Tom Hollander's blog

patterns, practices and pontification

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  • Blog Post: Deploying multiple virtual directories to a single Azure Website

    Since the beginning of time, IIS has allowed you to configure multiple virtual directories and applications within a single website. There are a bunch of situations where this is useful, but let’s go with a common example. Suppose I have a website than has a bunch of pages, and a REST API which is accessed...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure in Australia: Facts and Rumours

    Today, Microsoft has made the long-awaited announcement that Windows Azure is coming to Australia ! Of course it’s been possible for Aussies to deploy and use applications in Windows Azure for some time, but this has always required deploying to overseas data centres. This announcement is about the upcoming...
  • Blog Post: Keep your Windows Azure applications running with custom health checks

    Summary: Even though Windows Azure does a great job of keeping your VMs running, only you know exactly what it means for your own apps to be healthy. This post and sample code shows a pattern for implementing custom health checks that can report the health of your application, recover from failures if...
  • Blog Post: Running scripts from a Windows Azure role’s OnStart method

    Summary: Startup scripts declared in ServiceDefinition.csdef work well in most cases, but if you need to modify IIS configuration you’ll need to run your scripts from your role’s OnStart method. This post includes some sample code that can do this using a configuration-driven declarative approach. In...
  • Blog Post: Using XPath to set environment variables in ServiceDefinition.csdef

    In my last post on zipping IIS log files in Windows Azure, my ServiceDefinition.csdef file included the following code to set an environment variable to the value of a local resource path: < Task commandLine ="Startup\ScheduleLogFileZipAndDeleteTask.cmd" executionContext ="elevated"...
  • Blog Post: Zip your IIS log files before transferring with Windows Azure Diagnostics

    Summary: If your Windows Azure-hosted website is really popular, the IIS log files can start to get pretty big. To prevent them from filling up your local VM’s quota and to minimise storage size and transfer bandwidth, you can zip the log files before Windows Azure Diagnostics transfers them to...
  • Blog Post: Using Windows Firewall to restrict access to Windows Azure instances

    Summary : If you ever have a need to restrict access to your Windows Azure deployment to known IP address ranges, you can do this by programmatically modifying the Windows Firewall. You’ll need to do this both at startup, and whenever your role topology changes, as the Windows Azure guest agent...
  • Blog Post: Keeping diagnostics in sync across Windows Azure instances

    Windows Azure Diagnostics provides a great way for operations staff, developers and testers to find out what’s going on within a Windows Azure PaaS (Cloud Service) deployment. In a nutshell, it lets you specify what types of logs you are interested in (application logs, event logs, performance counters...
  • Blog Post: Automated Build and Deployment with Windows Azure SDK 1.6

    A few months ago I posted on how to automate deployment of Windows Azure projects using MSBuild. While the approach documented in that post continues to work, Windows Azure SDK 1.6 has introduced some new capabilities for managing Windows Azure credentials and publishing settings which I wanted to leverage...
  • Blog Post: Updates to Windows Azure MSBuild post for SDK 1.5

    Just a quick note that I’ve edited my previous post Using MSBuild to deploy to multiple Windows Azure environments based on some changes to the platform that have come with the Windows Azure SDK 1.5 and Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets 2.0. The main changes are to the MSBuild targets added to...
  • Blog Post: Using Service Bus Topics and Subscriptions with WCF

    Introduction In my last post , I showed how to use Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus Queues with WCF. Service Bus Queues provide a great mechanism for asynchronous communication between between two specific applications or services. However in complex systems it’s often useful to support this...
  • Blog Post: Using Service Bus Queues with WCF

    In 2008 I posted a series of blog articles about how to use MSMQ, WCF and IIS together. I chose to use this architecture as it combined the scalability and resiliency benefits of durable asynchronous messaging, with the simplicity and power of the WCF programming model and IIS hosting model. Over the...
  • Blog Post: Environments for Windows Azure development

    What is an Environment? Anyone who has worked on a software development project will be familiar with the concept of an “environment”. Simply put, an environment is a set of infrastructure that you can deploy your application to, supporting a specific activity in your software development...
  • Blog Post: Hosting Services with WAS and IIS on Windows Azure

    Many developers choose to use service oriented techniques to break large systems into smaller, loosely coupled services. Frequently, each service will be hosted on a different machine and use WS-* protocols for standards-based communication. However there can be times when different hosting and communication...
  • Blog Post: Using MSBuild to deploy to multiple Windows Azure environments

    Update 6 December 2011: Windows Azure SDK 1.6 includes some significant changes to how credentials and publishing settings are managed, so I've written a new post Automated Build and Deployment with Windows Azure SDK 1.6 which shows how to leverage these in a build and deployment process. Update 26...
  • Blog Post: Get logging in Windows Azure with Enterprise Library

    Hi again – yes I know it’s been a while. Recently I’ve started a new role in Microsoft which involves helping customers deploy applications on Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. I thought it may be fitting it I kick this off with a post that bridges my (now quite...
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