Following up on my Azure SQL Database performance tools and practices I’m very happy to bring your attention to a tool that was published a few days back and allows you to spend less time tuning your database performance.

The Azure SQL Database Index Advisor recommends new indexes for your existing SQL Databases that can improve current query performance.

The SQL Database service assesses index performance by analyzing historical resource usage for a SQL Database and the indexes that are best suited for running the database’s typical workload are recommended.

recommended-indexes

Index advisor makes index management easier by providing recommendations on which indexes to create. For V12 servers, Index advisor can also create and validate indexes with just a few clicks in the Azure Portal. After the index is created, the SQL Database service analyzes performance of the database workload and provides details of the impact of the new index. If the analysis determines that a recommended index has a negative impact on performance, then the index is reverted automatically.

You can find more information about Azure SQL Database Advisor here

The fourth free ebook in Microsoft Press’s free Microsoft Azure Essentials series, Microsoft Azure Essentials: Azure Web Apps for Developers (9781509300594), by Rick Rainey, has been released and is available for all of you that want to dive in essential information about developing web applications hosted on Azure Web Apps. It is written with the developer who has experience using Visual Studio and the .NET Framework in mind. If Azure Web Apps is new to you, then this book is for you. If you have experience developing for Azure Web Apps, then this book is for you, too, because there are features and tools discussed in this text that are new to the platform.

Organization of this book
This book provides information you can use to start building web applications using Azure Web Apps. It will guide you through development, deployment, and configuration tasks that are common for today’s developer building cloud applications.

Each chapter stands alone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous chapters to understand any chapter. The topics explored in this book include the following:

  • Chapter 1, “Microsoft Azure Web Apps”: This chapter starts with an introduction to Azure Resource Groups and App Service Plans and progresses into essential tasks such as creating and configuring a web app. Learn best practices for storing and retrieving app settings and connection strings. Configure deployment slots and set up continuous deployment using Visual Studio Online. Wrap up with a discussion about Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and how you can use it to manage access to your Azure resources.
  • Chapter 2, “Azure WebJobs”: Learn everything you need to know to build and deploy background processing tasks using Azure WebJobs. You will learn the basics of the WebJobs feature and proceed into a deeper discussion on how to use the WebJobs SDK. You will learn about the Azure WebJobs Dashboard and how the WebJobs SDK enhances the dashboard experience.
  • Chapter 3, “Scaling Azure Web Apps”: Learn how to scale up and scale out your Azure web app and web jobs. You will learn how to configure Autoscale to scale your web app dynamically based on performance metrics and schedules. See how you can use Azure Traffic Manager to achieve global scale for your web apps.
  • Chapter 4, “Monitoring and diagnostics”: Learn about the many logging features built into the Azure Web Apps platform and how to configure logging to get the diagnostics data you need to troubleshoot issues. You will learn how to configure storage locations and retention policies for logs, how to view logs in real time using the log streaming service, and even how to debug your web app remotely while it is running in Azure. You will get an introduction to some powerful site extensions you can use to view logs and perform analysis directly from your browser. Finally, you will learn how you can monitor your resource group down to individual resources and how you can use Application Insights to deliver a complete 360-degree view into your application code for monitoring and diagnostic purposes.

Download it from here

 

The patterns & practices team has been working on developing Azure architecture guidance.

The first round of  guidance is now available to public at https://github.com/mspnp/azure-guidance. The purpose of this project is to provide architectural guidance to enable you to build and deploy world-class systems using Azure. These documents focus on the essential aspects of architecting systems to make optimal use of Azure, and summarize best practice for building cloud solutions. The current set of guidance documents contains the following items.

· API Design describes the issues that you should consider when designing a web API.

· API Implementation focuses on best practices for implementing a web API and publishing it to make it available to client applications.

· Autoscaling Guidance summarizes considerations for taking advantage of the elasticity of cloud-hosted environments

· Background Jobs Guidance describes the options available, and best practices for implementing tasks that should be performed in the background.

· Content Delivery Network (CDN) Guidance provides general guidance and good practice for using the CDN to minimize the load on your applications, and maximize availability and performance.

· Caching Guidance summarizes how to use caching with Azure applications and services to improve the performance and scalability of a system.

· Data Partitioning Guidance describes strategies that you can use to partition data to improve scalability, reduce contention, and optimize performance.

· Monitoring and Diagnostics Guidance provides guidance on how to track the way in which users utilize your system, trace resource utilization, and generally monitor the health and performance of your system.

· Retry General Guidance covers general guidance for transient fault handling in an Azure application.

· Retry Service Specific Guidance summarizes the retry mechanism features for the majority of Azure services, and includes information to help you use, adapt, or extend the retry mechanism for that service.

· Scalability Checklist summarizes best practices for designing and implementing scalable services and handling data management.

· Availability Checklist lists best practices for ensuring availability in an Azure application.

