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Programming Windows Azure by Sriram Krishnan

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Chapter 2. Under the Hood

As you wade through the details of a new platform, you may feel like you are fighting a battle without understanding the battlefield. It is critical to know the internals of any platform and how it works. Whether you are building a better-performing application, or trying to understand why you’re seeing a weird error message, knowing how things look under the hood can mean the difference between winning and losing the battle.

Even if it isn’t useful, peeking under the hood of a complex system is always fun and educational. This chapter provides just that sort of glimpse inside Windows Azure to help you to understand how this new platform works.

Inside the Cloud

Windows Azure is a complex, multitiered platform. It combines hardware and software, split across many layers and many geographic locations. In this complexity, it is easy to get confused. How does your code run? Which operating system is it running on? How is your code protected? How does Windows Azure work? The best way to answer these important questions is to walk through the Windows Azure “stack.”

Windows Azure is best visualized through an “onion skin” diagram such as the one in Figure 2-1. This chapter examines all the lower layers of that diagram in detail, starting from the innermost ring (the hardware) and working outward.

Windows Azure onion

Figure 2-1. Windows Azure onion

The actual hardware appears at the innermost ...

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