Feature and other overview level information for Windows Azure:
Virtual machine instance in the cloud.
The name of the machine image that was used to build the instance. A virtual image (or virtual appliance, in hypervisor terminology) represents a collection of software: generally an operating system and accompanying applications or utilities. Administrators use machine images installed in virtual environments (such as a public or private cloud) to define and run virtual machines on a hypervisor.
Every cloud infrastructure provides compute resources and the ability to provision these resources. The most important characteristics of compute resources are CPU, memory and local storage. They tend to factor most heavily into the decision making process of which compute resource you should use to meet your specific requirements. Each cloud provider has varying resources and levels of granularity that they provide. RightScale uses Instance Types to help normalize the offerings. (Note that your cloud provider may not refer to compute resources by the same name.) Instance Types are coded into the RightScale Dashboard; you cannot just create, delete, and maintain your own Instance Types arbitrarily.
Permanent storage device in the cloud. The data on a Volume attached to an instance persists, even if the instance is terminated. (That is, the data on the Volume is not transient.)
A Cloud storage volume at a particular point in time. Don't confuse this with a database snapshot, this is a snapshot of the entire volume, regardless of whether it contains a database or not. You can create a snapshot regardless of whether or not a volume is attached to an Instance. When a snapshot is created, various meta data is retained such as a Created At timestamp, a unique Resource UID (e.g. vol-52EF05A9 or GEDtestVolume), the Volume Owner and Visibility (e.g. private or public). Snapshots consist of a series of data blocks that are incrementally saved.
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