Friday, 3 December 2010

Where Next with the Cloud?

I’ve spent most of this year embedded with a team run by Eugenio Pace in the patterns & practices group at Microsoft working on three books (with more to come). The first two have already been published — see the links on the right. You can also view the content on MSDN:

The first book includes an introduction to the Windows Azure Platform, and then describes how the fictional Adatum company migrates its existing ASP.NET expense reporting application to the cloud. The book looks at the mechanics of how Adatum performs the migration as well as examining the significant design decisions made by Adatum, the trade-offs it had to consider, and the cost implications. For example, the original, on-premises application used SQL Server as its data store. Adatum had to decide whether to go with SQL Azure for the cloud-based version of the application, which would be simple to implement, or expend more development effort to port the storage functionality in the application to Windows Azure table and blob storage.

The second book describes a “green field” scenario where the fictional Tailspin company is developing an online surveys application. With a new application, Tailspin in not constrained by any existing design decisions or implementation choices, but can chose which features of the Windows Azure platform to use. The design decisions addressed in the book include how to make the Surveys application a multi-tenant cloud application, and how to make the application scale on demand (for example to handle a customer creating a survey that they expect to get a million responses to in the week before Christmas). The Tailspin Surveys application will make a reappearance in a forthcoming book on Windows Phone 7 development, where a Windows Phone 7 device will become a client application enabling users to complete surveys on their phone.

Both books also have companion, downloadable code that you can use to explore exactly how these two companies chose to implement their applications for the Windows Azure platform, and hands-on labs that will guide you through some of the specific areas of the the implementations.

Next year, there will be third book on Windows Azure that will provide coverage of some of Windows Azure platform functionality not used by Adatum and Tailspin, for example the Access Control Service, and bring things up to date with some of the new features appearing in in the Windows Azure platform.

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