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AZ900:2024 Describe cloud concepts (25–30%)

by Yashlin Naidoo
Published on: 2/26/2024

Disclaimer

This blog is part of a 3 part series covering the 2024 AZ900 study guide. While there is tremendous value in going through this blog even if you are not writing the exam , please be aware that the content is centered around the exam.

As with any exam , the curriculum and the course content will evolve over time , please pay attention to when this blog was written and take into account that the exam and its content may have changed.

At time of writing , you can find the official study guide here:

Study guide for Exam AZ-900: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

Describe cloud computing

  • Define cloud computing
  • Describe the shared responsibility model
  • Define cloud models, including public, private, and hybrid
  • Identify appropriate use cases for each cloud model
  • Describe the consumption-based model
  • Compare cloud pricing models
  • Describe serverless

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing allows individuals and organizations to access and use computing resources (such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence) over the internet This technology provides scalable and flexible IT resources, enabling businesses to be more agile, reduce costs, and scale as their business needs change.

Shared Responsibility Model

The shared responsibility model is a fundamental concept in cloud computing that defines the responsibilities of the cloud service provider (CSP) and the customer to ensure a secure and compliant environment.

  • Cloud Service Provider (CSP) is responsible for the security “of” the cloud, which includes the infrastructure, hardware, and software that power the cloud services.
  • Customer is responsible for security “in” the cloud, which means they must secure their data, applications, and access controls.

Public Cloud

Public cloud provide a wide range of cloud services, including computing, analytics, storage, and networking. Users can access these services over the internet and only pay for what they use. The Azure public cloud allows businesses and developers to build, deploy, and manage applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers globally, offering scalability, reliability, and flexibility.

Private Cloud

Private cloud refers to a cloud computing environment dedicated solely to one organization. It combines many of the benefits of cloud computing, such as scalability and elasticity, with additional control and customization options. Azure’s private cloud solutions, like Azure Stack, allow businesses to run Azure services from their own datacenter, providing a consistent platform across public and private environments.

Use Cases: Organizations with strict regulatory or data sovereignty requirements, enabling them to leverage cloud technologies while maintaining complete control over their infrastructure.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a computing environment that combines public Azure cloud services with private cloud or on-premises resources. This setup allows for data and applications to be shared between them, providing businesses with greater flexibility, scalability, and deployment options.

Use Cases: It enables organizations to keep sensitive data on-premises or in a private cloud while leveraging the vast computing resources of the Azure public cloud for other tasks.

Consumption-Based Model

The consumption-based model is a pricing model where customers pay only for the cloud resources they use, rather than purchasing hardware or software upfront. This model provides flexibility and cost efficiency, as it allows businesses to scale resources up or down based on demand, ensuring they only pay for what they need.

Cloud Pricing Models

Cloud pricing models can vary significantly among providers and services, but they generally include:

  • Pay-as-you-go: Charges are based on actual usage of resources.
  • Reserved instances: Customers commit to using a certain capacity for a defined term in exchange for lower rates.

Serverless Computing

Serverless computing is a execution model in which the cloud provider dynamically manages the allocation and provisioning of servers. The customer is abstracted away from managing servers or clusters. Instead, they deploy code that runs in response to events or triggers, and they are billed based on the execution time and resources used by that code, not for idle server space.

Use Cases: Serverless is ideal for applications with variable workloads, microservices architectures, and event-driven scenarios such as IoT applications, web applications, and APIs.

Describe the benefits of using cloud services

  • Describe the benefits of high availability and scalability in the cloud
  • Describe the benefits of reliability and predictability in the cloud
  • Describe the benefits of security and governance in the cloud
  • Describe the benefits of manageability in the cloud

High Availability and Scalability

High Availability: Cloud services are designed to ensure that applications and data are consistently available to users and systems with minimal downtime. This is achieved through redundant and distributed systems across multiple geographical locations, ensuring that if one component fails, another can take over seamlessly.

