Adventures of a wannabe geek!

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Review: Azure in Action

Over the xmas period I read a book I have wanted to for a while now, Azure in Action. I didn’t know anything at all about the cloud. In fact, my thoughts were that you could take an existing application and host it in “the cloud” without any real thought process. This turned out to be incorrect.

The authors help the reader to see the power of Azure. They also help to describe what Azure actually is and it’s structure. The book also describes how items are stored (using BLOBs) and how this compares to the normal means of storage (SAN, DFS etc.)

The most impressive thin I learned from reading this book, was how the different roles on Azure work. The decisions required for scalability of our application help to drive decisions based on the amount of roles required and the ability to scale out or scale up.

The book also talks about the API’s required for dealing with the storage mechanisms and how you can interact with these APIs both inside and outside of the Azure platform.

So what do I learn from this book?

Well, simple, a lot. I learned that I cannot just host my existing service in the cloud – I need to think more about my application, e.g. trust levels, its state, storage etc. I also need to think about configuration as a web.config cannot be changed on the fly like a normal web application. The use of the service definition files mean the application can potentially become more flexible as configuration can be shared between azure and non-azure environments.

Would I recommend this book to a friend?

Without a doubt! I’d thoroughly recommend this book. This book is suitable for those that know very little about Azure but really want to learn about it but want to see what Azure actually is and how to start using it. I enjoyed this book so much I’m hoping that a new version will be created to show the changes in Azure that were announced at PDC2010.

Thanks to the authors, Chris Hay and Brian Prince for a well written book, also thanks to Manning books for publishing it!