IaaS @ UKWAUG: MS Cloud Day – Windows Azure Spring Release

Infrastructure as a Service in Azure

Unfortunately, the earlier network disaster at the conference meant that this session seemed to have been cut short. This is a shame as the Azure IaaS offering has really matured and I was looking forward to how I can utilise the improved system.

Since it was a short one, the notes taken on what Microsoft’s own Michael Washam (@MWashamMS) talked about are limited. Here goes:

You can can upload your own VHDs which must be fixed disks, not dynamic

Data disks are a virtual HD which can be attached to your VM; each data disk is up to 1TB!

Instance size/# of data disks

  • xs 1
  • s 2
  • m 4
  • l 8
  • xl 16

So a single XL instance VM can have 16TB of HA storage attached!

Data disks lives in blob storage

Using port forwarding and configuring a Load Balanced Set allows you to set up a cluster/farm.

The load balancer functionality has custom probes; these look for HTTP200 on a health check page. The health check page can be custom and do custom logic (e.g., auth/db conn) determining whether to return a 200 status or not.

Availability Sets ensure not all the VMs in a set would go down for usual updates and patches at the same time; i.e., your load balanced endpoint would always have an active VM on the other end.

The Windows Azure Virtual Network allows, as mentioned in the Keynote, a VPN to be set up which can be patched into your on-premises router to act as if it’s on-prem itself.

The VPN can be configured/defined via an xml file. The creation of the VMs and their attached data disks can be scripted from the mature Azure Powershell cmdlet library. Using these together Michael was able to show how he can run a powershell script to spin up a farm of ten servers from a pre-existing VHD, attach a 1TB data disk to each, and assign them IP addresses within the configured VPN range.

He then downloaded the VPN settings from Azure in a format specific to a possible corporate router to effectively bring that new server farm into the on-premises network.

This automatic setup and configuration was really rushed through and quite tough to follow at times, probably due to the lack of time. There were some tantalising snippets of script on screen momentarily, and then it was all over.

My big take away from this session was the ability to automatically spin up a preconfigured set of servers to create a QA/dev/load test environment, do horrible things to it, get some reports generated, then turn it back off. Wonderful.

:: Michael with the money shot

ukwaug ms cloud day MWasham azure spring release 2012 IaaS

Next up >> Mongo DB

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