Azure Tools and Resources

Some time ago, someone requested sort of an overview of Azure features and resources. I thought this was a rather useful idea since I keep forgetting links to even the most commonly used Azure sites. This is not meant to be an introduction to Windows Azure or Cloud Computing in general but rather a opinionated collection of otherwise scattered resources.

Whitepapers

Whitepapers are also some sort of resources, but I thought I’d give them some extra attention here instead of just adding them to the resources link list, otherwise no one including me would know what’s inside them.

Implementation Whitepapers

  • Programming Blob Storage Describes the Blob Storage hierarchy, how to work with blobs, use pagination and handle errors.
  • Programming Table Storage Learn the basics about Partition Keys, CRUD operations on Entities via LINQ, supported data types, Best Practices and Known Issues. This will also give you an idea about the difference between Relational Databases and the Table Storage Model.
  • Programming Queue Storage This is about connecting and sharing information between different application blocks in a loosely coupled way a.k.a. “the way it’s meant to be”. This is done by pushing messages (processing orders) into a queue and let some other part of the application deal with it.
  • SQL Azure
    The best way to get started with SQL Azure is probably to already have a basic understanding of SQL Server 2008. If you want to build your tables from scratch, you might want to know about the similarities and differences between SQL Server and SQL Azure. Due to the lack of designer support on SQL Azure (you can use SSMS to get access to your SQL Azure databases, but you can only manipulate table structures by scripts) I prefer to create and test tables on my local dev machine, then use the SQL Azure Migration Wizard to create these tables on my SQL Azure database.
  • Project Houston can do what SSMS doesn’t do for you – provide design capabilities for SQL Azure. This is implemented as Silverlight Client.
  • You know how Skype is able to communicate with other Skype instances running on different machines, all sitting behind firewalls? No? Well that’s exactly what AppFabric Service Bus does. Its primary goal is to bridge on-premise and off-premise solutions.

Tools

Azure Storage Explorer Have a look at and manipulate your Azure Tables, Blobs and Queues.

SQL Azure Migration Wizard Set up a local database and load it into your SQL Azure database. Or the other way round: Back up your SQL Azure to a local machine. Or to another SQL Azure instance if you feel like it.

Azure Services Management Tools Manage Azure Services such as .NET Access Control Services and the .NET Workflow Service. Please note that these tools are out of date as of 06.08.2010

Windows Azure Service Management CmdLets Use PowerShell to script your deployments, upgrades, and scaling of Windows Azure Applications

Resources

Videos, Frameworks?

As of 06.08.2010, the Windows Azure Storage Videos are offline but should have been replaced by 15.02.2010. Right. Maybe it’s a typo.

English Blogs

German blogs

Some other resources

[Update] I believe this to be a quite comprehensive list of Windows Azure resources

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