Cloud Storage Use Case Scenarios – Considering Windows Azure Storage Platform


What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a model of networked online storage where data is stored in virtualized pools of storage which are generally hosted by third parties. Cloud storage is based on highly virtualized infrastructure and has same characteristic as Cloud computing in terms of agility, scalability, elasticity and multi-tenancy.

Cloud storage services may be accessed through a web service application programming interface (API), a cloud storage gateway or through a Web-based user interface.

  • Cloud storage provides On-Demand storage space
  • Cloud storage can be accessed through internet
  • It’s pricing is based on Pay as you go and usage model
  • Cloud storage platform exposes Rich application interfaces for communication purpose
  • User need not manage the storage, everything is transparent to the user
  • High degree of security and data redundancy and disaster recovery is built into Cloud storage
  • Companies can focus on their core business and get rid of on-premise storage disks, maintenance tasks, backups, data replication, space and cooling requirements including human resource bandwidth.

How is it different from traditional storage?

  • There is No difference with traditional storage techniques at functional interface level
  • Traditionally there was need to pre-pay and buy storage device, Cloud Storage is delivered on demand
  • Like traditional store there is no need of Capital Expenditures, Cloud storage is based on Pay as per used model
  • Because Cloud storage is maintained by third party, it reduces CapEx and OpeEx significantly
  • Traditional storage capacity use to be low because of upfront investment required, whereas in Cloud storage you get virtually unlimited storage capacity without upfront commitment/investment
  • Traditional on-premise storage could not provide the level of high availability promised by Cloud Storage
  • Unlike traditional storage, Cloud storage services are specialized for structured storage, unstructured storage, NOSQL data, large binary files, Media content streaming etc.
  • Cloud storage services has data redundancy and disaster recovery built into it
  • Cloud storage services are inherently build for high fault tolerance
  • Since data will be stored in cloud storage which can be accessed from anywhere in the world with adequate security which gives kind of comfort for data users

Overall Cloud storage provides customers with required agility, scalability and cost effectiveness.

Economics of Cloud storage

While understanding the economics, it is necessary to try to compare apple with apple, generally organizations compare on-premise storage devices cost with cloud storage/GB, which will be wrong to do. For understanding actual cost required for X GB storage you need to consider below parameters.

  • Upfront devices investment cost
  • Operating Costs
  • Redundancy cost
  • Buy in advance to provide required capacity to the business
  • Human resource involvement
  • Disaster recovery
  • Hardware support
  • Technical trainings

Source: Forrester Research – based on sample data provided under specific conditions*

Forrester Internal Storage

Forrester Cloud Storage

Forrester Cloud Gateway Storage

Challenges in using Cloud storage

Security

  • Outsourcing data storage out of organization premises causes security risks increasing attack surface area.
  • Security of data during transit

Accessibility

  • Performance, reliability, available depends on WAN bandwidth between customer and Cloud Service Provider
  • Although Cloud Service providers promises 99.9% availability, still it may prove problem for some organizations

Regulatory Compliances

  • Data being stored in Cloud storage could be subject to government regulations and legal affairs e.g. Personal information or health care records
  • Copyright and Piracy infringement for intellectual property

For e.g.

              1.The Patriot Act in the US allows the government to subpoena all data stored within the US. This might not be acceptable to many organizations.

              2. European Privacy Acts require that data be stored within the country of origin. Storing in the datacenter of out‐of‐country Service Provider cloud might not meet these requirements.

Cloud Service Provider stability

  • Companies are not permanent and the services and products they provide can change. Outsourcing data storage to another company needs careful investigation and nothing is ever certain. Contracts set in stone can be worthless when a company ceases to exist or its circumstances change.

Total Cost

  • Total recurring cost and bandwidth cost added up, may not prove feasible to some of the customers depending upon the size and data size and sensitivity to the business.

topic

Many of the above concerns can be taken care by using Cloud storage Gateways.

What is Cloud Storage gateway?

For many organization’s may it be small-medium business or large businesses, majorly two obstacles stopping from utilizing cloud storage and those are really genuine but resolvable.

The first is the relatively slow performance as measured by response time obviously because of limitation of available internet bandwidth. This slow response time often makes cloud-based storage unacceptable for some users. The second is the requirement to write code for applications to the representational state transfer (REST) API. If the applications don’t have a native interface to cloud storage, many small to medium businesses lack the aptitude, desire, skills or time to develop it themselves.

