Category

Azure

Azure Cloud Failure

Disappointing Azure Cloud Failures

By | Azure, Events, Microsoft | One Comment

I have been a big fan of the Microsoft Azure Cloud.  Here at Falafel we use it on dozens of projects for our valued customers and internally as well, but unfortunately Sunday Feb 19th 2017 was a bad day for the Azure cloud if your services, VMs, jobs, IoT and other services were running in their “West US 2” region. EventsXD One of our products, EventsXD experienced total failure around 5:00 am PST on Sunday while multiple conferences around the world were using the platform for their events.  Immediately, we were notified by our systems that connections to the Hosting…

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Falafel Software named one of the 30 fastest growing companies of 2016

By | Azure, Microsoft, News, Training | No Comments

Falafel Software is named one of the 30 fastest growing companies of 2016 by The Silicon Review. With Lino Tadros, CEO of Falafel Software at the helm, the company has expanded to provide world-class consulting in Colorado, Texas, Washington, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, Oklahoma and North Carolina. The award-winning consulting, training and mentoring programs include major Microsoft platforms and technologies including Azure, Web, MVC, Silverlight, WinForms, WCF, WPF and SQL Server. Falafel has experience with mobile app development using native iOS, Android and Windows Phone SDKs along with other cross-platform tools like Xamarin, Cordova, Ionic and the Telerik Platform. Falafel Software has…

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Head scratcher of the day, Ad Hoc SQL and reentrancy?

By | Azure, Data & Storage, News, SQL Server | No Comments

Reentrant and thread-safe are often used interchangeably. Both speak to a body of code’s ability to properly handle multiple threads. While thread safety and reentrancy are fundamental to the design of a database engine, we rarely need concern ourselves with either when writing SQL. It’s one of those little cases of “rarely” I’d like to discuss here. Reentrancy in a nutshell  I’ll briefly touch on the following two concepts that underly my case of rarely. Thread safe refers to code which can properly multiple threads without failing or intermingling threads-specific data while safely interacting with data. Thread safety is accomplished using a number of…

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Building Test Environments with Azure DevTest Labs

By | Azure, DevTest Labs | One Comment

This is post 31 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Building Test Environments with Azure DevTest Labs DevTest labs isn’t just for scaling compute resources, but for scaling the process of provisioning those resources with consistent and immediately usable environments. If you’re new on a dev or QA team, you don’t want to email IT for correctly versioned installs, then wander from cubicle to cubicle (like Diogenes with his lantern, looking for the last honest man), pleading for configuration details or the latest bits. You want to sit down and prove your worth. As…

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Scheduling WebJobs, Batch, and Worker Roles?

By | Azure, Azure Scheduler | 4 Comments

This is post 30 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Scheduling WebJobs, Batch, and Worker Roles? All three choices perform background processing and can be scheduled, but the scalability, features and built-in infrastructure vary. Before scheduling one of these background processing mechanisms, let’s compare the options. Worker Roles Worker Roles were the first out of the gate from Microsoft, but require a certain amount of DIY plumbing — reading a message queue, checking for undeliverable “poison” messages, removing processed messages and so on. Need to work with Azure blob storage? Write some more code…

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Running Resource Intensive Jobs Using Azure Batch

By | .NET, Azure, Batch Processing, Microsoft, Visual Studio | No Comments

This is post 29 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Running Resource Intensive Jobs Using Azure Batch Azure Batch Services provide a framework for resource or computationally expensive jobs. When I say “computationally expensive”, think 3D rendering for Pixar, engineering stress analysis, or calculations for fluid dynamics. The DIY approach starts with “I’ll add a ‘for’ loop and kick off some background executables”. But once you start to scale in any direction, then you’re off to the races building infrastructure to handle generic plumbing needs like… Install apps and dependencies. Dispatch, queue and start…

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Scaling relational data up and out with Azure SQL Database

By | Azure | One Comment

This is post 28 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Unlike some of the other topics this month, Azure SQL Database is comparatively straightforward and easy to understand: It’s the same SQL Server you already know and love, but in the cloud as a service. Of course, it’s never quite that simple. There are some differences between Azure SQL Database and SQL Server running in a VM, but that list is rapidly shrinking. Now the unsupported list is filled mainly with things you’d expect not to be available in a cloud environment, like FILESTREAM and commands that access…

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Move and transform data in the cloud with Azure Data Factory

