Architecture

DocumentDB moving to Regional Pricing Meters on Feb. 1

On February 1st, 2016, Microsoft Azure DocumentDB bill be transitioning away from a Global Pricing Meter to be on Regional Pricing Meters instead. With Global Pricing charges are based on the country or region associated with the Azure Subscription. After the change to Regional Pricing Meters, charges will be based on the Azure Region in which your data resides. This change may possibly result in a price increase in your DocumentDB usage on your monthly bill.

Azure DocumentDB is a NoSQL document database that uses the JSON data format for storing and querying documents. Being a feature of Microsoft Azure, DocumentDB offers a nice NoSQL database using JSON documents that includes all of the benefits of Microsoft Azure and the cloud.

For more Azure DocumentDB billing information, please see the official DocumentDB Pricing page.

Architecture

Hosting Environment Isolation: How and Why

Automated Builds, Continuous Integrations, DevOps, Oh my!! There are a ton of buzz words surrounding the different methods and ideas for managing hosting environments and deployments. One of the greatly implied concepts that isn’t really discussed very much is the importance of keeping different hosting environments for the same application (ala Dev, Test, UAT, Staging, Production, etc.) separate / isolated. During the development and maintenance processes these different environments can easily be mixed and messed with. This article will explain some details on why they should be kept separated, and how to keep them separated. Read More

Architecture

What is Microservices Architecture?

What really is a Microservices Architecture? The term “Microservices” has become fairly popular in recent years, and has coincided largely with the increasingly popular move to hosting applications in the cloud. With a better understanding of what a Microservices Architecture is and how to implement one, you’ll see that it’s not just a Cloud Architecture pattern. Read More

Infrastructure

Azure is the future for Microsoft and the Enterprise

Azure has come along way in regards to features and pretty much every aspect of the service since it’s initial launch in 2010. In the last 5 years, Microsoft has spent a huge amount of money growing out this new cloud business. Now that Azure has been tested and proven over time, it’s gained the credibility necessary to enable Microsoft to migrate its enterprise service business to the cloud.

Azure is a huge piece to the future success of Microsoft.

One of Microsoft’s biggest strengths is in building development and hosting platforms. As more businesses are looking to cloud based services to cut hosting costs and gain efficiencies; Microsoft has been building out the Azure platform and positioning itself as a leader in the very cloud these businesses are looking for. Read More

Development

Using Azure Storage Queues from .NET

Azure Storage Queues provide an easy to implement messaging communication mechanism for reliably passing messages to/from different components of a single application or multiple applications. Storage Queues have an HTTP/HTTPS API to allow for support of any development platform; however, Microsoft does provide a .NET SDK to make it even easier to implement from C# or other .NET languages. Read More

Certification

Microsoft Azure Certification: Where to Start? 2015 Edition

The question of “Where do I start?” can be confusing if you’ve never studied for or taken a Microsoft Certification exam before. It can also be a bit daunting if you don’t know anyone who has done it themselves either. Do not let this discourage you. It may be a bit confusing, but it’s actually rather simple. This post will outlines the main steps necessary as well as the main resources you’ll need to begin, study, eventually pass an exam, and finally obtain a Microsoft Azure Certification yourself!

Update 9/30/2016: This week Microsoft announced some really big and amazing changes to the Microsoft Certification program and how the Azure certification exams fit in with MCSD and MCSE certifications. As a result, you want to reference the 2016 Edition of Where to start with Azure Certification article instead.

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Development

Azure Web App: Connection Strings

Just as all Azure Web Apps need configuration values, most applications also need to have database Connection String values configured. With Azure Web Apps the Connection Strings are stored/retrieved in a very similar fashion as Azure Web App Application Settings. Connection Strings are also Key / Value pairs of String values, but are separated out into their own section.

Connection Strings are typically used to store the connection information for one or more databases the Web App needs to connect to for storing and retrieving data. The Connection String types supported are SQL Database, SQL Server, MySQL and Custom. Most often the Connection Strings used will be for some kind of SQL RDMS, but the Custom type allows for an additional Connection String to be configured any other type of database connection necessary.

As with Application Settings, the Connection Strings are accessed as normal from .NET code and the values will come from what is set within the Azure Management Portal. In other development environments (Node.js, Java, PHP, Python) the Connection Strings are exposed to code as Environment Variables. Additionally, the Connection Strings are editable within the Azure Management Portal, but are read-only when access through code. Read More