. During a disaster or outage of your primary region, you can fail over to the replicated VMs and keep up with business continuity. Uptime is essential for managing losses and keeping downtime low.

    Azure Virtual Machine Basics

    Before delving deeper into Azure VMs, it's essential to understand the fundamental concepts:

    Virtual Machine Types

    There are different types of virtual machines available in Azure, which have been designed for diverse workloads and apps. These types include:

    1. General-Purpose VMs: They encompass a class of efficient VMs that can run in various applications and balance memory and CPU resources.
    2. Storage-Optimized VMs: An Azure Standard_A4 virtual machine has the specifications tailored to meet such storage-optimized requirements. These VMs are designed to excel in scenarios where high storage throughput and I/O performance are crucial, making them ideal for applications that store large amounts of data in distributed systems such as NoSQL and Big Data datastores.

    Virtual Machine Sizes

    There are various sizes available for Azure VMs. Performance depends on your application’s necessities and budget, so the VM size selection should be done carefully. Small, low-cost VMs ideal for development and testing; large, high-performance VMs suited for production workloads.

    Choosing an Operating System

    Azure VMs run on multiple operating systems – including diverse varieties of Windows Server and several Linux distributions. Azure Advisor can generate a list of Azure Virtual Machines and recommend optimising them. You may also come up with a unique picture to employ for your VM’s operating system. Compatibility, security, and application performance depend on choosing the right OS.

    Creating a Virtual Machine

    Provisioning an Azure VM type involves several steps, including:

    1. VM Configuration: Choose the VM type, size, region and capacity selection.

    2. Operating System: Select the OS and set up respective configurations.

    3. Networking: Set up network options like virtual networks, public and private IP addresses, and NSGs – this will enable managing incoming and outgoing traffic.

    4. Storage: Specify storage requirements, such as managing disks and their type.

    5. Availability: For improved resilience and uptime, specify availability options like Availability Sets or Availability Zones for your VM.

    Mastering these steps ensures you can effectively harness the power of Azure VMs to meet your specific needs and project requirements.

    Configuring Azure Virtual Machine

    You must configure your own Azure VM for optimal use. Let's dive deeper into the key aspects of configuring an Azure-free VM:

    Networking Configuration

    a. Virtual Networks

    You can also specify the VNet to which the VM will belong. Depending on the application requirement, you may also segment your resources by designing and configuring subnets within your VNet.

    b. Public and Private IP Addresses

    Public IP Address: This allows any of your VMs to be on the public internet. Using NSGs, you can configure inbound and outbound traffic rules to control access.

    Private IP Address: A private IP address is assigned to each Azure Windows VM in the VNet. VM’s communication within the network is secured through private IPs, enabling them to interact.

    c. Network Security Groups (NSGs)

    You can direct traffic flow with NSGs to subnets or individual VMs. Create rules to allow or prohibit certain traffic to and from your VMs to achieve security.

    Storage Configuration

    a. Disk Types

    Standard HDD: However, standard Hard Disk Drives are cheaper in terms of storage than SSDs but have slower performing capabilities.

    Standard SSD: Standard Solid-State Drive is a performance balance ideal for general-purpose workloads.

    Premium SSD: Premium Solid-State Drives provide an excellent experience for I/O-intensive applications as they are capable of high IOPS and low latency.

    b. Managed Disks

    You can create new managed disks or attach existing ones when creating a VM. Managed disks related to a specific VM for independent resizing or snapshot.

    Availability Options

    a. Availability Sets

    For very high availability of the VMs, place them within the same Availability Set. Azure places these VMs in different fault and update domains to ensure redundancy and fault tolerance for the enterprise, all while being mindful of Azure Linux VM pricing to optimize costs effectively.

    b. Availability Zones

    You can maximize the availability of your VMs by placing them in an Availability Zone, making it possible for the VMs to keep operating even if one zone experiences an outage.

    How to Manage Azure Virtual Machines?

    Managing Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) ensures a smooth running, efficient and safe environment for your cloud infrastructure. There are numerous tools and approaches for effective management of VMs by Azure. Let's explore how to manage Azure Virtual Machines:

    Starting and Stopping VMs

    a. Azure Portal

    VMs can be started or stopped manually using the Azure Portal on the overview page of the VM by clicking “Start” or “Stop”.

    b. Azure PowerShell

    With PowerShell, you can programmatically use the commands Start-AzVM and Stop-AzAzVM to start and stop your VMs.