The authors state that this is a living project and they welcome feedback, suggestions, and other contributions to those items. So if you have any comments you can  join the gitter chat for questions or suggestions.

Lumia-1320Only a few days left till Athens Global Azure Bootcamp and the scheduled has been finalized and announced at http://athens.azurebootcamp.net. A group of great speakers will talk about a range of very interesting topics to get you up to speed on Microsoft Azure cloud computing.

Also I’m very glad to announce that we will be giving out lot of great swag at the end including a couple of Windows Phone devices thanks to our local sponsors who stepped up and decided to support our event.

MicrosoftSieben

So if you haven’t registered yet, I strongly suggest you go ahead and hurry cause there are only a few sits left.

In April of 2013 the first Global Windows Azure Bootcamp was held at more than 90 locations around the globe! In March 2014 Athens joined the event and we scratched the surface of Cloud Computing ate some pizzas, had a ton of fun at the labs and gave out some pretty nifty swag.

GWAB

See what happened last year at Athens GWAB

This year we are doing it again. A one day deep dive class where participants can get up to speed on developing Cloud Computing Applications for Azure.

In addition to this great learning opportunity we will have another set of hands on labs, a lot more speakers and discussion topics and a lot more surprises (if you catch my drift :-) )…

Last but not least this year everyone can participate in a massive compute pool to perform breast cancer research!

If you haven’t registered yet, visit http://athens.azurebootcamp.net and register now to make sure we reserve a sit for you!

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about IoT as I believe that this is the next big leap towards Ubiquitous computing and I find it very challenging and intriguing. In my readings I found a lot of useful resources, one of the greatest one though is ConnectTheDots.

CTD-logo-v5-02

ConnectTheDots.io is an open source project by Microsoft Open Technologies created to help you get tiny devices connected to Microsoft Azure and implement great IoT solutions taking advantage of Microsoft Azure services such as Azure Stream Analytics, Machine Learning or HD Insight.

As part of the project you will find code samples, configuration scripts and guides that will help you set up tiny devices and configure Microsoft Azure services to make the most out of the data produced by your devices.

Starting with a basic scenario, the intent is to make the project grow with more devices types, more scripts to provision and configure Azure services and more “Getting Started” guides to help you implement full end to end solutions yourself.

As a first sample, we have created a simple end to end solution, from device all the way to a Website, that consists in displaying in real time on a web page raw temperature and humidity data generated from an Arduino board equipped with a weather Shield as well as alerts and processed data generated by Microsoft Azure Stream analytics based on the raw data from the device. We are using a Raspberry Pi, acting as a gateway, to send the data from the sensor up to Microsoft Azure Event Hub service. Azure Stream Analytics

Check out the Wiki to try out your first project!

It’s been quite a while since the release of www.zougla.gr windows 8 metro application but haven’t gotten around building it for Windows Phone as well. With Universal apps and having designed the app to be modular it has gotten really easy to move it to the windows 8 platform too, so I decided it was time to give some time into it.

So today I’m happy to announce the brand new ZouglaGR free windows Phone 8.1 application is available at the Windows phone app store. If you’re interested in getting all the latest news in Greece as they happen then this app is the one for you.

Hope you like it.

 

 

10835330_904691899541590_3754265912323387839_oLast week I had the opportunity to discuss Azure Mobile Services in a Code for fun meet up held by dotnetzone.gr.

I really enjoy these community driven events as they’re so much different from all the rest I’m presenting.

They’re more relaxed and interactive more like a discussion than a monologue,  between colleagues sharing their experiences on a particular technology.

It’s more about coding and so much less about PowerPoints. In this last event I only showed only 4 slides 2 of which were the title and the thank you one. The rest of the time I’ve spent it coding together with the participants.

We’ve organize them in such a way that each one picks up from where the previous one ended, so there’s a sense of continuum. For example we first built a Windows 8 App using HTML / TypeScript and in my session we used Azure Mobile Services to build a backend for it.

We’re ending these sessions with Pizzas :-)

I really encourage you to be part of this, I can guarantee you, you’ll really enjoy it too. Plus if you want you can take the stage as well. We’re open to anyone who would like to share with us his experiences in building software.

For those of you who couldn’t attend the last session I’m sharing the source code of the Backend Azure Mobile service we built.

This Thursday 4/12 at 19.00 I’m going to be presenting Azure Mobile Services at the Code for fun meetup

Except from getting to know all about this new exciting Microsoft Azure feature, this event is an opportunity to get together with other fellow professionals share experiences and news and have fun (pizzas included).

For those of you that haven’t registered yet, harry up and register, let’s catch up and share our news.

ITpro14Another very successful ITPro|DevConnections event was completed this weekend.

A big “thank you” to all of you that participated in one way or the other. Your participation makes us stronger and gives us strength to continue.

For those of you that attended my presentation and/or are interested on How to achieve the best SQL performance in Azure I’m posting the material (Silde Deck and completed demos) here as promised and hope you find it useful.

Demos

See you all next year.