I was asked to write an editorial for MSDN flash. It hasn’t been published yet, but here is the raw article I submitted.
At Build 2013, Microsoft covered a lot of the recent activity within the Windows Azure. It is an exciting time to develop on the Azure platform. Here were the most interesting announcements for me at the conference:
The general availability of Windows Azure Websites and Windows Azure Mobile services was announced. Azure websites is an enterprise grade way of hosting websites that can easily scale and allow for rapid deployment. Windows Azure Mobile Services helps support the backend of your mobile apps. You can rapidly create tables to hold data and immediately expose it via RESTful services. Microsoft also help bootstrap your app with templates for Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS, Android & HTML5.
Azure Websites & Mobile Services have tiers ranging from free to enterprise level. With the recent announcement that you can create 20mb SQL Azure databases for free, it is now very cheap to start creating your own projects on the weekend. While still having the reassurance that you are able to scale it up to an enterprise level when needed.
Within the Azure portal you can now configure deployments to automatically scale themselves up and down based on load. You can set an ideal CPU utilisation range, beyond which Azure will automatically provision or de-provision instances. There is also the ability to scale based on the length of a Windows Azure Storage queue for worker roles that process messages. The auto scaling announcement combined with the recent updates to “Pay per minute” pricing, means your applications can rapidly respond to load while keeping your costs as low as possible.
On top of all of this there has been an updated release cadence with more frequent updates published to Azure than ever before. There have been over 100 major releases to the Azure services since Build 2012. This has seen the capabilities of azure rapidly expanding, and it will be exciting to see this pace continue throughout 2013.