Monthly Archives: May 2013

Talk: Architecting for the Cloud at Nashua Cloud .NET User Group

Last night I had the privilege of speaking at the Nashua .NET Cloud User Group in Nashua, NH. It was an engaged group to be sure – thanks for all the great questions.

A few followups:

  • Azure VM pricing: the $0.013/hour pricing mentioned for Extra Small instances of the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Virtual Machine is shown here to be a promotional price, with the regular price of $0.02/hour (two cents per hour) kicking in on June 1. The architectures we spoke of in the talk used Platform as a Service (PaaS) Virtual Machines and the pricing for those is very similar, though slightly lower, and is shown here.
  • How many customers does Azure have: here is the 10,000 number that Udai shared, which is from was about three years ago when most of the tech world had not yet even heard of Azure. More recently,  it was mentioned there are 200,000 Azure customers and it has passed $1 billion in revenue. So, according to those numbers, it appears to have grown 20x in a little less than three years. Additional interesting numbers mentioned here and here.
  • We focused on use of Cloud Services last night, but we also mentioned Virtual Machines (part of what Microsoft is calling Infrastructure Services, like IaaS) and Web Sites, noting all use different approaches. You can read more about all of them here where you’ll see write-ups for each specific area.
  • I mentioned that Blob Storage is also being used to support the persistent disks on the Infrastructure Services Virtual Machines, in part-enabled by new high performance network architecture. I wrote about some of this before in a blog post titled Azure Cloud Storage Improvements Hit the Target.

The deck I used follows.

Architecting for the Cloud — NH Azure — 15-Mar-2013 — Bill Wilder (

My book, if you are interested, is described here. And the Boston Azure Cloud User Group can be found here.

Cloud Architecture Patterns book


Clash of the Clouds Followup

Last night, Mark Eisenberg and I represented the Windows Azure Cloud Platform in a Clash of the Clouds panel discussion/debate opposite Erik Sebesta  and Ed Brennan who represented the Open Source cloud alternatives. Erik & Ed declared OpenStack to be the strongest of the open source options today, so it became about Azure vs. OpenStack.

While I will not attempt to reproduce the discussion (sorry!, though there are a few photos), I do want to follow up on a few questions that I offered to provide references on. If you have further questions, please feel free to put a comment on this post. Also, at the end of this post, you will find a link to the short “Azure in 3 minutes or less” deck we used to introduce the Windows Azure Cloud Platform at the very beginning (per the ground rules of the panel – we limited the intro to 3 minutes).

  • In response to the question about scalability of Windows Azure Blobs, here is the write-up I referenced on Windows Azure Storage Scalability Targets. Here is an additional (more comparative) discussion (follow links) you may find helpful: Azure Cloud Storage Improvements Hit the Target.
  • In response to the question about pricing, check out the Windows Azure pricing calculator. Note that for the Microsoft Server products (e.g. Windows Server, or SQL Server on Windows Azure SQL Database (offered as a service) or on a Virtual Machine (that you manage)), the cost of the license is baked into the hourly rental cost.
  • In response to the question about the ability to support different types of apps (whether new ones from startups, existing ones from big company, etc.), see the spectrum of offerings described here: In a nutshell, Web Sites is for hosting (with a free Tier) for basic, low-scale sites, but these can scale very nicely too), Cloud Services is for building Cloud-Native applications using PaaS (which my book focuses on), Virtual Machines (parallel to what OpenStack offers in terms of managed VMs) is more useful for applications you want to run in the cloud with minimal change, and Virtual Networking allows many options for connecting your data center with a secure private network on Windows Azure among other options.
  • In response to the question about openness, any programming language or platform can access the Windows Azure services through REST APIs, but here is the list of those with first-class SDKs:
  • For any further follow-up questions feel free leave a COMMENT below and I will update this post.

Windows Azure is not the only full-service, rock-solid cloud platform out there, but I hope you got an appreciation for how it might help you and why you might wish to choose it for your applications and services. If you are interested in learning more about Windows Azure, you may wish to check out the Boston Azure User Group, which has been meeting regularly at NERD since October 2009. Our next meeting is in just a few days: Tuesday May 9.

The SLIDE DECK we used for the 3 minute intro is here: