You cannot start learning about Windows Azure without having a high level overview or the big picture about Cloud Computing in general.
Start here “Cloud Computing: The Big Picture” by David Chappell. David Chappell is one of the best articulators out there. His big picture totally demystifies the space and introduces you to cloud computing and the vocabulary of the space- PaaS, SaaS, IaaS etc. This course from Pluralsight also clarifies the “Who’s Who”. This is the best place to start (hands down!)
Once you are done with the big picture, you can read through this article- Introduction to Windows Azure, again by David Chappell or you can read through my earlier blog post- what is Windows Azure, tell me like I am a three year old.
Something big happened on June 7th 2012, and slew of new Windows Azure offerings including the IaaS offering were launched on that day. You can read more about that here. If you wish to learn more about that, you can watch the launch video by ScottGu- Windows Azure June 7th.
You should then have a look at the Big Picture course from Pluralsight authored again by David Chappell- Windows Azure: The Big Picture.
All the above should roughly take around 4 to 6 hours. Once done, you should be able to comfortably answer the following:
- What is cloud computing?
- What is PaaS, SaaS and IaaS? What is the difference between them and how each of those offerings matter?
- What is a Windows Azure Web Sites feature?
- How easy/ tough it is to create a website?
- What is Service Bus, Caching etc?
- Can you create a Linux VM on Windows Azure?
- Do I have to pay Microsoft to just learn about Windows Azure?
- Networking features in Windows Azure?
Summary: That’s my 2 cents on how you can get started. There is lot of literature and other video material out there, if you don’t want to confuse yourself with information overload and instead invest the time in learning, above is what you should be doing.
P.S- Pluralsight is an online on demand training company. You will have to sign-up for a free trial on the website to access the above mentioned courses or buy a subscription. Details here.