SitePoint and Microsoft live Q&A: Session 2, Azure Mobile Services & Notifications

Building off that, what about government agencies that need intranet and public setups. Security? What sort of government version of this exists? Does it exist? Is it easy to get that?

The Windows Azure Pack allows you to run some of the Azure capabilities in a private data centre - see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/windows-azure-pack/.
You can do VMs (IaaS), Web PaaS and Database as a service.
There a good whitepaper at

Thanks Jasmine - looking forward to another fun session

We have a really fun question from Chris via email, "What is the most prominent feature, either current or upcoming, that you believe makes Azure stand out from the crowd?"

I’m curious too, anything exciting in the works for Azure?

Hope I’m not OT as you’re covering mobile services today but I’m curious to hear how notifications work on Azure?

Lots of Government departments around the world are using public cloud infrastructure. Each juridstiction has slightly different circumstances, but in general there has been a move to adopt the cloud to take advantage of the elasticity, the speed to deployment and the economies of scale that the public cloud provides.

Some governments are setting up their own data centres to provide this across their departments, but many are taking advantage of the existing cloud infrastructure.

There’s been lots of work done on security and my colleague, Rocky Heckman wrote a couple of excellent pieces: http://www.lalaninja.com.au/2012/04/11/its-my-data-not-yours/ and http://www.lalaninja.com.au/2012/05/21/cloud-as-security-boundary/

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Excellent; thank you, Andrew.

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Is there anything that makes push notifications different on Azure Mobile Services?

As I said on Monday, there’s always something new coming out :slight_smile:

To me, the thing that makes Azure stand out is its plethora of services from media to identity, to mobile notifications, to caching and more. Most impotantly though, the integration and management of these services makes using them at any scale, from individual to huge enterprise, easier and more efficient.

You’ve mentioned scalability a number of times last session as well. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

Hi Andrew! How do notifications actually work on Azure?

The Azure Notification Hubs (used by Mobile Services) are (I think) unique because they wrap the complexity of communicating with the three major notifications services from Apple, Google and Windows. You can send the one notification to the service and have it distributed, at massive scale, to all three. If you wanted to write and maintain that infrastructure yourself, you’d spend lots of your time keeping up wit what’s changed and making fixes. The beauty of having someone else (in this case, Microsoft) do all that is that you can get on with writing your unique application, and leave the common stuff to someone else.

(I’m wearing my TechEd 2013 shirt today and it says “only write the code that only you can write”)

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I like that :smiley:

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Great! Thank you for that Andrew.

Words of wisdom!

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Welcome back Andrew

Somewhat related, “load”

i.e. if Mega notifications occur within a short period of time, are they queued or are more resources thrown at them?

I guess it wouldn’t matter much for non-time-critical notifications but it might if something was more urgent.

There’s some great documentation and information on the architecture and technology of Notification Hubs.

Scott Gutherie did a comprehensive blog post when it was released:
http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/broadcast-push-notifications-to-millions-of-mobile-devices-using-windows-azure-notification-hubs
There’s the Notification Hubs home page: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/notification-hubs/

Essentially, you get the user of your app to register for notifications with the service, and then when you want to send a notification you send a message to the service, and it handles the complexity of sending the notification to the appropriate registered users.

@ntarpin I’m a n00b, so I can only include 2 links per reply. Hereare the other 2 I was going to include:

The documentation home page (complete with video): http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/services/notification-hubs/
and the MSDN documentation: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/jj927170.aspx

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For someone using Amazon EC cloud services, should I consider making a switch to Azure? I imagine your answer would be yes, but maybe you could shed some light on the reasons why?

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I’ll fix that for you now.

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The Notification service infrastructure is not specific to your app, it’s done across all notifications globally and we closely monitor the load on it and scale as required. Of course, because there are many people using it, that tends to even out the load (one of the big advantages of a cloud-based, multi-user infrastructure is that you can run your hardware at much higher working loads because the peaks are smoothed out by the averaging of multiple disparate workloads across many timezones)

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