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Windows Azure releases new cloud storage features

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We’re certainly glad it’s Thanksgiving week and that things are commendably slowing down a bit. We’ll go ahead and leave a few Windows Azure updates today to get you thinking about finishing up strong this year and looking ahead into 2014 for cloud and mobile. All of us at Motifworks wish you and your family a great Thanksgiving holiday.

So for a first item, Windows Azure this week released a new storage version, giving users updated features within Azure Blobs, Tables and Queues. This new version allows Azure Blobs, Tables and Queues to support CORS (Cross Origin Resource Sharing), allowing “access/manipulate resources from within the browser serving a web page in a different domain than the resource being accessed,” according to the Windows Storage Team Blog. Read more at this link about CORS. Also as part of this release, Azure Tables now supports OData 3.0’s JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format. According to the Windows storage team, “JSON format enables efficient wire transfer as it eliminates transferring predictable parts of the payload which are mandatory in AtomPub.”

For more on Azure storage, Nuno Felipe Godinho, a .NET developer and blogger, offers several “best practices” around improving storage performance. Tips include turning off Nagling, Expect100 and proxy auto detection.

In other Azure developments, the Windows Azure Blog’s Erez Benari delivers a succinct guide on how to set up a “canonical name” or CNAME for your Azure-hosted website. Benari, first, brings up the relevant point of why hosting your website in the cloud may be better than traditional server hosting: if your server goes down, so does your website. With Azure, any trouble with one cloud server won’t impact your site’s viability since it’s moved instantly to another server. And that’s where creating a CNAME is important to maintain your website’s continuity in regard to its IP address.

Microsoft this week also released an interesting Azure case study involving HarperCollins Publishers. In this story, HarperCollins had been contracting out its market and consumer data research function. The trouble was the HarperCollins team wasn’t able to access and consume this data real time every day – they had to wait for a big in-person presentation from one of its market research vendors. So, using SQL Server 2012 via Windows Azure, HarperCollins created a dynamic BI solution customized to its needs and available to the team anytime. This BI solution compiled relevant data and prepared it for consumption in easy to understand views and reports.

For more about cloud-based BI solutions, check out our own case study focusing on a custom BI solution we built for Microsoft, enabling their line of business teams to compile and consume product-related data in a better way and with more speed.

So, that’s it for this week. Again, enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you next week about all things cloud, mobile and Windows Azure.

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