Windows Azure platform – Tools and Utilities


 

I was looking for tools available on Windows Azure Platform, thought to share with you all. Certainly this is not the complete list available out there but I found these are useful to start with. My next post will cover few more tools -

1. Windows Azure Monitoring Management Pack(http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=4f05f282-f23a-49da-8133-7146ee19f249):

Windows Azure Monitoring Management Pack enables you to monitor the availability and performance of applications that are running on Windows Azure.
 
 
Feature Summary
• Discovers Windows Azure applications.
• Provides status of each role instance.
• Collects and monitors performance information.
• Collects and monitors Windows events.
• Collects and monitors the .NET Framework trace messages from each role instance.
• Grooms performance, event, and the .NET Framework trace data from Windows Azure storage account.
• Changes the number of role instances via a task.
 
2. CloudXplorer from clumfsyleaf(http://clumsyleaf.com/products/cloudxplorer):
CloudXplorer is a rich UI client for browsing Windows Azure blob storage.
 
Feature Summary
  • Copy and move blobs between folders, containers or even different accounts.
     
  • Rename and delete blobs, create new containers and folders.
     
  • Upload local files/directories and downloadblobs or entire blob folders.
  • Supports downloading/uploading of page blobs.
  • Auto-resume upload of large files.

3.Windows Azure Stoarge Explorer(http://azurestorageexplorer.codeplex.com/): Azure Storage Explorer is a useful GUI tool for inspecting and altering the data in your Windows Azure Storage storage projects including the logs of your cloud-hosted applications. All 3 types of cloud storage can be viewed and edited: blobs, queues, and tables.

The Windows Azure Traffic Manager provides several methods of distributing internet traffic among two or more hosted services, all accessible with the same URL, in one or more Windows Azure datacenters. It uses a heartbeat to detect the availability of a hosted service. The Traffic Manager provides various ways of handling the lack of availability of a hosted service.
 
5.   Sqlcmd utility(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee336280.aspx): You can connect to Microsoft SQL Azure Database with the sqlcmd command prompt utility that is included with SQL Server. The sqlcmd utility lets you enter Transact-SQL statements, system procedures, and script files at the command prompt. 
 
6.   SQL Server Management studio(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee621784.aspx#ssms): The SQL Server Management Studio from SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2 Express can be used to access, configure, manage and administer SQL Azure Database. Previous versions of SQL Server Management Studio are not supported.
 
You can transfer data to SQL Azure Database by using the bulk copy utility (BCP.exe). The bcp utility bulk copies data between an instance of Microsoft SQL Server and a data file in a user-specified format. The bcp utility can be used to import large numbers of new rows into SQL Server tables or to export data out of tables into data files.
 
8.  SQL Azure Reporting(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee621784.aspx#azurereport): The Customer Technology Preview of SQL Azure Reporting is also available. Microsoft SQL Azure Reporting is a cloud-based reporting service built on SQL Azure Database, SQL Server, and SQL Server Reporting Services technologies. You can publish, view, and manage reports that display data from SQL Azure data sources.
 
9.  SQL Server Management Objects(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee621784.aspx#ssmo): A partial set of SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) are enabled by SQL Azure Database. The partial set of SMO are only enabled in order to provide Management Studio access to SQL Azure.
 
10. Sql Server Migration Assistant(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee621784.aspx#ssma): Starting with the SQL Server Migration Assistant 2008 for Access version 4.2 release, SSMA enables migrating Microsoft Access schema and data to SQL Azure Database and adds support for Access 2010 databases.
 
11. Data –tier applications(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee621784.aspx#datatier):Starting with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, data-tier applications (DACs) are introduced to help developers and database administrators to package schemas and objects into a single entity called DAC package.SQL Azure Database supports deleting, deploying, extracting, registering, and in-place upgrading DAC packages. SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 included the DAC Framework 1.0, which supported only side-by-side upgrades.
 
12. Generate and publish script wizard(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee621784.aspx#generate):You can use the Generate and Publish Scripts Wizard to transfer a database from a local computer to SQL Azure Database.The Generate and Publish Scripts Wizard creates Transact-SQL scripts for your local database and the wizard uses them to publish database objects to SQL Azure Database.
 
13. Cerebrata Cloud Studio(http://www.cerebrata.com/products/cloudstoragestudio/):Cloud Storage Studio is a Windows (WPF) based client for managing Windows Azure Storage, an important component of Microsoft’s Azure (Microsoft’s Cloud) platform and Hosted Applications.
 
The utility will perform a series of data-upload and -download tests using sample data and collect measurements of throughput, which are displayed at the end of the test, along with other statistics.
  
