Archives For Costs

msdn-banner-300x250How many times do we have to scramble to assemble a decent
Dev & Test environment?

When I think back to my past lives, I can attest that it’s been a challenging mess. I used to run around to various departments in order to find available machines, software installation disks, licenses and IT resources to help me put everything together.

Taking shortcuts usually meant cutting back on the Dev & Test infrastructure. Consequently, I rarely had environments that mirrored the actual production environment. Products would make their way through development and quality assurance, but I rarely had a clear picture of how it would react to the production environment. Deploying to production usually resulted in being asked to come in on weekends because the outcome was completely unpredictable and that time needed to be scheduled in order to rollback.

Just thinking about all this sends chills down my spine!

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IMG_2010_05_26_000018719_DxOIf your Cloud Service is composed of many Web Roles, Worker Roles or Virtual Machines, then you may be looking to cut your operational costs. When designing a Windows Azure solution, details like the way you consume Windows Azure services, are especially important. Using too many resources can generate surprising monthly bills! Consequently, it greatly influences whether the application survives its infancy.

Web & Worker Role Definitions

web role: A web role provides a dedicated Internet Information Services (IIS) web-server used for hosting front-end web applications.

worker role: Applications hosted within worker roles can run asynchronous, long-running or perpetual tasks independent of user interaction or input.

Utilizing The Full Potential of Your Cloud Services

In this example, data flows from an input queue, to converter Worker Roles that put messages on a persistence queue. The persistence Worker Role then reads from the persistence queue and inserts the data into a Windows Azure SQL Database.

Since the number of converter Worker Roles varies from 1 to 10, the persistence Worker Role has been put in place to protect the system from being throttled by the Windows Azure SQL Database Service.

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scared-wizard-14589858This is a lesson that took me a while to learn: Providing your team with as much information as possible will help you save time and money.

Debugging a distributed system that uses Windows Azure Queue Storage Service to communicate commands between compute nodes and services can be challenging. It can look like magic! And it can scare the best of your team’s wizards!

Most of the time, the biggest difficulty I run into when creating this kind of service is traceability. Where should events be logged, what events should be logged and what kind of logging mechanism should be use? These are a few questions that need to be answered early on in the applications’ life cycle.

Once these questions are answered, it’s absolutely crucial that everyone on the team is aware of what goes into diagnostics and how they’re persisted. Without this knowledge, team members will not know what to make of the collected diagnostics. Furthermore, the diagnostics will not serve their intended purpose.

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On April 4th 2013 Amazon announced a price reduction of up to 26% on Windows On-Demand instances.
The Register wrote about the price cuts on April 5th 2013 and their article got me thinking.

A few weeks ago, I was asked about how the Windows Azure Virtual Machine pricing stacks up against AWS. Frankly, I wasn’t able to answer the question. Consequently, I decided to find out by comparing the cost of
a Virtual Machine instance for the period of 1 year .

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