Benefits:

  • Minimized Downtime: Businesses experience minimal interruptions, keeping services running smoothly for customers and employees.
  • Business Continuity: Ensures operations can continue and recover quickly from failures, disasters, or unexpected interruptions.

Scalability: Cloud services can be easily scaled up or down based on demand (elastic). This includes the ability to add more resources (such as computing power or storage) as needed or reduce resources when demand decreases.

Benefits:

  • Cost Efficiency: Pay only for the resources you use, reducing unnecessary expenses on unused capacity.
  • Agility and Flexibility: Quickly adapt to market changes or customer demands by scaling resources in real-time.

Elasticity

Elasticity refers to the ability of a system to automatically scale its resources up or down as needed to match the current demand. This means that the cloud infrastructure can dynamically allocate more computing power, storage, and other resources during peak usage times and scale down during low usage periods, ensuring efficient use of resources and cost optimization. Elasticity enables organizations to handle varying workloads without manual intervention, providing both flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Reliability and Predictability

Reliability: Cloud providers invest heavily in infrastructure, technologies, and best practices to ensure their services are reliable. Data is replicated across multiple locations to prevent loss, and services are monitored continuously to address and mitigate issues proactively.

Benefits:

  • Consistent Performance: Users experience consistent and predictable performance levels, enhancing user satisfaction.
  • Data Integrity and Recovery: Enhanced data protection mechanisms and recovery solutions ensure data integrity and availability.

Predictability: Cloud services offer a predictable environment for deploying and managing applications. With standardized services and operations, businesses can anticipate operational costs and performance levels.

Benefits:

  • Budget Management: Predictable costs help in budget planning and control, reducing financial surprises.
  • Operational Consistency: Standardized processes and environments simplify operations, training, and development.

Security and Governance

Security: Cloud providers implement robust security measures, including encryption, intrusion detection, and multi-factor authentication. These measures are often more extensive and advanced than what an individual organization could feasibly implement on its own.

Benefits:

  • Advanced Protection: Benefit from the latest security technologies and expertise, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Cloud providers often comply with various industry standards and regulations, helping customers meet their compliance requirements more easily.

Governance: Cloud environments support enhanced governance practices through centralized control and visibility over resources and data. Policies and rules can be uniformly applied, ensuring compliance and proper resource utilization.

Benefits:

  • Control and Compliance: Maintain control over the IT environment, ensuring that resources are used appropriately and in compliance with regulations.
  • Audit and Reporting: Simplified audit processes and the ability to generate detailed reports enhance transparency and accountability.

Manageability

Manageability: Cloud services simplify the management of IT resources through automated tools, services, and interfaces. These include automated provisioning, scaling, and maintenance tasks.

Benefits:

  • Operational Efficiency: Automation and simplified management free up IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives rather than routine maintenance.
  • Resource Optimization: Tools for monitoring, managing, and optimizing resource use ensure that applications run efficiently and cost-effectively.

Describe cloud service types

  • Describe infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  • Describe platform as a service (PaaS)
  • Describe software as a service (SaaS)
  • Identify appropriate use cases for each cloud service type (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Description: IaaS provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. It offers the foundational infrastructure components such as virtual servers, storage, and networking hardware, which users can rent and use to build their own IT platforms.

Use Cases:

  • Rapid Scaling: For businesses that need to scale their infrastructure rapidly in response to fluctuating demand.
  • High-Performance Computing: Suitable for tasks requiring large amounts of computing power, such as simulations and complex calculations.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Description: PaaS provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without dealing with the complexity of building and maintaining the underlying infrastructure. This model includes development tools, operating systems, database management systems, and more.

Use Cases:

  • Application Development: Streamlines the development process for developers by providing a pre-configured platform.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Description: SaaS delivers software applications over the internet, on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, as well as handle maintenance, such as software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, typically through a web browser on their phone, tablet, or PC.

Use Cases:

  • Email Services: Simplifies communication needs without the need for managing email servers.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Offers a centralized platform for managing customer information, interactions, and analytics.

WRITTEN BY

Yashlin Naidoo

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