Windows Azure is a platform with many different services that you, the developer can piece together to create your solutions. But when do you use which service and how? In this blog series, you’ll discover the answer to that by using different scenarios used by developers working with Windows Azure today.
I’ll never forget this one time (at band camp? LOL) I was doing a presentation and after a full 2 hours of going through the Windows Azure platform, a developer at the back of the room stood up and said to me “Jonathan, now that I understand what Windows Azure is, what do I use when?” I took a minute to reflect on the question – to understand exactly what he was asking me. I thought he was joking at first, but after thinking about it for a bit, the question made sense. It’s very easy to understand what each individual service does, but it is a bit harder to piece together how all the different services work together.
In the next few posts, I’ll go through some scenarios that I see often being used today and will endeavour to highlight how different services can be used to meet certain requirements.
If you need a crash course or a refresher on the Windows Azure platform, check out my Azure Camp Online series or visit an Azure Camp in a city near you.
Attributes of a Website
Before going to into the which, the when, and the how of Windows Azure services for websites, let’s take a moment to understand some of the key attributes of a website:
There are definitely more, but these are the ones that relate to this discussion.
Mapping Attributes to Services
Now that we know the above, we can map these attributes to Windows Azure services:
When looking at storage options there’s a lot to consider, so you’ll need to dig deeper into this one before making a decision. I have some excellent resources I’ll highlight in a few posts that will help you with this.
Using the attributes of a website as a guide, we’ve now been able to map Windows Azure services to meet the requirements of each.
As with everything in technology, there is always more than one way of achieving the same result, but one way will work better than another for the requirements of your particular solution. The best way to figure out which one is best, is to try it out yourself.
Keep In Mind
Testing with the emulators that are included with the Windows Azure SDK (while it is definitely something you should do before deploying)will not give you as accurate of an idea as testing with the live production environment. In order to truly determine what will work best, you’ll definitely want to deploy to Windows Azure itself.
If you’re an MSDN, MPN, or BizSpark member, you have Windows Azure benefits included with your subscription that give you ample resources with which to test Windows Azure. If you’re not a member, you can use the 90 day free trial which also gives you ample resources with which to test. The only difference is that you’ll have 90 days to do it in. For most scenarios, 90 days is sufficient to do the necessary testing.
TIP: You can now set usage limits on your Windows Azure deployments. This will help you ensure that you don’t go over the resources that are included with the trial or MSDN, MPN, and BizSpark memberships. This will then prevent any unwanted charges going on your credit card.
Get a Conversation Going
Do you have any questions about Windows Azure as it relates to websites? Have you already tried different services and architectures for your solution and learned a few things along the way? Start a conversation on LinkedIn and ask or share with others.
As I mentioned above, there is more than one way to do anything mentioned above and different scenarios will call for different architectures. What’s mentioned in this post is just A way of architecting the solution. Don’t take this post to mean that it is the only way or the best way.