15. SpaceBlock File transfer utility(http://spaceblock.codeplex.com/): SpaceBook is a simple Windows front-end for managing Amazon S3, Nirvanix, Azure Blob Storage, and now Sun Cloud Object Storage online service accounts.
 
16. Windows Azure Management Tool(http://wapmmc.codeplex.com/): The Windows Azure Platform Management Tool (MMC) enables you to easily manage your Windows Azure hosted services and storage accounts.  This tool is provided as a sample with complete source code so you can see how perform various management and configuration tasks using the Windows Azure Management and Diagnostics APIs. 
 
17. CSPAck utility(http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd179441.aspx#Subheading2): The CSPack Command-Line Tool packages your service to be deployed to the Windows Azure fabric. The cspack.exe utility generates a service package file that you can upload to Windows Azure via the Windows Azure Platform Management Portal. By default the package is named.cspkg, but you can specify a different name if you choose.
 
18. AzureWatch utility(http://www.softsea.com/download/AzureWatch.html): AzureWatch aggregates and analyzes performance counters, queue lengths, and other metrics and matches that data against user-defined rules. When a rule produces a “hit”, a scaling action or a notification occurs.
 
19. Windows Azure Bootstrapper(http://bootstrap.codeplex.com/):
The Windows Azure Bootstrapper is a command line tool meant to be used by your running Web and Worker roles in Windows Azure.  This tool allows you to easily download resources (either public resources or ones in your blob storage), extract them if necessary, and launch them.  Since you don’t want to always download and run during restarts, it will also help track those dependencies and only launch an installer one time!  In addition, there are some very useful features that make it a great tool to package with your roles.
 
20. Windows Azure GAC Viewer (http://gacviewer.cloudapp.net/)
This tool shows you a dynamically generated list of all of the assemblies present in the GAC for an Azure instance. Additionally, it also allows you to upload your project file (*.csproj or *.vbproj) to have the references scanned and let you know if there are any discrepancies between what you are using and what is available (by default) in Azure.
 

21. Azure Database Upload(http://azuredatabaseupload.codeplex.com/):

This utility will allow users to take the data from a SQL Server database and upload it in their Azure table storage account. It provides an easy to use GUI to read data from a SQL Server and upload it into specified Azure table storage.
 

22. Azure file upload(http://azurefileupload.codeplex.com/):

This utility will allow users to take the data from a delimited flat file and upload it in their Azure table storage account. It provides an easy to use GUI to read data from a delimited flat file and upload it into specified Azure table storage.
 

23. DocaAzure utilities(http://www.softpedia.com/get/Programming/Components-Libraries/DocaAzure.shtml) :  DocaAzure is a handy package that contains various utilities to help you with your Windows Azure development. DocaAzure is developed in C# and includes:

* Lightweight messaging framework
* IDbSet implementation for Azure Tables
* SMTP relay and server
* Azure Tables & Blobs Backup to the same or other Storage Account
* Some other useful utilities 

 
CloudBerry Explorer for Windows Azure Blob Storage. CloudBerry Explorer makes managing files in Azure Blob Storage EASY. By providing a user interface to Azure Blob Storage CloudBerry lets you manage your files on Azure just as you would on local computer.
 
25. Windows Azure Powershell CmdLets(http://wappowershell.codeplex.com/):
The Windows Azure Platform PowerShell Cmdlets enable you to browse, configure, and manage Windows Azure Compute and Storage services directly from PowerShell.  These tools can be helpful when developing and testing applications that use Windows Azure Services.  For instance, using these tools you can easily script the deployment and upgrade of Windows Azure applications, change the configuration for a role, and set and manage your diagnostic configuration. 
 
26. Windows Azure Hosted Services VM Manager(http://azureinstancemanager.codeplex.com/): Windows Azure Hosted Services VM Manager is a Windows Service that can manage the number of hosted services (VM’s) running in Azure on either a time based schedule or by CPU load. This allows the application to scale either dynamically or on a timed schedule.
 
27. Windows Azure Guidance(http://wag.codeplex.com/):

This is open source prokect, The key themes for these projects are providing guidance on below scenarios -

1. Moving to the Cloud
2. Developing for the Cloud
3. Integrating the Cloud

 
28. FTP to Azure Blob Storage Bridge(http://ftp2azure.codeplex.com/)
Deployed in a worker role, the code creates an FTP server that can accept connections from all popular FTP clients (like FileZilla, for example) for command and control of your blob storage account.
 
29. Storage Explorer online app(http://storageexplorer.cloudapp.net/login.aspx):Windows Azure Web Storage Explorer makes it easier for developers to browse and manage Blobs, Queues and Tables from Windows Azure Storage account. You’ll no longer have to install a local client to do that. It’s developed in C#.
 
Hope this is useful !
 
Laxmikant Patil
 
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