By | Azure | One Comment

This is post 27 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” In the Microsoft Azure, there are many ways to store your data: Azure Storage (Tables, Queues, and Blobs), Azure SQL Database, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, DocumentDB, and you could even consider the Hadoop-based HDFS to be a form of storage as well. Each different kind of storage has its own strengths and weaknesses and tends to be favored in certain business scenarios. For example, you wouldn’t create an OLTP application backed by Blob or Hadoop storage; you’d use a relational database like Azure SQL Database…

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An Introduction to Azure Notification Hubs

By | Azure, Notification Hubs | One Comment

This is post 26 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Azure Notification Hubs provides a simple, multi-platform, scaled-out push infrastructure that enables you to send push notifications from any back-end to applications running on any mobile platform. It abstracts details of the push notification service for each mobile platform, allowing you to send push notifications through one or all of them with a single call to its API. You can target individual users or large audiences of millions of users, reaching all their devices in one fell swoop. Push Notifications Push notifications have been around…

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Keeping Secrets with Azure Key Vault

By | Azure, Management & Security | No Comments

This is post 25 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Let’s face it: we all have secrets, and sometimes we don’t do a good job at keeping them. As developers our idea of safeguarding secrets (e.g. logins and keys) is to throw them in a config file. We know that’s not good enough but all too often we don’t take the time to learn how to properly secure our sensitive data. Security is hard, and rightfully so. Thankfully there’s a relatively new service on Azure that can help! Azure Key Vault is exactly what it sounds like:…

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Outsourcing Content Delivery with Azure CDN

By | Azure | No Comments

This is post 24 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of globally distributed servers that provides content delivery to end users with maximum speed and reliability. Resources are replicated to servers across the globe so that when requested they can be delivered by servers closer to the user, resulting in faster delivery and high availability. At the time of this writing Azure CDN has point-of-presence locations in 38 cities across 5 continents. Azure CDN comes standard with a ton of features that allow you to manage…

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Azure Storage - Create Account

The Many Faces of Azure Storage

By | Azure, Data & Storage | One Comment

This is post 23 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” The faces of Azure Storage are many. There are blobs, tables, queues, and files, each supporting different kinds of data and a wide range of application scenarios. Your storage comes with optional up-to-the-minute usage metrics, a variety of Microsoft and third party tools for performing storage-related tasks, and straight-forward pricing that is based on the size, level of redundancy, and the number of transactions used to access and store your data. Azure subscriptions may have up to 100 storage accounts with each account maxing…

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Azure API Management: Secure, Document, Monitor, and more

By | Azure | 2 Comments

This is post 22 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” As described in the previous post on Azure API Apps, Azure makes it easy to deploy, secure, and scale your API. But what if you have multiple APIs or want to have more control over who accesses your API and how they interact with it? Azure API Management lets you: Expose one or more APIs through a single service, even if they aren’t hosted in Azure Secure your APIs and provide developers and API customers with a portal for documentation and test pages Provide…

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Scalable APIs with Azure API Apps

By | Azure | One Comment

This is post 21 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” APIs are becoming essential features of many products and services, but managing everything that comes along with an API–Security, CORS, Scalability, etc.–can end up consuming more of your time than the development of the API itself. Fortunately, Microsoft Azure API Apps handle all of the “extra” things so you can focus on the API. API Apps are fairly new in the Azure family and as of late 2015, they have been promoted to a full App Service. At the same time, several features that…

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Improve security with Azure B2C and multi-factor authentication

By | Azure | 2 Comments

This is post 20 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” In our increasingly online, connected world of web and mobile applications, it’s critical for you to get your security done right. You don’t want your application to expose confidential data to the wrong party, such as financial information or user passwords. You’re savvy enough to know not to roll your own crypto, and the same rule applies to authentication and authorization systems as well. Most application frameworks come with an authentication and authorization system in the box, and these are fine options to get started, but when…

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Meet the new microservice platform – Service Fabric

By | .NET, Azure, News, Visual Studio | No Comments

This is post 19 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Microsoft Azure Service Fabric is the new microservices implementation that allows organizations to focus on building applications and worry less about infrastructure to run your business. This service is currently in preview but it shows great potential in helping manage at-scale services. Platform as a Service (PaaS) is not new to Microsoft Azure. There are currently many services including Cloud Services and the new App Services. I believe this new PaaS offering could be a game changer for running services and worker-type roles. To…

