Azure in Action
Chris Hay and Brian H. Prince
  • October 2010
  • ISBN 9781935182481
  • 488 pages
  • printed in black & white

Easy to read, easy to recommend.

Eric Nelson, Microsoft UK

Microsoft Azure is a cloud service with good scalability, pay-as-you-go service, and a low start-up cost. Based on Windows, it includes an operating system, developer services, and a familiar data model.

Azure in Action is a fast-paced tutorial that introduces cloud development and the Azure platform. The book starts with the logical and physical architecture of an Azure app, and quickly moves to the core storage services—BLOB storage, tables, and queues. Then, it explores designing and scaling frontend and backend services that run in the cloud. Through clear, crisp examples, you'll discover all facets of Azure, including the development fabric, web roles, worker roles, BLOBs, table storage, queues, and more.

This book requires basic C# skills. No prior exposure to cloud development or Azure is needed.

Table of Contents show full

preface xix

acknowledgments xxi

about this book xxiv

author online xxvi

about the authors xxvii

about the cover illustration xxix

Part 1 Welcome to the cloud

1. Getting to know Windows Azure

1.1. What’s the Windows Azure platform?

1.2. Building your first Windows Azure web application

1.3. Putting all the Azure pieces together

1.4. Storing data in the cloud with Azure

1.5. Why run in the cloud?

1.6. Inside the Windows Azure platform

1.7. Summary

2. Your first steps with a web role

2.1. Getting around the Azure SDK

2.2. Taking Hello World to the next level

2.3. Deploying with the Azure portal

2.4. Summary

Part 2 Understanding the Azure service model

3. How Windows Azure works

3.1. The big shift

3.2. Windows Azure, an operating system for the cloud

3.3. The Fabric Controller

3.4. The service model and you

3.5. It’s not my fault

3.6. Rolling out new code

3.7. The bare metal

3.8. The innards of the web role VM

3.9. Summary

4. It’s time to run with the service

4.1. Using the Windows Azure Service Management API

4.2. Defining your service

4.3. Setting up certificates in Windows Azure

4.4. Summary

5. Configuring your service

5.1. Working with the service configuration file

5.2. Handling configuration at runtime

5.3. Configuring non-application settings

5.4. Developing a common code base

5.5. The RoleEnvironment class and callbacks

5.6. Summary

Part 3 Running your site with web roles

6. Scaling web roles

6.1. What happens to your web server under extreme load?

6.2. How the load balancer distributes requests

6.3. Session management

6.4. Cache management

6.5. Summary

7. Running full-trust, native, and other code

7.1. Enabling full-trust support

7.2. FastCGI in Windows Azure

7.3. External processes in Windows Azure

7.4. Calling native libraries with P/Invoke

7.5. Summary

Part 4 Working with BLOB storage

8. The basics of BLOBs

8.1. Storing files in a scaled-out fashion is a pain in the NAS

8.2. A closer look at the BLOB storage service

8.3. Getting started with development storage

8.4. Developing against containers

8.5. Configuring your application to work against the live service

8.6. Summary

9. Uploading and downloading BLOBs

9.1. Using the REST API

9.2. Managing BLOBs using the StorageClient library

9.3. Downloading BLOBs

9.4. Integrating BLOBs with your ASP.NET websites

9.5. Using local storage with BLOB storage

9.6. Copying BLOBs

9.7. Setting shared access permissions

9.8. Summary

10. When the BLOB stands alone

10.1. Hosting static HTML websites

10.2. Hosting Silverlight applications in BLOB storage

10.3. Using BLOB storage as a media server

10.4. Content delivery networks

10.5. Summary

Part 5 Working with structured data

11. The Table service, a whole different entity

11.1. A brief overview of the Table service

11.2. How we’d normally represent entities outside of Azure

11.3. Modifying an entity to work with the Table service

11.4. Partitioning data across lots of servers

11.5. Developing with the Table service

11.6. Doing CRUDy stuff with the Table service

11.7. Summary

12. Working with the Table service REST API

12.1. Performing storage account operations using REST

12.2. Authenticating requests against the Table service

12.3. Modifying entities with the REST API is CRUD

12.4. Batching data

12.5. Querying data

12.6. Summary

13. SQL Azure and relational data

13.1. The march of SQL Server to the cloud

13.2. Setting up SQL Azure

13.3. Size matters

13.4. How SQL Azure works

13.5. Managing your database

13.6. Migrating an application to SQL Azure

13.7. Limitations of SQL Azure

13.8. Common SQL Azure scenarios

13.9. Summary

14. Working with different types of data

14.1. Static reference data

14.2. Storing static reference data with dynamic data

14.3. Joining dynamic and infrequently changing data together

14.4. Summary

Part 6 Doing work with messages

15. Processing with worker roles

15.1. A simple worker role service

15.2. Communicating with a worker role

15.3. Common uses for worker roles

15.4. Working with local storage

15.5. Summary

16. Messaging with the queue

16.1. Decoupling your system with messaging

16.2. Working with basic queue operations

16.3. Working with messages

16.4. Understanding message visibility

16.5. Patterns for message processing

16.6. Summary

17. Connecting in the cloud with AppFabric

17.1. The road AppFabric has traveled

17.2. Controlling access with ACS

17.3. Example: A return to our string-reversing service

17.4. Connecting with the Service Bus

17.5. Example: Listening for messages on the bus

17.6. The future of AppFabric

17.7. Summary

18. Running a healthy service in the cloud

18.1. Diagnostics in the cloud

18.2. Diagnostics in the cloud is just like normal (almost)

18.3. Configuring the diagnostic agent

18.4. Transferring diagnostic data

18.5. Using the service management API

18.6. Better together for scaling

18.7. Summary

© 2014 Manning Publications Co.

About the Technology

Microsoft Azure is a cloud service with good scalability, pay-as-you-go service, and a low start-up cost. Based on Windows, it includes an operating system, developer services, and a familiar data model.

About the book

Azure in Action is a fast-paced tutorial that introduces cloud development and the Azure platform. The book starts with the logical and physical architecture of an Azure app, and quickly moves to the core storage services—BLOB storage, tables, and queues. Then, it explores designing and scaling frontend and backend services that run in the cloud. Through clear, crisp examples, you'll discover all facets of Azure, including the development fabric, web roles, worker roles, BLOBs, table storage, queues, and more.

What's inside

  • Data storage and manipulation
  • Using message queues
  • Deployment and management
  • Azure's data model

About the reader

This book requires basic C# skills. No prior exposure to cloud development or Azure is needed.

About the authors

A Microsoft MVP specializing in high-transaction databases, Chris Hay is a popular speaker and founder of the Cambridge, UK, .NET usergroup. Brian H. Prince is a Microsoft Architect Evangelist who helps customers adopt the cloud.


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I doubt even the Azure team knows all of this.

Mark Monster, Rubicon

An educational ride at an amusement park--great information and lots of humor.

Michael Wood, Strategic Data Systems

Highly recommended, like all Manning books.

James Hatheway, i365, A Seagate Company

This book will get you in the cloud...and beyond.

Christian Siegers, Cap Gemini