Windows Azure and the cloud: What it’s all about


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Join me for an overview of Microsoft’s cloud operating system: Windows Azure. Assuming no prior knowledge of Windows Azure, we’ll start with an explanation of cloud computing and Windows Azure and how this is different from traditional server applications. You will learn that Windows Azure is not a big monolithic block but instead consists of several smaller apps like compute, storage, SQL Azure traffic manager, the Windows Azure CDN and the Access Control Service.

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  • To build an application or solution in a legacy world, you have to think about network, OS, storage, and scale. But they have little to do with what you really want to build, an application.But what if there were a different way.
  • Talking points:Some applications are perfect matches for a cloud model.<click> On and off scenarios are typically applications that perfectly fit in a cloud model. Imagine processes that only run for an hour a day, or a day per month, or once a year. We have a client who does school registrations for some schools, ensuring no parents have to stay in tents and have to wait until registration opens. Their engine calculating who gets priority in registering ther children in a school typically runs for 5 hours, twice a year. They use Windows Azure to host that flow and only pay for 10 hours of sever use, yearly. Or, in money terms: just below 2 EUR per year.<click> Scale-fast, fail fast scenarios are also common indicators for working with a cloud platform. By scale fast, we are talking not only about the Facebooks and Twitters in this world, but also incubator ideas. Imagine you have an idea for an application, for example one where users can request an offer for some products. Why not go ahead and build that app, and hosting on Windows Azure? If it works out and gives value, keep it running. If after 2 months nobody used it, simply trash it: fail fast. The idea had a chance to prove itself. In non-cloud scenarios where servers had to be bought, chances are this idea would have never been tested. Scale-fast, fail-fast is all about stimulating innovation: testing ideas, apart from developing them, costs little compared to what they may bring in revenue afterwards.<click> Burst scenarios, predictable and non-predictable, are another scenario. Imagine you run a campaign, you know you’ll have more users at that time. Simply add some resources in the cloud platform and remove them again afterwards. Also unpredictable bursts are a good scenario: if you sometimes have peak usage on your apps, host them in a cloud. Windows Azure can scale up when needed and scale back when no longer needed.Do remember other scenarios are possible as well. These are just three scenarios where, if you recognize your app in one of them, the cloud will be a perfect match and you will benefit in terms of stability, scalability and cost reduction.Note to speaker: if people ask about “autoscaling”: this is not supported out of the box but can easily be added. The new version of EntLib contains a ready to use block. Also, RealDolmen has developed a component that takes care of this.
  • Talking points:This is Microsoft’s Northern Europe Datacenter (also known as Dublin). It is a so-called generation 3 datacenter, which means no “containerized” servers are in there. Instead, a large amount of racks are in the datacenter.Within RealDolmen, 2 persons have had the luck of being able to visit this datacenter on different times. Both came back, impressed, and could not stop talking about many of the environmental and security measures being taken. Unfortunately, those things are covered by an NDA. Some non-NDA items are, for example the fact that no one can enter the datacenter alone. Every room requires authentication, often with biometric scans. No human in the datacenter knows where which workload and thus your app resides within the datacenter. The datacenter decides this for itself based on security, privacy and load constraints.
  • Talking points:The Chicago datacenter is double the size of the Dublin datacenter.It is a generation 4 datacenter, which means: containerized and more efficient.
  • Talking points:When extra capacity is required in the datacenter, containers are “plugged” into the giant “USB ports” you see on this picture.
  • Talking points:- No cooling is required: containers are cooled, not the empty space in between. A container typically is either compute (servers) or cooling. The ones inb the picture probably always are servers below, cooling in the upper container.
  • Talking points:The amount of servers in a typical Microsoft datacenter is enormous. Imagine a few thousand server racks, stuffed with 1 U or ½ U servers all running a couple of virtual machines. Nobody but large companies like Microsoft can provide that amount of power in a central location.
  • Demo: Hello World
  • Demo: switch staging / production
  • Demo: Connect tolocalblob storage usingCerebrata tools, show itssimilarto FTP/…Use VS and upload anuploaded file toblob storage (ASP.NET file upload  Blob storage)
  • Demo: Create a database server on SQL AzureCreate a databaseExplain the firewall rukesShow the SL administrative UI
  • DemoSendMessage
  • Show developer guides on
  • Talking points:To give you an example on how to combine blocks, look at a project we did with Mobistar. They had a campaign running for only 3 days with > 3mio unique visitors. After these 3 days, the app was still live for 14 days just showing a thank you page.To handle that load, a series of Compute instances on Windows Azure were used, a virtual server farm with a large number of services used on demand. For example, during nights we only had 2 servers running, at peak moments we scaled to > 50 servers. This resulted in an average consumption of compute resources which was a lot lower than having to buy or rent 50+ servers the whole time. I can not disclose the actual # of servers, but the total Windows Azure invoice (just the resources used) was only USD 580. Including VAT. FOR 50+ SERVERS!!!Next, we of course required storage. Some GB were used, but at USD 0.12 per month those were not expensive.Caching was used: session state for users had to be distributed over multiple servers, the caching block offers this functionality.CDN, the Content Delivery Network, was used to host images, CSS and JavaScript. Why bother the compute instances with static file hosting?
  • Talking points:Not only scaling out can be a reason to move to Windows Azure. For Syntra, we have a solution which uses the Access Control component to have users authenticate on their Active Directory from different applications like a hosted Exchange, a PHP-based Moodle installation, ...This solution does not require open firewall ports, minimal maintenance.This solution costs them 30 EUR per year. Including VAT.
  • Talking points:Another example is MyGet.MyGet uses a lot of the components in Windows Azure. It is a software-as-a-service, meaning anyone out there can use this application and eventually pay for using it.The business model was uncertain: would it work? Would people like it and use it? Or was it doomed from the start?To cover that uncertainty, Windows Azure was the platform of choice: it provides a rich set of services (compute, storage, access control, database, a global deployment on 2 continents, ...).Running in 2 datacenters globally, MyGet only costs 150 EUR incl. VAT in pure computational resources. Or 5 EUR per day. This means, if the application would have proven not to work, letting it “fail” and taking it offline would be possible at any time, without the risk of having a few servers that were bought or leased for three years sitting idle.
  • Windows Azure and the cloud: What it’s all about