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Azure Stream Analytics – analyzing and reacting to streaming data

By | Azure, Data & Storage, IoT, News | 2 Comments

This is post 18 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics is a powerful service that allows you to analyze and react to real-time streaming data in Microsoft Azure. It gives you full control of taking streaming input data, analyzing it and moving it to a destination. Let’s take a look. First, set up a Stream Analytics account in Microsoft Azure. If you don’t already have an account, you can setup a free 30 day trial. To set up a Stream Analytics job, you will need a job name, region and…

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Azure EventHub – Getting your device data to the cloud

By | Azure, IoT | No Comments

This is post 17 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Sticking with my IoT theme for this Azure blog series, I am going to show you how to use the Azure EventHub to write data to the cloud. In my previous post, Azure IoT Hub – Connecting your device to the cloud with MQTT, I talked about leveraging Azure IoT Hub which is also a great mechanism to write your IoT Data. In this post I am going to show how to use an http mechanism to write data to the Azure Service Bus…

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Azure Preview

Using Azure Media Services to Encode, Host, and Transcribe Video

By | ASP.NET, Azure, HTML5, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, Tools | One Comment

This is post 16 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Azure Media Services has proven to be a one stop shop for all of your video needs. Azure Media Services includes encoding, encrypting, transcription and hosting services, basically it does everything except for shoot the raw video. Choose to deliver video on demand or stream video live, both of these delivery scenarios provide adaptive bitrates for optimal viewing. Consuming video in your applications couldn’t be easier than using Azure Media Player, as it brings a multi-device, multi-browser supported media player. Azure Media Services also…

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Breadboard Diagram

Azure IoT Hub: Managing and communicating with IoT devices

By | Azure, C#, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Raspberry Pi | 3 Comments

This is post 15 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Officially declared Generally Available (GA) on February 3rd, 2016, the Microsoft Azure IoT hub aims to help ease the software development burden by providing foundational tasks when it comes to building an Internet of Things system. With device provisioning, monitoring, management and system updates provided by the Azure IoT Hub, you are free to concentrate on coding your device’s core functionality. Another alluring aspect of Azure IoT Hub is that there is a free tier that allows an account to provision and maintain up…

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Azure IoT Hub – Connecting your device to the cloud with MQTT

By | Azure, IoT, News | One Comment

This is post 14 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” In the Brave New World of IoT, many of us who are trying to make things happen are looking for all the help we can get. Currently, I am building products and helping customers create solutions that embark on the IoT journey. First things first, you need to get your device up and running and make the local software/firmware work. If that isn’t hard enough for you, you have to start the journey to find out how to connect your device to the cloud…

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Migrating from Mobile Services to Mobile Apps, when you should consider it

By | .NET, Android, Apps for Office, Azure, Microsoft, Mobile, News, node.js, Office365, Visual Studio, Web, Web & Mobile | 4 Comments

This is post 13 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” In this column we are going to discuss the difference between Mobile Apps and Azure Mobile Services,. Azure Mobile Services allows you to add a cloud-hosted scalable backend to your connected apps within minutes. Whether you’re building apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS or Android you can take advantage of the Azure cloud to streamline your data and provide a robust, reliable and cost-effective platform to support your application. Mobile Services has been around since 2012 when it was in preview, and has seen many version updates and…

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Azure Search – A Managed search as a service in the cloud

By | ASP.NET, Azure | 2 Comments

This is post 12 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure”   In today’s article we will look at how Azure Search can you help you with a fully managed search-as-a-service in the cloud.   It is really easy to get up and running using Azure Search and Azure Search also has the Azure’s scaling capabilities which lets you easily scale up and down the service to meet your needs.   To get started with Azure Search, click New in your Azure Management Portal and in Data + Storage section, you will find Azure Search…

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Azure Redis Cache, the fast in-memory cache service

By | ASP.NET, Azure | 2 Comments

This is post 11 of 31 in the series “A Cloudy 29 Days of Microsoft Azure” Redis is an in-memory key-value store and Azure Redis Cache provides us with the power in-memory cache service and adds all the things we love above Azure such as scalability, security etc. Let us explore how to use Azure Redis Cache in this post   Creating To create a Redis Cache in Azure, logon to your management portal, click on New then Data + Storage and then Redis Cache Then enter the DNS name, which will serve as a host name for your Redis…

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