David Chappell


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Introducing Windows Azure  
# Thursday, March 19, 2009
Microsoft's Azure Services Platform has various parts, but the one that's generated the most interest so far is Windows Azure. I've written an overview white paper on Windows Azure that's available here.

The paper overlaps some with my earlier paper on the entire Azure Services Platform. This one is focused entirely on Windows Azure, though, which lets me spend more time on things like the fabric. The paper also talks a bit about the recently announced changes to Windows Azure, such as support for unmanaged code. If you're interested in cloud platforms, you might find this overiew useful.

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Pretty interesting article. Throws lots of information on the usage of Azure. One thing that is unclear is how the communication with the worker role happens. Since the web roles are stateless, can there be a affinity to particular worker role ?

A Worker role instance can't accept an incoming HTTP connection--IIS isn't running in its VM--so there's no notion of affinity in the usual sense. As the paper describes, Worker role instances most often get input by reading from a queue.

You say, worker roles "most often get input by reading from a queue". Is there any other way?

I guess what I'm asking: Can (or should) the worker role be used to increase scalability just as threads are used to increase scalability in ASP.NET applications? Thanks.

A worker role can open a connection with the outside world, then get input via that connection, but in most scenarios, it will probably get its input from a queue.

Worker roles can be thought of like batch jobs. If you have a task that can be performed in parallel, you can improve its performance by running more instances of a worker role that processes this task. In the paper, the third scenario illustrates this--you might up the number of worker role instances to increase the rate at which background processing gets done.

Sir, I have gone through the white papers of relevant technologies i.e. cloud computing.What is Mesh and how we are considering the live platform with respect to Mesh.What do you mean by Mesh enaled web application.

The Mesh technology has been removed from the Windows Azure platform. This doesn't mean that the technology is dead, just that it's no longer viewed as part of this particular platform.

Still, it looks to me like the Mesh technology and Live Services in general is going through some flux. I don't have a clear picture at the moment of exactly what's going on here.

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