Windows Azure just had a very interesting upgrade as it was discussed at the MeetWindowsAzure event. This event basically showed how Windows Azure is moving and becoming even more powerful and at the same time incorporating the community feedback.
In this new release of the SDK the interesting parts are:
1. Side-by-Side installation with SDK 1.7
(Figure 1 – Create New Windows Azure Cloud Service window with SxS 1.6 and 1.7 SDKs)
2. IIS Express support for local development
- Now instead of the Windows Azure Compute Emulator using the Full IIS for emulating the Web Role, it uses only the IIS Express version in order to make the process less intensive for the machine.
(Figure 2 – Windows Azure Web Role running in the Compute Emulator under IIS Express)
3. New approach for Caching in Windows Azure called “Windows Azure Cache”.
- This new approach to Windows Azure Caching is made available in two different scenarios:
- Dedicated Caching Nodes
- Made available by a new Worker Role called “Cache Worker Role”. Used when we want 1 or more dedicated node(s) for Caching purposes only
(Figure 3 – New Windows Azure Cloud Service dialog with the new Cache Worker Role)
- Shared Caching Nodes
- Made available through the Role Properties, since now we have a Caching Tab in which we can define how we want to configure our Windows Azure Cache, and so reuse our existing Roles in order to also provide Caching capabilities.
(Figure 4 – Properties Windows for a Windows Azure Role with the Caching Tab Selected)
4. Improved Visual Studio Server Explorer support for Windows Azure
(Figure 5 – New Visual Studio Server Explorer with Services Bus and Windows Azure VMs support)
- Service Bus Queues and Topics
- With this new support from inside Visual Studio it makes our life easier to manage and even understand what’s happening inside both Queues and Topics, as well as allowing us to Create new Queues, Topics and Subscriptions and also Sending and receiving messages directly from Visual Studio. This is a great improvement in terms of making our life easier since we have an one stop shop for doing everything related to both of these Service Bus features.
(Figure 6 – Managing Service Bus Queues and Topics from the Visual Studio Server Explorer)
- Virtual Machines
- New support in Visual Studio Server Explorer to manage the new IaaS offering available in Windows Azure.
- In this version we’ll be able to Connect directly to the Instance through Remote Desktop without ever leaving Visual Studio.
(Figure 7 – Connect using Remote Desktop option from Server Explorer)
(Figure 8 – Remote Desktop Connection for the Windows Azure instance based on the choice in Server Explorer)
5. Improvements in the Publishing Process
- New “Delete Deployment on failure” option
(Figure 9 – Windows Azure Advanced Publishing Settings dialog)
- Improved “Deployment Update” Options allowing two options:
- Incremental Update.
- Make the update process a rolling update by performing the update on 1 (one) instance at a time.
- Simultaneous Update
- Makes the update process a full and complete update, so every instance is update at the same time (or virtually at the same time). This might mean some downtime for you cloud service.
- Also Very important is the new option “If deployment can’t be updated, do a full deployment” which makes the update process smart enough to understand if the full deployment is the best option for it and so always being able to have the update being made.
(Figure 10 – Deployment Update Settings window)
- New CloudConfigurationManager
- This class provides an automatic cascade for setting lookups from csdef/cscfg first to web/app.config next.
6. Reference improvements (NuGet(s), client libs)
- More use of NuGet in order to make the updating of project references easier.
- New NuGet Packages for consuming the new Windows Azure Caching
- Windows Azure Caching Preview
- All client helper classes and configurations to consume the new Windows Azure Caching Role.
- Package Name: Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Caching.18.104.22.168.nupkg
- Windows Azure Caching Memcache Shim Preview
- All client helper classes and configurations to consume the new Windows Azure Caching Role using the memcache protocol.
- Package Name: Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Caching.MemcacheShim.22.214.171.124.nupkg
- Windows Azure Shared Caching
- All client classes and configurations to consume the current version of Windows Azure Caching.
- Package Name: WindowsAzure.Caching.126.96.36.199.nupkg
- Windows Azure Configuration Manager NuGet Package
- Classes that enable the new Configuration Manager class to work in providing an automatic cascade for setting lookups from Service Configuration to Web.Config/App.Config.
- Package Name: Microsoft.WindowsAzure.ConfigurationManager.188.8.131.52.nupkg
- Windows Azure Storage
- Set of helper classes and configurations to make working with Windows Azure Storage simpler.
- Package Name:WindowsAzure.Storage.184.108.40.206.nupkg
- Windows Azure Service Bus
- Set of helper classes and configurations that make working with Windows Azure Service Bus simpler.
- Package Name: WindowsAzure.ServiceBus.220.127.116.11.nupkg
(Figure 11 – Contents of the packages folder that is installed with the new Windows Azure SDK 1.7)
7. New Worker Role with Service Bus Queue
- New Worker Role Template that has everything needed to consume Messages from Windows Azure Service Bus Queues, as well as also having code blocks on the OnStart, OnStop and Run methods of the RoleEntryPoint class for the Worker role that will handle the configuration, graceful shutdown and of course the receiving and processing of the message
(Figure 12 – Add New Role to Project dialog)
8. UDP support
9. LightSwitch publishing improvements
So those are only 9 of the very interesting things that I come across with the new Windows Azure SDK 1.7 release.
Expect more details about the several elements described here in other blog posts.