Archives For C#

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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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Getting to Know Azure Mobile App Cont.

Microsoft Azure Mobile App has recently gone GA (General Availability) and has definitely captured my attention. Mobile App is a tremendous accelerator that enables us to go from an idea to a functional prototype quickly. Then, we can continue to build on that initial investment to create a robust production ready app. Finally, this post is all about using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) to build and publish apps to HockeyApp, so that we can test and assess quality before our apps make it to our favorite app Stores.

So far, we’re using Template10 to build a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Mobile App and we’re using Microsoft Account as an Identity Provider (IDP). This all got built using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and distributed to testers using HockeyApp.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s build something.

Working with Data

As previously mentioned, Azure Mobile App is an accelerator and the goal of this post is to walk through the pieces that allow us to Create, Read, Update and soft Delete (a.k.a. CRUD) data from an Azure SQL Database. Continue Reading…

overview

Getting to Know Azure Mobile App Cont.

Microsoft Azure Mobile App has recently gone GA (General Availability) and has definitely captured my attention. Mobile App is a tremendous accelerator that enables us to go from an idea to a functional prototype quickly. Then, we can continue to build on that initial investment to create a robust production ready app. Finally, this post is all about using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) to build and publish apps to HockeyApp, so that we can test and assess quality before our apps make it to our favorite app Stores.

Refreshing Authentication Tokens

Authentication Tokens are short-lived and having users login to the App frequently can cause friction. This is definitely undesirable and can be dealt with by identifying when a Token is no longer valid. When this condition is met, we can attempt to refresh the Authentication Token by calling the Azure App Service Token Store APIs. Continue Reading…

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Has Something Gone Wrong?

Generally, we choose to leverage Read-Access Geo-Redundant Azure Storage Accounts (RA-GRS) because we can use it as part of our disaster recovery (DR) plan. And sometimes, we forget that our devil is in the details. Disaster recovery (DR) plans are rarely tested and can cause headaches when they are. So let’s relieve some of those headaches.

Headache…

“Geo Replication Lag” for GRS and RA-GRS Accounts is the time it takes for data stored in the Primary Region of the storage account to replicate to the Secondary Region of the storage account. Because GRS and RA-GRS Accounts are replicated asynchronously to the Secondary Region, data written to the Primary Region of the storage account will not be immediately available in the Secondary Region. Customers can query the Geo Replication Lag for a storage account, but Microsoft does not provide any guarantees as to the length of any Geo Replication Lag under this SLA.

The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) are the first items that come up in DR discussions. When we use RA-GRS we control the RTO because we decide when to read from the secondary location. The RPO is a bit different because that can vary due to physics and load. The best way get current Recovery Point (RP) is to get the last sync time for the RA-GRS in question. This post is all about getting the right information, when we need it, because we need facts to make the right decisions. Continue Reading…

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Using StartsWith to Filter on RowKeys

There are many scenarios where filtering on partial RowKeys makes sense. One of these scenarios is Azure Diagnostics Log analysis where events are partitioned by time based PartitionKeys and by compound RowKeys. This allows us to filter and find information effectively.

Event RowKeys are composed of deployment IDs, role names, instance names, categories and other information:

8637d014bcf94452a1e48f393a11674b___Brisebois.WorkerRole___Brisebois.WorkerRole_IN_0___0000000001652031520___WADLogsLocalQuery

Querying WADLogsTable Effectively

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The following example, shows how to target a specific table partition and filter events based on a StartsWith pattern.

var storageAccount = Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Storage.CloudStorageAccount.Parse(connectionString);
var client = storageAccount.CreateCloudTableClient();

var table = client.GetTableReference("WADLogsTable");

// Querying Windows Azure Diagnostics by Partition for a partial RowKey
var query = new FindWithinPartitionStartsWithByRowKey("0635204061600000000", "8637d014bcf94452a");
var result = query.Execute(table);

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Don’t Frown on CSVs

In Microsoft Azure (Azure) CSV and Avro can help you deal with unpredictable amounts of data.

CSV files are surprisingly compact. They compresses really well and allows us to work with datasets that do not fit in RAM. This low-tech solution is often overlooked and frowned upon by developers who don’t get the opportunity to work with very large datasets.

Root cause analysis scenarios have led me to comb through several days’ worth of logs. More often than not, this represents gigabytes worth of data. Exporting application logs to a CSV files, I was able to parse and analyze them with minimal resources.

With these two options available to us, why should we consider using the CSVs? Well, Avro is still fairly new and unsupported by most systems. CSVs can be imported into Databases, Azure Table Storage, Hadoop (HDInsight), ERPs… And a slew of other systems with minimal effort. Heck, you can even open CSV files in Microsoft Excel! Continue Reading…

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These days I’m all about automation. As most of us are focused on Python, C# JavaScipt and Node I’m taking a different approach to Azure DocumentDB. This experiment’s goal is to facilitate the creation and seeding of DocumentDBs with very little effort from JSON documents stored an Azure Blob Storage container.

Meet DocumentDB

Azure DocumentDB is a NoSQL document database service designed from the ground up to natively support JSON and JavaScript directly inside the database engine. It’s the right solution for web and mobile applications when predictable throughput, low latency, and flexible query are key. Microsoft consumer applications like OneNote already use DocumentDB in production to support millions of users.

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