Sunday, May 30, 2010

CMAP Code Camp May 2010 Materials: Azure

On May 8, I presented two Azure talks: “The Essential Setup Guide” and “Taking Advantage of the Platform.” Here’s the slide deck and sample code I used for these talks:

Thanks to all who attended. As most of you will recall, nearly everyone from the first session stayed around for the second session, so it ended up being like a double-length talk. Here are a few takeaways from the talks:

  • We went over some of the basics of Azure, and the fact that it offers everything except the app: network, computers, operating systems, failover, storage, monitoring… the works.
  • We went over some of the terms. Remember that every “role” you create for Azure is nothing more than a definition for a virtual machine. You can then deploy that role to Azure, and you can have any number of instances (essentially copies) of a given role. You pay for the number of roles you deploy, and you can scale the number up or down depending on your needs.
  • To get started, visit – from here, you can select Get Tools & SDK, which will have you on your way. You’ll also need to enable a few things on your local development machine. See here for more details.
  • We built and deployed a very simple Hello Azure demo, with nothing more than a web page. This demonstrated how easy it is to set up a new Hosted Service through the Azure Portal ( From Visual Studio, we right-clicked the cloud project and selected Publish. This packaged our entire cloud application into a single cspkg file that could then be selected through the portal.
  • During the second session, we continued on our journey by looking at an application with tables and queues. We saw how straightforward it was to use both a local (dev fabric) queue and a real-life Azure-hosted queue. The SMS demo code (provided in the link above) has comments describing how to switch between the two. The same case is for the storage table: you may choose local (dev fabric) storage or Azure-hosted storage (you’ll have to set up a storage account in your Azure account).
  • I briefly mentioned affinity. Azure has 6 data centers throughout the world, two being in the United States. When you deploy a service, you can choose where it goes (or not choose at all). Here’s the key thing: you want your service and your storage located in the same data center. By placing everything in the same data center, data transfer is super-speedy, and you won’t incur any bandwidth charges when reading and writing data with your Azure-hosted services. This is what affinity is all about, and when you create each service or storage, you’ll be able to specify its affinity.

If anyone’s interested in a 2-day Azure Deep Dive, I’ll be teaching a free 2-day Azure Bootcamp July 7-8 in Virginia Beach. Register here. If you can’t make it to my bootcamp, check out additional dates and venues here.

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