    1. 1. Who am I?MaartenBalliauw@maartenballiauw
    2. 2.  Save time and money Enable new scenarios
    3. 3. inefficiencies in traditional IT… Allocated Load Forecast IT-capacities “Under-supply“ of capacities IT CAPACITY “Waste“ of Fixed cost of IT- capacities capacities Barrier forinnovations Actual Load TIME
    4. 4. however, in a Cloud View Load Allocated IT Forecast capacities No “under-supply“ IT CAPACITY Reduction of Possible reduction “over-supply“ of IT-capacities in case of reduced load Reduction of initialinvestments Actual Load Time
    5. 5. instant wins Average Usage Compute ComputeCompute Inactivity Period Average Usage Average Usage Time Time TimeOn and off Scale fast, fail fast Burst scenarios
    6. 6. “IaaS” “PaaS” “SaaS”Infrastructure-as-a-Service Platform-as-a-Service Software-as-a-Service host build consume
    7. 7. windows azure
    8. 8. datacenters around the world Windows Azure San Antonio, TX Approx 477K sq ft, 27MW, uses recycled water for cooling Chicago, IL 707,000 square feet with critical power of 60 MW, uses water side economization, containers Dublin, Ireland Approx 570K sq ft, up to 27MW, uses outside air for cooling.
    9. 9. Getting Started withWindows Azure
    10. 10. servicepackageservicepackage
    11. 11.  Provision Virtual Servers Deploy App Code Configure Network service package new virtual server new virtual server Server Rack 1 Server Rack 2
    12. 12.  Provision Virtual Servers Deploy App Code Configure Network service package
    13. 13.  Provision Virtual Servers Deploy App Code Configure Network service package
    14. 14.  Provision Virtual Servers Deploy App Code Configure Network  Network load-balancer configured for traffic
    15. 15. multiplelanguages
    16. 16. “Hello World”Using PHP
    17. 17. 2 6 92 Scale
    18. 18. Pay Only For What You Use.
    19. 19. Staging &Production
    20. 20. Focus on Apps,not Infrastructure
    21. 21. building blocks
    22. 22. Storage Options
    23. 23. blob storage
    24. 24. blob storage
    25. 25. SQL Azure
    26. 26. SQL Azure
    27. 27. Tightly Coupled
    28. 28. Tightly Coupled
    29. 29. Loosely Coupled
    30. 30. Loosely Coupled
    31. 31. Loosely Coupled
    32. 32. Loosely Coupled
    33. 33. Service BusQueues
    34. 34. hybrid
    35. 35. building blocks
    36. 36. DeveloperGuides
    37. 37. open source libraries  Apache 2 License  Multiple Languages  Hosted on GitHub  Contributions Welcome
    38. 38. stackoverflow
    39. 39. An example: MobistarThree-day campaign> 3mio unique visitorsComponents used:ComputeStorageCachingCDN(Content Delivery Network) Number of servers vs. actual load
    40. 40. An example: SyntraOnly uses the Access Control Service blockReduces maintenanceNo more identity integration issues Moodle Hosted Exchange Other apps
    41. 41. An example: myShopiUses a lot of the Windows Azure componentsMobile application to share shopping listsiPhone, iPad, Android, WP7, Web, …Needs a back-end!Needs to scale!
    42. 42. An example: MyGetUses a lot of the Windows Azure components“Scale fast, fail fast”
    43. 43. Get started.
    44. 44. MSDN Benefits Free Windows Azure forProfessional, Premium, andUltimate subscribers
    45. 45. Student Benefits  Lieve Goedhuys
    46. 46. AZUG.BE – Azure User Group BelgiumMonthly session around a Windows Azure related topicNational & international speakersCommunity
    47. 47. Code d’AzureIntroduction to Windows AzureMarch 20, KontichRegister:
    48. 48. What to remember?Cloud is here to stayWindows Azure isApplication servicesStorage servicesFoundation / integration servicesCloud is not all-or-nothingQuick winsOn and OffScale fast, fail fastPeak scenariosStart today –