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ScottGu's Blog - Scott Guthrie
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Scott Guthrie lives in Seattle and builds a few products for Microsoft
Updated: 6 hours 45 min ago

New Azure Billing APIs Available

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 06:59

Organizations moving to the cloud can achieve significant cost savings.  But to achieve the maximum benefit you need to be able to accurately track your cloud spend in order to monitor and predict your costs. Enterprises need to be able to get detailed, granular consumption data and derive insights to effectively manage their cloud consumption.

I’m excited to announce the public preview release of two new Azure Billing APIs today: the Azure Usage API and Azure RateCard API which provide customers and partners programmatic access to their Azure consumption and pricing details:

Azure Usage API – A REST API that customers and partners can use to get their usage data for an Azure subscription. As part of this new Billing API we now correlate the usage/costs by the resource tags you can now set set on your Azure resources (for example: you could assign a tag “Department abc” or “Project X” to a VM or Database in order to better track spend on a resource and charge it back to an internal group within your company). To get more details, please read the MSDN page on the Usage API. Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers can also use this API to get a more granular view into their consumption data, and to complement what they get from the EA Billing CSV.

Azure RateCard API – A REST API that customers and partners can use to get the list of the available resources they can use, along with metadata and price information about them. To get more details, please read the MSDN page on the RateCard API.

You can start taking advantage of both of these APIs today.  You can write your own custom code that uses the APIs to construct your own custom reports, or alternatively you can also now take advantage of pre-built bill tracking systems provided by our partners which already integrate the APIs into their existing solutions.

Partner Solutions

Two of our Azure Billing partners (Cloudyn and Cloud Cruiser) have already integrated the new Billing APIs into their products:

Cloudyn has integrated with Azure Billing APIs to provide IT financial management insights on cost optimization. You can read more about their integration experience in Microsoft Azure Billing APIs enable Cloudyn to Provide ITFM for Customers.

Cloud Cruiser has integrated with the Azure RateCard API to provide an estimate of what it would cost the customer to run the same workloads on Azure. They are also working on integrating with the Azure Usage API to provide insights based on the Azure consumption. You can read more about their integration in Cloud Cruiser and Microsoft Azure Billing API Integration.

You can adopt one or both of the above solutions immediately and use them to better track your Azure bill without having to write a single line of code.

image

Cloudyn's integration enables you to view and query the breakdown of Azure usage by resource tags (e.g. “Dev/Test”, “Department abc”, “Project X”):

image

Cloudyn's integration showing trend of estimated charges over time:

image

Cloud Cruiser's integration to show estimated cost of running workload on Azure:  

image Using the Billing APIs directly

You can also use the new Billing APIs directly to write your own custom reports and billing tracking logic.  To get started with the APIs, you can leverage the code samples on Github.

The Billing APIs leverage the new Azure Resource Manager and use Azure Active Directory for Authentication and follow the Azure Role-based access control policies.  The code samples we’ve published show a variety of common scenarios and how to integrate this logic end to end. Summary

The new Azure Billing APIs make it much easier to track your bill and save money.

As always, please reach out to us on the Azure Feedback forum and through the Azure MSDN forum.

Hope this helps,

Scott

omni
Categories: Architecture, Programming

Announcing General Availability of Azure Premium Storage

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 18:01

I’m very excited to announce the general availability release of Azure Premium Storage. It is now available with an enterprise grade SLA and is available for everyone to use.

Microsoft Azure now offers two types of storage: Premium Storage and Standard Storage. Premium Storage stores data durably on Solid State Drives (SSDs) and provides high performance, low latency, disk storage with consistent performance delivery guarantees.

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Premium Storage is ideal for I/O-sensitive workloads - and is especially great for database workloads hosted within Virtual Machines.  You can optionally attach several premium storage disks to a single VM, and support up to 32 TB of disk storage per Virtual Machine and drive more than 64,000 IOPS per VM at less than 1 millisecond latency for read operations. This provides an incredibly fast storage option that enables you to run even more workloads in the cloud.

Using Premium Storage, Azure now offers the ability run more demanding applications - including high-volume SQL Server, Dynamics AX, Dynamics CRM, Exchange Server, MySQL, Oracle Database, IBM DB2, MongoDB, Cassandra, and SAP solutions. Durability

Durability of data is of utmost importance for any persistent storage option. Azure customers have critical applications that depend on the persistence of their data and high tolerance against failures. Premium Storage keeps three replicas of data within the same region, and ensures that a write operation will not be confirmed back until it has been durably replicated. This is a unique cloud capability provided only be Azure today.

