Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book Release: The Windows Azure Handbook, Volume 1: Strategy & Planning

I’m very pleased to announce that my first Windows Azure book is now available, The Windows Azure Handbook, Volume 1: Planning & Strategy. In this post I’ll give you a preview of the book. This is the first in a four-volume series that covers 1-Planning, 2-Architecture, 3-Development, and 4-Management. For information about the book series see my previous post or visit the book web site at http://azurehandbook.com/. The book can be purchased through Amazon.com and other channels.

This first volume is intended for business and technical decision makers and is concerned with understanding, evaluating, and planning for the Windows Azure platform. Here’s how the book is organized:

Part 1, Understanding Windows Azure, acquaints you with the platform and what it can do.

• Chapter 1 explains cloud computing.
• Chapter 2 provides an overview of the Windows Azure platform.
• Chapter 3 describes the billing model and rates.

Part 2, Planning for Windows Azure, explains how to evaluate and plan for Windows Azure.

• Chapter 4 describes a responsible process for cloud computing evaluation and adoption.
• Chapter 5 describes how to lead discussions on envisioning risk vs. reward.
• Chapter 6 is about identifying cloud opportunities for your organization.
• Chapter 7 explains how to profile applications and determine their suitability for Windows Azure.
• Chapter 8 describes how to approach migrations and estimate their cost.
• Chapter 9 covers how to compute Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI).
• Chapter 10 is about strategies for adopting Windows Azure.

Here are the chapter introductions to give you an idea of what each chapter covers:


This book is about cloud computing using Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform. Accordingly, I have a two-fold mission in this introduction: to convince you cloud computing is worth exploring, and to convince you further that Windows Azure is worth exploring as your cloud computing platform. Following that I’ll explain the scope, intended audience, and organization of the book.

Chapter 1: Cloud Computing Explained

In order to appreciate the Windows Azure platform it’s necessary to start with an understanding of the overall cloud computing space. This chapter provides general back¬ground information on cloud computing. We’ll answer these questions:

• What is cloud computing?
• How is cloud computing being used?
• What are the benefits of cloud computing?
• What different kinds of cloud computing are there?
• What does cloud computing mean for IT?

Chapter 2: Windows Azure Platform Overview

In the previous chapter we explained cloud computing generally. Now it’s time to get specific about the Windows Azure platform. We’ll answer these questions:

• Where does Windows Azure fit in the cloud computing landscape?
• What can Windows Azure do?
• What are the technical underpinnings of Windows Azure?
• What are the business benefits of Windows Azure?
• What does Windows Azure cost?
• How is Windows Azure managed?

Chapter 3: Billing

The Windows Azure platform has many capabilities and benefits, but what does it cost? In this chapter we’ll review the billing model and rates. We’ll answer these questions:

• How is a Windows Azure billing account set up and viewed?
• Is Windows Azure available in my country, currency, and language?
• What is the Windows Azure pricing model?
• What are the metering rules for each service?
• What is meant by “Hidden Costs in the Cloud”?

Chapter 4: Evaluating Cloud Computing

Planning for cloud computing is an absolute necessity. Not everything belongs in the cloud, and even those applications that are well-suited may require revision. There are financial and technical analyses that should be performed. In this chapter we’ll explain how to evaluate cloud computing responsibly. We’ll answer these questions:

• What is the ideal rhythm for evaluating and adopting cloud computing?
• What is the value and composition of a cloud computing assessment?
• What should an organization’s maturity goals be for cloud computing?

Chapter 5: Envisioning Risk & Reward

In order to make an informed decision about Windows Azure you need more than a mere understanding of what cloud computing is; you also need to determine what it will mean for your company. In this chapter we’ll answer these questions:

• How do you find the cloud computing synergies for your organization?
• How do you air and address risks and concerns about cloud computing?
• How will cloud computing affect your IT culture?

Chapter 6: Identifying Opportunities

Some applications and organizational objectives fit cloud computing and the Windows Azure platform well and some do not. This chapter is a catalog of patterns and anti-patterns that can help you swiftly identify candidates and non-candidates even if you are surveying a large portfolio of IT assets. Of course, candidates are only that: candidates. Business and technical analysis is necessary to make ultimate determinations of suitability. We’ll look at the following:

• Which scenarios are a good fit for Windows Azure?
• Which scenarios are a poor fit for Windows Azure?

Chapter 7: Profiling Applications

Applications, like people, are complex entities with many different attributes. In order to determine how good a fit an application is for cloud computing with Windows Azure, you’ll need to consider it from multiple angles and then come to an overall conclusion. We’ll look at the following:

• How do you profile an application?
• How can an application be scored for suitability?
• How should suitability scores be used?

Chapter 8: Estimating Migration

Some applications migrate easily to Windows Azure while others may require moderate or significant changes. Migration should begin with a technical analysis in which the extent of architectural, code, and data changes are determined. Once scoped, migration costs can be estimated and factored into the ROI calculation to determine if a migration makes sense. We’ll answer these questions:

• How is a migration candidate analyzed?
• How is a migration approach determined?
• How can operational costs be optimized in a migration?
• How is the extent of development work estimated?

Chapter 9: Calculating TCO & ROI

Whether or not cost reduction is your motivation for using cloud computing you certainly want to know what to expect financially from the Windows Azure Platform. Once you have a candidate solution in view you can calculate Total Cost of Ownership, Savings, and Return on Investment (if you have collected sufficient information). If you have skilled financial people at your disposal you should consider involving them in your analysis. In this chapter we present simple but revealing analyses anyone can perform that help you see the financial picture. We’ll answer these questions:

• How is TCO calculated for a Windows Azure solution?
• How is savings determined?
• How is ROI calculated?

Chapter 10: Adoption Strategies

Whether your use of Windows Azure is light or extensive, you should certainly be using it for well-defined reasons. A technology wave as big as cloud computing can be a game-changer for many organizations and is worth evaluating as a strategic tool. In this chapter we help you consider the possibilities by reviewing different ways in which Windows Azure can be used strategically by organizations. We also consider the impact it can have on your culture. We’ll answer these questions:

• Are there different levels of adoption for Windows Azure?
• How can Windows Azure be strategically used by IT?
• How can Windows Azure affect your culture?
• How can Windows Azure further your business strategy?

Well, there you have it—The Windows Azure Handbook, Volume 1: Strategy & Planning. I believe this is the only book for Windows Azure that covers business, planning, and strategy. I hope it is useful to organizations of all sizes in evaluating and adopting Windows Azure responsibly.


Anonymous said...

nice work. in cart & checked out. looking forward to reading this and hopefully the rest of the series.

Anonymous said...

David, is there a non-silverlight version? Thanks. john

David Pallmann said...

The book site is Silverlight-only, but you don't need the book site to order - you can go direct to Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Azure-Handbook-Planning-Technical/dp/145657471X/

Walt WIlliams said...

David -- just ordered your book. I am the CTO for a startup in Santa Monica and we are planning to launch our app on Azure.

Would love meet with you and see your thoughts and how might be able to help us.

Walt Williams

hung said...

This is a masterpiece.
I already recommended it to several of my managers/directors to read it.