Monday, November 2, 2009

Goodbye, LifeTracks (259 days of uptime in the cloud)

With the Azure Northwest Data Center closing, I reluctantly shut down my longest-running Azure application today, LifeTracks. LifeTracks was my first significant Azure application, written over Thanksgiving 2008. Though it was pretty raw compared to what I can do today with Azure and preceded my Silverlight days, I was still rather proud of it. It incorporated Windows Live ID authentication, Windows Azure hosting, and Windows Azure Blob storage and was one of the first Azure demo applications.

LifeTracks is also where I learned some important Azure best practices. Initially, when I would show someone the app it would sometimes not be available. I would re-deploy and it would be fine for a while, but before long it would again not be available. At first I chalked this up to the platform being in its early stages, but someone from the Azure product team explained that the problem was more likely that I was running a single instance which was probably being frequently taken down for patching. Azure has a very nice system for sequencing patches and updates, but if you're only running a single instance that doesn't help you.

On February 16th I upped my deployment to 2 instances, and there was a night and day difference. LifeTracks has run uninterrupted from 02/16/09 to 11/02/09, 259 days of rock solid uptime in the cloud. Even the partial outage Azure experienced in March didn't take down LifeTracks. I think this shows how reliable Azure has been even during this preview period.

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