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6 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Windows Azure

Though a late entry in the market, Windows Azure is gaining trance for it being a mature and cost-effective platform.

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Here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of the Windows Azure cloud services:

1. Sign up for a free trial:

Azure comes with a free trial for a month, during which you can have unlimited access to Azure service. Once the trial plan ends, you don't have to start up all over again. The simple subscription-based pricing model enables you to pay-on-the-go with usage-based billing, which makes it affordable.

2. Learn Windows Azure Pack:

Windows Azure Pack is boxed with Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server, and MySQL and you can use the existing Microsoft technologies that are already well-known to developers such as .NET and PHP. Whether you move to cloud partially or completely, Azure portal offers private clouds with the features of public so that you can get most of it.

3. Install PowerShell:

Microsoft offers 700 PowerShell cmdlets for free download, which help in establishing new virtual machines, modifying storage settings, and exploiting network resources among others. Also, you can leverage the full feature set of Windows Azure including the advance functionalities only through PowerShell. It helps to automate a number of complex and routine tasks for Azure.

4. Storage within one data center:

Though Microsoft has opened all its data centers located in various parts of the world for users to store their data, it is advisable to keep the data storage in one data center only. Limiting communication between varied geo-locations reduces transactional risks and less frequent batch calls help in utilizing compression. Also, you can make use of cache wherever possible.

5. Be more effective through auto-scaling:

It is recommended to have a scaling strategy in place. So, program Windows Azure to auto-scale for increasing or decreasing the compute nodes as per demand. This will help in reducing the compute hours. You can also take the help of Azure Watch for this, which can help you in understanding the basics of how auto-scaling can be done. A simple strategy can be to group the system components.

6. Make use of rational and scalable storage:

Every database that is hosted on Windows Azure cloud is charged as per its size. It is therefore recommended to have a back-up of data but avoid having it in multiple copies in the storage. Also, make use of both scalable storage of Azure Table Storage (ATS) and relational storage of SQL Azure. This will ensure high data integrity and integration and compatibility with third-party tools and frameworks on one hand and high volume of data storage capacity on the other.

This list covers only a few points. There can be many other ways and workarounds that can help you while working on Azure service. Do you have something to add to the list? Join us in the comments.

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