MIX11 – Session Review – What’s New in the Windows Azure Platform

James Conard (Sr. Director – @jamescon)

What is the Windows Azure Platform?

  • Provide the best and most comprehensive Platform as a Service offering for building, deploying, and running cloud applications
  • Open & Flexible
    • Using several technologies and not only the .NET Framework
  • Leverage Existing Investments
    • Use the known technologies and ways to develop that exist already in the market in order to reduce the difficulty of entering in the cloud
  • Ready for next Generation apps
    • Prepare for the next types of apps like mobile, and high available

Windows Azure Core Services

  • Compute
    • Scalable environment for running code
    • Enables .NET, C++, PHP, Ruby, Python
      • By default .NET Framework is installed but you can deploy the technology you’d like and use it
    • Automate Service Management
      • Abstract you from managing the infrastructure where your apps is running on
  • Storage
    • Scalable and highly available cloud storage
    • Blobs, Tables, Queues, Drives
    • REST APIs and several client libraries
  • Database
    • SQL Relational Database (SQL Azure)
      • Use the same knowledge that exist in using SQL Server and make them available in the cloud
    • Familiar programming model & Tools

Windows Azure Platform Roadmap

  • October 2008
    • Announced the Windows Azure Platform
    • First CTP of Windows Azure Platform
  • March 2009
    • Announced SQL Azure Relational DB
  • November 2009
    • Updates Windows Azure CTP
    • Announced VMRole, Project Sydney and Windows Azure Platform pricing and SLAs
    • Enable FullTrust & PHP, Java etc.
    • Project Dallas CTP
  • February 2010
    • Windows Azure Platform generally available
  • June 2010
    • Windows Azure Update
      • .NET Framework 4
      • OS versioning
    • SQL Azure Update
      • 50 GB databases
      • Spatial data Support
      • DAC support
  • November 2010 – Big Release
    • New Windows Azure Platform Management Portal
    • Multiple Service Administrators (co-Admins)
    • Remote Desktop
    • Full IIS
      • Web Roles previously using Hosted Web Core
        • Only supported a single HTTP or HTTPs endpoing
      • Web Roles now supporting Full IIS 7.0/7.5
      • Enables new scenarios
        • Multiple IIS websites
        • Multiple virtual machines
        • Configure IIS extensions
        • Web Deploy for Rapid development
    • Windows Server 2008 R2 & IIS 7.5
    • Elevated Privileges
    • Windows Azure Connect (CTP)
    • Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role (Beta)
    • Extra Small Instances
    • Startup Tasks & Admin Mode
      • Enables short, unattended setups on role startup
      • Silent MSIs, COM components, Registry Keys, Configuring Windows Server Roles, etc
      • Configuration Sample for startup tasks in the ServiceConfiguration.cscfg
        • <WebRole name=”test”>
          • <Startup>
            • <Task commandline=”<commandToBeRunned>” executingContext=”limited|elevated” taskType=”simple|foreground|background”/>
          • </Startup>
        • </WebRole>

Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN)

  • Enabled from Windows Azure Platform Portal
  • Integrated with Storage (Blob Storage)
  • Recent Enhancements
    • Delivery from Windows Azure Compute instances
    • Https support
  • CTP of Smooth Streaming – End of April 2011

Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service v 2.0 (ACS)

  • Provides AuthN support using multiple identity providers
    • Easily integrate Live ID, Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Active Directory
    • Support for WS-Federation, WS-Trust, OpenID 2.0, OAuth 2.0
  • Familiar & Consistent .NET Programming Model
    • Use existing Windows Identity Foundations SDK & Assemblies
  • REST-based Service Management API
    • Integrate into your existing apps and control panels
  • Now Available
    • No charge during promotion period ending January 1st, 2012
    • Low cost after the promotion: $1.99 per 100.000 transactions

Windows Azure AppFabric Caching

  • Distributed in-memory cache for Windows Azure apps
    • Integrated directly with the cache using .NET client library
    • Session State Provider for Windows Azure applications
  • Caching provided as a building block service
    1. Configure an AppFabric Namespace
    2. Choose your cache size
    3. Write code against that service
  • Familiar & Consistent APIs
    • Same APIs as Windows Service AppFabric
  • Available commercially by the end of April
  • In the CTP only the Data Center of South Central US has the Caching Service
    • supported cache sizes: 128 MB, 256MB
  • After the end of April (commercial Availability) you’ll have it available in every data center with supported cache sizes from 128MB to 4GB

Cloud Data Services

  • SQL Azure Reporting (Currently in a Private CTP)
    • SQL Server Reporting provided as a Service
    • Reports authored using existing tools (BIDS) and deployed to SQL Azure Reporting
  • SQL Azure Data Sync
    • Data synchronization provided as a Service
    • Sync to/from SQL Azure Database
    • Sync between SQL Server and SQL Azure
  • Windows Azure DataMarket
    • Information marketplace for ISVs and IWs that provide trusted public domain & premium commercial data
    • Now commercially available
    • Firstly announced as codename “Dallas”

Performance Matters

  • The new Windows Azure Traffic Manager solved this problem
  • Load Balancing across multiple Hosted Services
  • Now Available in CTP
  • Three scenarios that are currently in the CTP
    • Performance
      • Directs the user to the best / closest deployment
    • Fault Tolerance
      • Redirect Traffic to another deployment based on availability
    • Round Robin
      • Traffic routed to deployments based on a fixed ration
  • Also allow to keep a status of all your apps in order to understand how to rout the traffic

Windows Azure Platform Access

  • Windows Azure Pass
    • Free 30-Day access to the platform
    • Includes:
      • Compute: 3 small instances
      • Storage: 3 GB + 250K transactions
      • Data Transfer: 3GB in & 3GB out
      • Database: 2x1GB Web Edition
    • Signup: http://windowsazurepass.com
    • Enter code: MIXABC
  • Introductory Trial
    • Available through September 30th, 2011
    • Includes:
      • Compute: 750 extra small hours + 25 small
      • Storage: 20GB + 50K transactions
      • Data Transfer: 20GB in & 20 GB out
      • Database: 1 GB Web Edition (90 Days)
    • Sign-up: http://windowsazure.com
    • Note: Requires Credit Card Information but allows you to access CTP services
  • Ultimate
    • Compute: 1.500 hours of small instances
    • Storage: 30 GB
    • Transactions: 2M
    • Bandwidth: 35 GB in / 35 GB out
    • Databases: 5 GB Web Edition
  • Premium
    • Compute: 1.500 hours of extra-small instances
    • Storage: 25 GB
    • Transactions: 1M
    • Bandwidth: 30 GB in / 30 GB out
    • Databases: 1 GB Web Edition
  • Professional
    • Compute: 750 hours of extra-small instances
    • Storage: 20 GB
    • Transactions: 250K
    • Bandwidth: 25 GB in / 25 GB out
    • Databases: 1 GB Web Edition


Interesting topics

  • You can select which OSFamily you want to use by editing the ServiceConfiguration.cscfg file with the values:
    • 1 – Windows Server 2008
    • 2 – Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Currently ASP.NET MVC 3 isn’t available on Windows Azure and so you need to install it using a Startup Task
  • Release of some Extensions for ACS 2.0 that allow ACS to be plugged directly in Umbraco allowing it to configured without going to the Management Portal

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