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

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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So can you easily set notifications for specific timezones for your users? Are there any other cool tricks you can do with Notifications?

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It’s a very difficult question to answer without having a more detailed architectural discussion. The answer really depends on what you’re doing on Amazon.

One thing I would say (and I bet you weren’t expecting to hear this) is that unless you have a good reason to do so (like a service or capability that can’t be met elsewhere) I’d be wary about switching for the sake of change.

Having said that, as a developer, I’m really sold on the PaaS model and Azure seems to offer the best version of that I’ve seen.

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@AndrewCoates I’m sure this will be answered on your site, but since you’re here, does Azure have a network of computers globally, or are they mostly centered in one location? (I don’t have a great understanding of how cloud services disperse their hosting!)

Notifications can be sent to channels, or categories to which a user (or app on behalf of a user) subscribes. One of those channels could be set up for a particular time zone. You could also set up channels based on people’s preferences for, say, sport. A cricket app might have channels for each team, for each competition, for specific players or whatever. When you send the notification, you tag it with the channel(s) that should receive it, and the infrastructure takes care of sending it to the right people.

@AndrewCoates Being a C Programmer can I use it to make an app? Will C be enough or is there any other language needed? Are there any specific databases needed?

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Yep, there are over 16 Data Centres around the world, including 2 in Australia (I said over 16, because the number increases fairly regularly). You can choose to put your services and data in one or more of these and we also automatically back up between data centres.

Lots more info about the data centres themselves here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/cloud-os/global-datacenters.aspx

There’s a list of the redundancy locations used here http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/regions/geo-redundant-storage/, but it looks like it’s a little out of date as the Australian centres aren’t listed (they opened late last year)

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That was an extremely quick half hour! Thanks so much @AndrewCoates for being so honest and answering as many questions as you could :slight_smile: Andrew will be answering some remaining questions in the next few minutes - thanks Andrew!

Stay tuned for our 3rd Microsoft Q&A session on Tuesday, 31 March - more details to come soon!

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Thanks Jasmine - and thanks everyone. I’ve really enjoyed this.

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Yes, you can write an app in C (although it’s not the most common language in use for that these days). I really like C# at the moment. Using tools like Xamarin, I can write apps on iOS, Android, Windows and Windows Phone with a common code base and common language.

As for databases, you can use pretty much anything you can connect to. Some probably have more advanced libraries available to take care of the heavy lifting for you though.

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Thank you
And you will be able to post more links now :wink:
And even upload images if you want to.!

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Thanks :wink:

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There’s a great video about the data centres too:

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Thanks Andrew, for the links and for your time!

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Thank you Andrew! Incredibly informative and I hope you’ll be back for future sessions.

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Can’t believe I missed it… And I wanted to ask about how to deal with people that abuse the notifications system to spam and if there were some best practices that he could recommend :frowning:

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Wow that’s a pretty amazing video on the data centers!

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Thank you @AndrewCoates for giving more stuff to read… :smiley:

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