January 2010 Boston Azure User Group Meeting Notes

This was the third meeting of the Boston Azure User Group! (You can get on the group mailing list here.)

We watched a clip from the first day of PDC where Ray Ozzie and others talk Azure in the keynote

Discussed idea of an Azure Firestarter event – possibly for May 8, 2010 – and this seems to flow nicely from our scheduled April meeting where Jason Haley is scheduled to talk about getting started programming in Azure, such as with the Azure SDK.

Ben Day spoke on Windows Azure storage. Some quick notes / points from his talk:

  • Relational databases have a schema – all rows in a table have same columns, structure is defined before pouring in any data, data is not repeated (third-normal form breaks out data to appear only once – no redundancy)
  • … database will manage transactions across tables
  • … though mixed with replication can provide performance challenges
  • This changes for Azure Table Storage!
  • … though Azure Table Storage can scale way better – horizontally (“out”) whereas traditional SQL RDBMs tend to scale best vertically (“up”) – to larger boxes – which is more limiting and tends to be more expensive.
  • Do we need to rethink what needs to be transactional? Can we use a simplified transactional model – such as just within one table – or one instance of one table…
  • … compensating transactions are another approach
  • Securely storing data
    • Encrypt (compute is cheap)
    • If you encrypt a key, it won’t work for indexing
    • Search is harder if you encrypt
  • String columns have a 64KB size limit for Table Storage – so reference larger objects in a Blob
  • Unit testability
    • Abstract away you r persistent store, such as with Repository pattern – so you can unit test
    • Encapsulate business logic, such as with Service Layer and Domain Model patterns
    • Extract logic from UI using MVP (Model View Presenter)
    • Use Mock objects
  • Ben will come back to finish the story!

Around 23 attended.


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