onsdag, september 11, 2013

Managing multiple subscriptions in Windows Azure

If you have several subscriptions connected to your live id, or if you are co-admin on different accounts you have full administrative rights to each account. The only thing you cannot access is the account information that is available on https://account.windowsazure.com 

In the management portal you can filter out the subscription that you are currently working on. This will filter all parts of the portal, from the services that you have already deployed to the dialog where you create new services.


If you only select one subscription in the filter dialog you will not see the option to select the target subscription for a new service. Note the difference between the two screenshots below. These are taken from the New dialog in the Windows Azure portal. In the second screenshot I have filtered to use two subscriptions and therefore I get an option to select which subscription to create the new service on.



Remember that there are only one level or administrative rights. Either you are admin and can do everything (create, delete, deploy, scale and so forth) or you are not and cannot see anything. So distribute the administrative rights with care!

With many administrators you will soon find yourself in a situation of wanting an answer to the question: Who did that?!?!?! Fortunately there is an answer to that in the operation logs. Click on Management Services and then on Operations Logs and you will be presented with a nice list of who-did-what.


What's a preview in Windows Azure?

The pace at which we release new features in Windows Azure is amazing. I heard an interview with Scott Guthrie this summer where he said that right now we are on a cadence of releasing major functionality to the platform every three weeks! In the cloud we don’t have any beta programs or release candidates but we have Previews. So what is a preview and how does it differ from the services in production?

If you read the legal documents that we publish on WindowsAzure.com it states that We may make available Previews. That’s a good start! Then the text continues with PREVIEWS ARE PROVIDED "AS-IS," "WITH ALL FAULTS," AND "AS AVAILABLE," AND ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE SLAS AND LIMITED WARRANTY.

So, everything that we label as being in Preview is a pre-release of a service that might come in the future. Might come in the future since we also say: We may change or discontinue Previews at any time without notice. We also may choose not to release a Preview into "General Availability."

The full section about previews can be found in section 1.h in the Windows Azure Agreement.

Services in preview might also have different pricing then services in production. For instance Windows Azure Backup is currently in preview. In the Backup service we charge for backup based on the amount of data stored and these prices includes a 50% preview discount. Other services might be completely free during preview.

What should I use preview for?

Well, that decision you always have to make for yourself.

Would I put my only backup of critical data in a service in preview? – No.
Would I run mission critical software on a service in preview? – No.
Would I use services in preview during development and testing? – Yes!
Would I be a good Windows Azure community citizen and provide constructive feedback while using the service in preview? – Yes, sir!
Would I promise myself to keep me updated on what happens to the preview service that I use so that I can adapt to changes easily? Oh, yes!

Okay, all sounds cool! I want to try something new but where to I find it?

Some of the services that are in preview are available to everybody without the need to do anything. For instance the Windows Azure Web Sites have been in production since June 2013 but right now there is a scale feature, inside the Windows Azure Web Sites, that is in preview.


There are also completely new features that are in preview. These might be available to everybody or they might be limited access. Either way you have to request access via the WindowsAzure.com. Then there are also services that are in private preview but that is out of scope for this post.