Archives For Architecture

2017-02-01_13h38_36

Getting Around Blocked Ports

Regularly, I find myself in a location that blocks ports to the outside world. In many of those moments, I can’t use Remote Desktop (RDP) sessions to connect to Virtual Machines hosted on Azure. The strategy expressed in this post is one of many possible solutions that also applies to Linux and SSH sessions.

The Strategy

  • Using a Load Balancer and NAT rules to map port 443 to the RDP (3389) port for a Jumpbox Virtual Machine (VM)
  • Using the Jumpbox to RDP into VMs deployed to the Azure Virtual Network.
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Quick Thoughts

Businesses need to be agile to compete in today’s global economy. Programmers use various tools and techniques in order to meet this business requirement. The challenge is great and quite complex. Going too fast without the right approach can lead to ephemeral success.

I believe that Microservices give us the agility and architectural patterns that empower us to scale and create value at a far greater pace for the business compared to using a traditional tiered architectures approach.

Forget about 3-tier architectures, they just doesn’t scale. Stateless services need to rebuild their internal state for every call, and they can generate tremendous pressure on data stores. Consequently, this generates back pressure that bubbles up through the layers of our solution and reaches out to the edge. Back pressure then translates into unavailable services. The key is Data Locality and Stateful Services.

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2016-07-09

Speaking at DevTeach 2016

Years ago, I attended the DevTeach conference and was fortunate to participate in conversations that helped me overcome many challenges over the years that followed. This week I had the opportunity to speak at DevTeach in Montreal. For this event, I chose a topic that I’m really passionate about and needed to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.

The talk had a progression from a public cloud, to an architectural pattern, to a hyper-scale microservice platform and finally about a programming model.

My goal with this talk is primarily to introduce Actors and Service Fabric. Then provide attendees with additional information in the downloadable slides about the patterns that I feel are important to consider when building microservices.

Caught by surprise, I had a full room and a lot of great questions. Thanks everyone for making this a success. Continue Reading…

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The 95th Percentile

Imagine a reality, where you can detect and fix issues without your users noticing that something went wrong.

We all aspire to measure performance in some way, and choosing what to measure can be a challenge in itself. By default, we think about averages, and we forget that there are many other possible measurements. Continue Reading…

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Never would have imagined that the laws of physics would be so important in a world where virtualization is the new normal.

Data Locality is Important

Data Locality, refers to the ability to move the computation close to the data. This is important because when performance is key, IO quickly becomes our number one bottleneck. Data access times vary from milliseconds to seconds because of many factors like hardware specifications and network capabilities.

Let’s explore Data Locality through the following Scenario. I have eight files containing data about multiple trucks, and I need to Identify trips. A trip consists of many segments, including short stops. So if the driver stops for coffee and starts again, this is still considered the same trip. The strategy depicted below is to read each file and to group data points by truck. This can be referred to as mapping the data. Then we can compute the trips for each group in parallel over multiple threads. This can be referred to as reducing the data. And finally, we merge the results in a single CSV file so that we can easily import it to other systems like SQL Server and Power BI.

Single Machine

The single machine configuration results were promising. So I decided to break it apart and distribute the process across many task Virtual Machines (TVM). Azure Batch is the perfect service to schedule jobs. Continue Reading…

mind-the-gap

Based on the current builds, compared to Server, Nano Server has 93 percent lower VHD size, 92 percent fewer critical bulletins and 80 percent fewer reboots!

Deploying Nano Server to Azure

I’ve been curious about Nano Server for a while now. And I recently noticed that it was available on Microsoft Azure. This post is definitely from a developers point-of-view. It goes through the steps required to create a functional Nano Server Virtual Machines (VM) on Microsoft Azure.

Nano Server is ideal for many scenarios:

  • As a “compute” host for Hyper-V virtual machines, either in clusters or not
  • As a storage host for Scale-Out File Server.
  • As a DNS server
  • As a web server running Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • As a host for applications that are developed using cloud application patterns and run in a container or virtual machine guest operating system.

The Adventure

Nano Server is a remotely administered server operating system (OS). Wait. Let me repeat this because it’s important… Nano Server is a remotely administered server operating system (OS). Developers, Nano Server is a server OS optimized for clouds and data centers. It’s designed to take up far less disk space, to setup significantly faster, and to require far fewer restarts than Windows Server. So why does this matter? Well it means more resources, more availability and stability for our Apps. And it also means that it’s time to learn new skills, because there is no local logon capability at all, nor does it support Terminal Services. However, we have a wide variety of options for managing Nano Server remotely, including Windows PowerShell, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Windows Remote Management, and Emergency Management Services (EMS). Continue Reading…

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Saving Microsoft ARM Templates as JSON files on disk

If you are creating a brand new environment on Azure, you should be using Windows PowerShell and Resource Manager. Instead of creating and managing individual resources, use a template (resource model) to create a resource group that has the resources need to support your service. You can create your own templates or pick a template from the gallery.

If you’re starting off with the Azure Resource Manager (ARM), I recommend taking a look at what others have published. Then modify them to create a resource model that represents your service. Continue Reading…

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The Greenfield to Brownfield Transition

There’s a special moment in every project where it transitions from a Greenfield (new) project to a Brownfield (legacy) project. This moment usually occurs close to the second release.

As developers, we love Greenfield projects. It’s a new adventure where creativity runs wild and free.

The transition of a project from Greenfield to a Brownfield is an event that we can all appreciate. It’s delicate and requires attention from everyone on the team. Continue Reading…


If you are building your application on the cloud instead of building your application for the cloud, you’re doing it wrong!

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do not cross boundaries too often I know… I know, these days we’re mostly talking about being stateless and there are valid reasons for it. But when we’re building Cloud Services where performance is critical, we need to think about state.

Let’s reflect on what it means to be stateful for a moment. Being stateful means that we keep data close to our processes. What it doesn’t mean, is that we should forget about persistence. That being said lets go over some of the reasons why much of the community is all about statelessness.

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