In addition, you can also optionally create snapshots of your disks and copy those snapshots to a Standard GRS storage account - which enables you to maintain a geo-redundant snapshot of your data that is stored > 400 miles away from your primary Azure region for disaster recovery purposes. Available Regions

Premium Storage is available today in the following Azure regions:

  • West US
  • East US 2
  • West Europe
  • East China
  • Southeast Asia
  • West Japan

We will expand Premium Storage to run in all Azure regions in the near future. Getting Started

You can easily get started with Premium Storage starting today. Simply go to the Microsoft Azure Management Portal and create a new Premium Storage account. You can do this by creating a new Storage Account and selecting the “Premium Locally Redundant” storage option (note: this option is only listed if you select a region where Premium Storage is available).

Then create a new VM and select the “DS” series of VM sizes. The DS-series of VMs are optimized to work great with Premium Storage. When you create the DS VM you can simply point it at your Premium Storage account and you’ll be all set. Learning More

Learn more about Premium Storage from Mark Russinovich's blog post on today's release.  You can also see a live 3 minute demo of Premium Storage in action by watching Mark Russinovich’s video on premium storage. In it Mark shows both a Windows Server and Linux VM driving more than 64,000 disk IOPS with low latency against a durable drive powered by Azure Premium Storage.

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You can also visit the following links for more information:

Summary

We are very excited about the release of Azure Premium Storage. Premium Storage opens up so many new opportunities to use Azure to run workloads in the cloud – including migrating existing on-premises solutions.

As always, we would love to hear feedback via comments on this blog, the Azure Storage MSDN forum or send email to mastoragequestions@microsoft.com.

Hope this helps,

Scott

omni
Categories: Architecture, Programming

Announcing the new Azure App Service

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 15:23

In a mobile first, cloud first world, every business needs to deliver great mobile and web experiences that engage and connect with their customers, and which enable their employees to be even more productive.  These apps need to work with any device, and to be able to consume and integrate with data anywhere.

I'm excited to announce the release of our new Azure App Service today - which provides a powerful new offering to deliver these solutions.  Azure App Service is an integrated service that enables you to create web and mobile apps for any platform or device, easily integrate with SaaS solutions (Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, Twilio, etc), easily connect with on-premises applications (SAP, Oracle, Siebel, etc), and easily automate businesses processes while meeting stringent security, reliability, and scalability needs. Azure App Service

Azure App Service includes the Web App + Mobile App capabilities that we previously delivered separately (as Azure Websites + Azure Mobile Services).  It also includes powerful new Logic/Workflow App and API App capabilities that we are introducing today for the very first time - along with built-in connectors that make it super easy to build logic workflows that integrate with dozens of popular SaaS and on-premises applications (Office 365, SalesForce, Dynamics, OneDrive, Box, DropBox, Twilio, Twitter, Facebook, Marketo, and more). 

All of these features can be used together at one low price.  In fact, the new Azure App Service pricing is exactly the same price as our previous Azure Websites offering.  If you are familiar with our Websites service you now get all of the features it previously supported, plus additional new mobile support, plus additional new workflow support, plus additional new connectors to dozens of SaaS and on-premises solutions at no extra charge

Web + Mobile + Logic + API Apps

Azure App Service enables you to easily create Web + Mobile + Logic + API Apps:

image

You can run any number of these app types within a single Azure App Service deployment.  Your apps are automatically managed by Azure App Service and run in managed VMs isolated from other customers (meaning you don't have to worry about your app running in the same VM as another customer).  You can use the built-in AutoScaling support within Azure App Service to automatically increase and decrease the number of VMs that your apps use based on the actual resource consumption of them. 

This provides an incredibly cost-effective way to build and run highly scalable apps that provide both Web and Mobile experiences, and which contain automated business processes that integrate with a wide variety of apps and data sources.

Below are additional details on the different app types supported by Azure App Service.  Azure App Service is generally available starting today for Web apps, with the Mobile, Logic and API app types available in public preview:

Web Apps

The Web App support within Azure App Service includes 100% of the capabilities previously supported by Azure Websites.  This includes:

  • Support for .NET, Node.js, Java, PHP, and Python code
  • Built-in AutoScale support (automatically scale up/down based on real-world load)
  • Integrated Visual Studio publishing as well as FTP publishing
  • Continuous Integration/Deployment support with Visual Studio Online, GitHub, and BitBucket
  • Virtual networking support and hybrid connections to on-premises networks and databases
  • Staged deployment and test in production support
  • WebJob support for long running background tasks

Customers who have previously deployed an app using the Azure Website service will notice today that they these apps are now called "Web Apps" within the Azure management portals.  You can continue to run these apps exactly as before - or optionally now also add mobile + logic + API app support to your solution as well without having to pay anything more.

