The Azure Architecture Center is available now

The Azure Architecture Center is available now in the documentation section of Azure. It’s Open to everyone with no cost to access the information. The Architecture Center is an extremely valuable resource as it brings –

  • Information for all cloud users ranging from beginners to specialists.
  • Best practices for security, availability, scalability, performance, cost, and manageability.
  • Tested, proven, and verified guidance. Not theoretical designs, they have been built and successfully run and ready for production.
  • Prepared deployment scripts and diagrams that anyone can use to get started quickly

The main areas of the architecture center covers are –

  • Application Architecture Guide – This guide presents a structured approach for designing applications on Azure that are scalable, resilient, and highly available.
  • Reference Architectures – Scenarios with related architectures grouped together.
  • Cloud Design Patterns – These design patterns are useful for building reliable, scalable, secure applications in the cloud.

One of interesting topic is a special section for customers coming from compete cloud provider namely, AWS. It helps Amazon Web Services (AWS) experts understand the basics of Microsoft Azure accounts, platform, and services. It also covers key similarities and differences between the AWS and Azure platforms, here.

Lastly, the people who are deep in architectural/design work should visit here. This provides resources including icons, Viso templates, PNG files, and SVG files that are useful for producing your own architecture diagrams. A direct link to download.

LAMP and Azure – Misconceptions vs Possibilities

A discussion of the Microsoft Platform (Windows, IIS, SQL Server and ASP.NET) vs LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) topic covers a large set of topics.

My intent is not compare 1:1 but commenting on a scenario.

In many discussions, I realized many people have perception/misconceptions that, Azure is not really meant for traditional web-based applications built on the LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP).

However, truth is that you can deploy LAMP stack on Azure to rapidly build, deploy, and dynamically scale websites and web apps using IaaS (VM scale sets) and PaaS (Azure Web Apps)

 

 

So, Customers who want to – Upgrade web apps to the cloud for scalability, high availability and other cloud traits like global presence, and dynamically scale (up and down) websites in a cost-effective. You should consider Azure as you get Architectural choices for hosting websites to choose from a wide array of architectures (containers, VMs, PaaS services, Azure Functions, etc.) and languages (node.js, PHP, Java, etc.). Linux web apps, let us create node and Java script websites that are fully managed.

Providers like, Bitnami provides images which are pre-configured, tested and optimized for Microsoft Azure and portable across platforms. Which provides quick and ready to use services.

For more information please feel free to visit @ https://azure.microsoft.com/en-in/overview/choose-azure-opensource/

File Storage and Functions – A files import story in Azure

The story goes like this – you have set of files which should be imported into a solution hosted on Azure.

Idea is to cover the scenario technically – the key players are Azure File Storage, Azure Functions.

If you don’t know already then quick summary –

  1. Azure File storage
    It’s a service that offers file shares in the cloud using the standard Server Message Block (SMB) Protocol. With Azure File storage, you can migrate legacy applications that rely on file shares to Azure quickly and without costly rewrites. Applications running in Azure virtual machines or cloud services or from on-premises clients can mount a file share in the cloud, just as a desktop application mounts a typical SMB share. Any number of application components can then mount and access the File storage share simultaneously. Since a File storage share is a standard SMB file share, applications running in Azure can access data in the share via file system I/O APIs. For more details please refer here. [Reference: Azure docs]
  2. Azure Functions – It’s a service that offers a server-less compute service that enables you to run code on-demand without having to explicitly provision or manage infrastructure. Use Azure Functions to run a script or piece of code in response to a variety of events. So, a solution for easily running small pieces of code, or “functions,” in the cloud. You can write just the code you need for the problem at hand, without worrying about a whole application or the infrastructure to run it. Functions can make development even more productive, and you can use your development language of choice, such as C#, F#, Node.js, Python or PHP. For more details please refer here. [Reference: Azure docs]

The Overall process –

  • Define the structure for Input files location – In file storage, defines a structure for Input file, Processed and Failed file by using ‘Share(s)’ and ‘Directory(s)/Files(s)’.
  • New file detection mechanism – check the presence of new file(s) as per predefined schedule and add message to a queue for further processing. Using a Function triggered by timer.
  • Import the files/data into system – A Function which process the input file(s) and ultimately imports the data.
  • Perform cleanup at Input files location – Mark files as processed, or move files to processed/failed directory for reference/tracking purpose.

Now, the devil is in the detail –

The Azure File service offers the four resources: the storage account, shares, directories, and files. The File service REST API provides a way to work with share, directory, and file resources via HTTP/HTTPS operations. So, instead of UNC/file-share/mapping, you need to use Azure Storage SDK which is a wrapper over Azure Storage REST API. This should avoid any UNC/mapping/related issues.