    Scaling Virtual Machines

    a. Vertical Scaling

    This includes altering the VM size depending on the performance needs. Azure allows you to scale in or out of a VM.

    b. Horizontal Scaling

    In this case, the load is spread over various VMs. Azure supports a variety of horizontal scaling techniques, such as load balancers and virtual machine scale sets. Whether hosting data science courses or running web applications, these scaling options ensure your resources are allocated efficiently to meet your specific workload demands.

    Backing-up Virtual Machines

    a. Azure Backup

    An Azure Backup enables you to operate with VMs and backup data. Set up recurring backup and keep it for that time.

    Monitoring and Diagnostics

    a. Azure Monitor

    Azure Monitor is a comprehensive monitoring and alerting service for Azure resources like VMs. It gathers telemetry data and also enables you to create a personal notice.

    b. Log Analytics

    Log and Performance data from your VMs can be collected and analyzed using custom queries and visualizations for Azure Log Analytics, an integral part of Azure Monitor.

    Benefits of Using Azure Virtual Machine

    Azure VM cost allows businesses wishing to execute workloads and apps using cloud computing resources to enjoy several benefits. Here, we'll go into further detail about the main benefits of adopting Azure VMs:

    1. Cost Reduction: Virtual machines (VMs) replace buying new physical servers to run various operating systems or configurations. Several VMs may be established on a single server, allowing for resource sharing and optimizing the use of the available hardware. When managing complex enterprise workloads, Azure VMs provide the flexibility and scalability to meet your specific computing needs.

    2. Isolation: Strong separation between various applications or services provided by VMs. A security breach or shutdown that affects only one virtual machine (VM) minimizes possible damages and safeguards other virtual machines and the underlying infrastructure.

    3. Quick Disaster Recovery: A replacement VM may be quickly created and deployed for a failed VM in an Azure Linux VM environment. Quick recovery is possible due to cutting downtime and enhancing business continuity. In general, backing up and restoring virtual machines is quicker and more effective than doing so for conventional physical servers.

    4. Safe Testing Environment: For testing apps, virtual machines offer a secure environment. Any problems or failures are isolated within the VM when programs are deployed and tested, protecting the underlying server and other VMs from damage.

    5. Quick Disaster Recovery:  A replacement VM may be quickly created and deployed in the case of a failed VM. Quick recovery is possible due to cutting downtime and enhancing business continuity. In general, backing up and restoring virtual machines is quicker and more effective than doing so for conventional physical servers.

    The Bottom Line

    Powerful computing resources may be easily deployed for applications and workloads with Azure Virtual Machines. Azure VMs are the perfect cloud-based option for companies of all sizes wanting to cut expenses because of the customizable hardware, performance optimization, and cutting-edge security features. This is an opportunity for IT specialists and proprietors to save on costs and maintain tight operations by employing the services of Azure Virtual Machines, whether they are hosting KnowledgeHut's best machine learning course or any other critical workloads.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1What is an Azure virtual machine?

    Azure VMs provide secure virtual environments from the cloud-based computing resources to host applications and services. Users may easily supply processing capacity with virtual machines (VMs) without buying or maintaining actual hardware. The flexibility of virtual machines allows for cost-effectiveness for businesses of various sizes, with options to choose from a wide range of Azure virtual machine types to suit specific workload requirements.

    2Is Microsoft Azure VM PaaS or SaaS?

    VMs are IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, since they allow you to control what activities take place and what software is loaded on them.

    3What is the difference between Azure VDI and virtual machines?

    You may construct and manage virtual computers running the Windows or Linux operating systems with Azure Virtual computers. Your computing needs are met with different sizes and configurations of Azure VMs, all while being mindful of Azure Virtual Machine pricing to optimise your costs effectively.

    But Azure Virtual Desktop is a virtual desktop service with a fully managed cloud-based desktop environment. Through AVD, you can use Windows 10 virtual desktops and its resources from almost anywhere or any device. In situations like remote work or distant learning, when users require a dedicated, maintained desktop environment, AVD is perfect.


    Ashish Gulati

    Data Science Expert

    Ashish is a techology consultant with 13+ years of experience and specializes in Data Science, the Python ecosystem and Django, DevOps and automation. He specializes in the design and delivery of key, impactful programs.

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