Monday, October 3, 2011

Understanding Microsoft Datacenters and Blade, What is Hypervisor, Windows Azure OS, Windows Azure Guest OS, Guest VM and related Windows Azure Platform Terminologies

Although I have been working on Azure since last 5 months, I did not know few basic questions related to windows azure cloud computing platform like –
1.     What are data centers? What are Microsoft datacenters?
2.     What do you mean by Core? What are multi core servers?
3.     What is Microsoft blade?
4.     What is windows azure Operating System?
5.     What is windows azure guest OS
6.     What are hypervisors?
7.     What is Virtual Machine Manager
8.     What are Azure guest VM
So I decided to dig into azure platform terminologies. Following are my findings –
A datacenter is a building that shelters computer equipment, usually stored in Racks. Racks are nothing but metal shelving units. A typical Rack holding computer equipments is as shown below –  

Racks are present in containers and these containers are managed as a whole.
Datacenter is a centralized repository used for the storage and management of data and information. A large datacenter might house thousands of servers. Photo of one of the datacenter of Microsoft is as shown below –

Microsoft has currently lot of datacenter all over the world. Following figure will show the locations of Microsoft datacenters in April 2010.

CoreEach computer or Server will have Central Processing Unit in it. CPU contains one microprocessor in it which is called as Core. For example, if you have dual core CPU then you have 2 microprocessors inside the CPU. This allows you to do two things at once and processing is done extremely fast.
Multi core means number of cores or microprocessors inside CPU is more than one.
Microsoft datacenters have thousands of multi core servers housed in it. Each server in Microsoft datacenter is called as Microsoft Blade.
Now let’s understand what is Virtualization – Virtualization, in computer technology can be referred as creation of virtual version (not real or actual; no physical existence) of computing resource like hardware platform, software platform or storage devices.
What is Hardware Virtualization – Hardware virtualization is also termed as Platform Virtualization. Hardware virtualization refers to the creation of virtual machine or virtual computer which acts like a real physical computer within an operating system. Softwares executed on these virtual machines are separated from the underlying hardware resource.
For example – A computer running Microsoft windows 7 OS may host a virtual machine which looks like a real computer with Linux operating system.

What is Hypervisor – In hardware virtualization the term host machine refers to the actual machine on which the virtualization takes place. The term guest machine refers to virtual machine. Hence terms guest and host are used to distinguish the software that runs on the actual machine from the software that runs on the virtual machine. The software that creates a virtual machine on the host hardware is called as Hypervisor.
What is Virtual Machine Manager – Hypervisor is also called as Virtual Machine Manager. It is one of many hardware virtualization techniques to allow multiple operating systems termed as guests to run concurrently on host computer.
What is Hyper –V – Microsoft system which uses hypervisor based technique for hardware virtualization.

Azure Datacenter – Datacenters used by Microsoft for Windows Azure platform, consist of thousands of multi core servers. Each server is referred as Microsoft Blade. Each blade has of 8 cores and run windows azure OS.
Windows Azure Operating System is an operating system developed by Microsoft for its internal use. It is not open for developers use. It is used internally by Microsoft in datacenters for provisioning VM’s for hosting user applications.
Typical structure of Windows Azure OS and VM’s provided is as shown below –

Each blade having 8 cores runs windows azure OS on it. Windows Azure OS runs the windows Azure hypervisor software for hardware virtualization in datacenters. Depending on the configuration information provided by the user different sized VM’s are provisioned from Azure hypervisor.
This means VM’s provided to the user for hosting application are Guest VM’s having Windows Server 2008 R2 OS referred as Guest OS. Blade running windows Azure OS is actually a Host VM and Windows Azure OS is Host Os.
Depending on the configuration information provided by the user guest VM’s are provided in various sizes with various Cores in it.
I hope the above post must have given you the overview of Azure Platform Terminologies.

Happy Programming!!!

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