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Basic Azure enabling guide

This blog is basically to onboad any new developer to Azure development environment in the least possible time with the right resources available.

With Azure getting stabilized, there are myriad of Azure related articles and blogs made available in the internet. And sometime it is very much possible for a new comer/ developer to get deviated and get confused from where to start. And eventually instead of understanding the basics of the different azure building blocks, they sometime get lured to creating complex application.

So, this blog is not to teach Azure but provide a beginner with a simple guide with pointers to different resources (articles, blog, SDK samples) which will help him/her to grasp the basics of Azure architecture. And help the developer to move in the right path without wasting his/her precious time in understanding from where to start. I have tried to keep it simple with reference to the basic samples from MSDN, SDK and different blogs but tried to keep the maximum information.


Basic Azure enabling guide

(Sources of information - MSDN, Azure portal and blogs)

The purpose of this guide is to collage and provide the different information needed for any new-comer to understand the different development aspects at a single place. This will primarily have seven sections with reference to related samples/ hands-on labs and other information for beginners:

1.       The prerequisites for starting Azure related development

2.       Azure Storage service

3.       Azure Compute Service - web role, worker role and VM role

4.       Windows Azure Platform Management Portal for deploying a role

5.       Azure AppFabric Service bus

6.       SQL Azure

7.       What's New in Windows Azure

The sections will talk about the different important pointers available and the concerned samples from the Azure SDK and other sources so that one may directly refer to those saving his/her precious development time. So, this guide doesn't teach how to code but provides the resources at a single place needed to understand and develop for Azure very easily.

Brief about Windows Azure Platform


The Windows Azure Platform is an internet-scale cloud computing services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers. The Windows Azure platform, which provides a range of functionality to build applications that span from consumer web to enterprise scenarios, includes a cloud services operating system and a set of developer services. Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure AppFabric are the key components of the platform.

Windows Azure™ is a cloud services operating system that serves as the development, service hosting and service management environment for the Windows Azure platform. Windows Azure provides developers with on-demand compute and storage to host, scale and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft® datacenters.

The illustration below shows where Windows Azure fits with the other products and components that are part of the Windows Azure platform.


For more information about Windows Azure and the new features available in the latest release, see About Windows Azure.

The prerequisites for starting Azure related development

One may from here in one shot install and configure the development machine to make it Azure enabled with the below tools, settings, etc:

·         Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio

·         Windows Azure SDK

·         Visual Web Developer 2010, if you do not have Visual Studio 2010

·         Required IIS feature settings

·         Required hot fixes

And then by allowing the web installer:


Otherwise one may also refer to this for installing or upgrading (from previous versions or releases) the pre-requisites (individually) for making the development machine Azure enabled.

Azure SDK once installed provides the different samples explaining the different capabilities with different level of complexities.

Azure Storage service

(Get the basic hands on lab and sample for beginner from here)

The Windows Azure storage services provide persistent, durable storage in the cloud. To access the storage services, you must have a storage account, which is provided through the Windows Azure Platform Management Portal.

The fundamental storage services include:

·         Blob service, for storing text or binary data

·         Queue service, for reliable, persistent messaging between services

·         Table service, for structured storage that can be queried

The Windows Azure SDK offers a REST API and a managed API for working with the storage services. You may access the storage services from within a service running in Windows Azure or directly over the Internet from any application that can send and receive data over HTTP/HTTPS.

For more information about the REST API for the storage services, see Windows Azure Storage Services REST API Reference. For information about the managed API for the storage services, see Windows Azure Managed Library Reference.

Azure Compute Service - web role, worker role and VM role

(Get the basic hands on lab and sample for beginner from here - web and worker role (Source 1, Source 2 and Source 3) and here -VM role)

Windows Azure offers an internet-scale hosting environment built on geographically distributed data centers. This hosting environment provides a runtime execution environment for managed code.

A Windows Azure compute service is built from one or more roles. A role defines a component that may run in the execution environment; within Windows Azure, a service may run one or more instances of a role.

Windows Azure supports the following three types of roles:

·         A web role is customized for web application programming, as supported by Internet Information Services (IIS) 7 and ASP.NET.

·         A worker role is useful for generalized development, and may perform background processing for a web role.

·         A virtual machine (VM) role provides a user-customized image to make it easier to move existing Windows Server applications to the Windows Azure hosting environment.

A hosted service may be comprised of any combination of role types, and may include multiple roles of each type.

A role may interact with the runtime environment by using the Windows Azure Managed API. See the Windows Azure Managed Library Reference for more information. For more information about designing and developing roles, see Building Windows Azure Applications.

Windows Azure Platform Management Portal for deploying a role

(Get the basic hands on lab and sample for beginner from here (deploying a role in Azure))

The Management Portal is an administrative portal for managing your account and deploying, managing, and monitoring your Windows Azure services. For more information, see The New Management Portal.

Azure AppFabric Service bus

(Get the basic hands on lab and sample for beginner from here)

The Windows Azure AppFabric Service Bus provides a hosted, secure, and widely available infrastructure for widespread communication, large-scale event distribution, naming, and service publishing. AppFabric Service Bus provides connectivity options for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and other service endpoints - including REST endpoints -- that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach. Endpoints can be located behind network address translation (NAT) boundaries, or bound to frequently-changing, dynamically-assigned IP addresses, or both.

SQL Azure

Microsoft SQL Azure extends SQL Server capabilities to the cloud. SQL Azure provides a relational database service called Microsoft SQL Azure Database, a report generation service called Microsoft SQL Azure Reporting, and a web based database administration and design interface as part of the Windows Azure platform. For more information regarding its capability and new enhancements being added to it, refer to this.

What's New in Windows Azure

For latest updates to the Windows Azure platform and Windows Azure SDK, refer to this.



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