Mobile Apps

The Mobile App support within Azure App Service provides the core capabilities we previously delivered using Azure Mobile Services.  It also includes several new enhancements that we are introducing today including:

  • Built-in AutoScale support (automatically scale up/down based on real-world load)
  • Traffic Manager support (geographically scale your apps around the world)
  • Continuous Integration/Deployment support with Visual Studio Online, GitHub, and BitBucket
  • Virtual networking support and hybrid connections to on-premises databases
  • Staged deployment and test in production support
  • WebJob support for long running background tasks

Because we have an integrated App Service offering, you can now run both Web and Mobile Apps using a single Azure App Service deployment.  This allows you to avoid having to pay for a separate web and mobile backend - and instead optionally pool your resources to save even more money.

Logic Apps

The Logic App support within Azure App Services is brand new and enables you to automate workflows and business processes.  For example, you could configure a workflow that automatically runs every time your app calls an API, or saves data within a database, or on a timer (e.g. once a minute) - and within your workflows you can do tasks like create/retrieve a record in Dynamics CRM or Salesforce, send an email or SMS message to a sales-rep to follow up on, post a message on Facebook or Twitter or Yammer, schedule a meeting/reminder in Office 365, etc. 

Constructing such workflows is now super easy with Azure App Services.  You can define a workflow either declaratively using a JSON file (which you can check-in as source code) or using the new Logic/Workflow designer introduced today within the Azure Portal.  For example, below I've used the new Logic designer to configure an automatically recurring workflow that runs every minute, and which searches Twitter for tweets about Azure, and then automatically send SMS messages (using Twilio) to have employees follow-up on them:

image 

Creating the above workflow is super easy and takes only a minute or so to do using the new Logic App designer.  Once saved it will automatically run within the same VMs/Infrastructure that the Web Apps and Mobile Apps you've built using Azure App Service use as well.  This means you don't have to deploy or pay for anything extra - if you deploy a Web or Mobile App on Azure you can now do all of the above workflow + integration scenarios at no extra cost

Azure App Service today includes support for the following built-in connectors that you can use to construct and automate your Logic App workflows:

image

Combined the above connectors provide a super powerful way to build and orchestrate tasks that run and scale within your apps.  You can now build much richer web and mobile apps using it.

Watch this Azure Friday video about Logic Apps with Scott Hanselman and Josh Twist to learn more about how to use it.

API Apps

The API Apps support within Azure App Service provides additional support that enables you to easily create, consume and call APIs - both APIs you create (using a framework like ASP.NET Web API or the equivalent in other languages) as well as APIs from other SaaS and cloud providers.

API Apps enable simple access control and credential management within your applications, as well as automatic SDK generation support that enables you to easily expose and integrate APIs across a wide-variety of languages.  You can optionally integrate these APIs with Logic Apps. Getting Started

Getting started with Azure App Service is easy.  Simply sign-into the Azure Preview Portal and click the "New" button in the bottom left of the screen.  Select the "Web + Mobile" sub-menu and you can now create Web Apps, Mobile Apps, Logic Apps, and API Apps:

image 

You can create any number of Web, Mobile, Logic and API apps and run them on a single Azure App Service deployment at no additional cost. 

Learning More

I'll be hosting a special Azure App Service launch event online on March 24th at 11am PDT which will contain more details about Azure App Service, a great demo from Scott Hanselman, and talks by several customers and analytics talking about their experiences.  You can watch the online event for free here.

Also check out our new Azure Friday App Service videos with Scott Hanselman that go into detail about all of the new capabilities, and show off how to build Web, Mobile, Logic and API Apps using Azure App Service:

Then visit our documentation center to learn more about the service and how to get started with it today.  Pricing details are available here.

Summary

Today’s Microsoft Azure release enables a ton of great new scenarios, and makes building great web and mobile applications hosted in the cloud even easier.

If you don’t already have a Azure account, you can sign-up for a free trial and start using all of the above features today.  Then visit the Microsoft Azure Developer Center to learn more about how to build apps with it.

Hope this helps,

Scott

P.S. In addition to blogging, I am also now using Twitter for quick updates and to share links. Follow me at:twitter.com/scottgu omni

Categories: Architecture, Programming