So, what is the solution?

The potential solution could be to have a mechanism in place which will overcome above two obstacles and provide a way so that enterprises don’t need to worry about the storage, communication and performance complexities. A solution should provide wrapper to Cloud storage allowing users to use storage as normal as they had been doing on-premises.

‘Cloud storage gateways’ are the appropriate solution to this, since they are designed to overcome above two obstacles and they allow you to deal with cloud storage as if you are dealing with traditional SAN, NAS storage systems using NFS, iSCSI or FC methods. Additionally they can be used as a ‘primary storage’ unit providing features such as snapshots, thin provisioning, de-duplication and compression. This also eliminates any requirement of writing an application code for enterprises before using cloud storage.

There are many cloud storage gateways in the market, one has to understand how cloud storage gateway move your data cloud storage and how it brings back to you when needed. Various gateway companies use different approaches and algorithms some of them are patented technologies as well. The more efficiency achieved in data movement decides the quality and productivity of the cloud storage gateway. Additionally some cloud storage gateways allows you to use different cloud storage platforms such as Windows Azure, Amazon S3,  EMC Atmos, Nirvanix and others providing complete flexibility.

Basic working of Cloud Storage Gateways

Cloud storage gateways are nothing but a customized appliance (server) having various types and specialty disk storage in it like HDDs, SSDs (Solid state devices) and software control  on it. On-premise applications interact with these disks as normal, data is stored on these disks initially, it is them moved to the storage cloud based on policy/ algorithms such as age of the data, last access timings, or number of snapshots etc.

Though cloud storage gateways come with some costs but they relax you from several responsibilities providing low TCO solution. You get relax mind as cloud storage gateway takes care of data backups, snapshots, archival, de-duplication, compression, allowing you to use cost effective cloud storage, disaster recovery along with acting as a primary storage medium with classic storage technology combinations.

There are a number of cloud storage gateway vendors in the market today, with more emerging every quarter. They include Cirtas Systems, CTERA Networks, Nasuni Corp., StorSimple Inc., TwinStrata Inc. and others that are still emerging.

Usage scenarios for Storage as a Service

1.      Web Facing Applications

Opting out from owned on-premise infrastructure for a business application and moving it to the cloud could streamline the operations especially for data driven applications. Although, cloud storage can be used for any application dealing with data, it benefits specially when your data is increasing rapidly or existing data size is more than you want to control it on-premise. Cloud storage specially assists in web facing applications where upload and download of content is entirely up to end users and size of data can grow by any extent. Data could unstructured (simple files, documents, videos, audio, media content, database backups) or structured content (SQL databases) or NoSQL data, cloud storage is applicable for all kind.

Few examples of places where cloud storage can be used is-

  • Media Streaming : streaming of audio & video
  • Files/ document /photos/audio/ video storage e.g. drop box, You tube
  • Store content for Social media sites like – Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc
  • Content Storage & Sharing : Pictures and content are stored in Cloud Storage e.g. Smugmug,
  • NoSQL data storage

How about using cloud storage for on-premise web applications?

One can use cloud storage for on-premise application and it is perfect to use it. However, for better performance, Storage and application should be co-located in the cloud to avoid possible latency. REST API exposed by cloud storage services can be easily consumed by applications for leveraging services and reaping benefits like data redundancy, availability and cost effectiveness.

2.      Interfacing Smart Mobile devices

Mobiles are everywhere. Be it  be business phones like blackberry, Windows, iPhones or tablets/iPads with full blown applications generating and pushing data to central database for analysis, accounting and reporting purpose. Sales force or field agents and inspections generate lot of data with audio and video contents which need to be stored for longer period of process compliance purposes or reference purposes. Nowadays devices comes with inbuilt facilities to store content on local storage or on cloud, it has just become an option and cloud storage just a click away. Because of limited processing power, memory and bandwidth, data from mobile devices need to be pushed /pulled more frequently with availability requirement from anywhere in the world.

Cloud storage proves very efficient option in such cases providing complete data availability; data transfer rate doesn’t matter here since anyways it will happen via Internet with on-premise data center.

3.      Unstructured Data Storage

This is data is largest in size in any organization and uncontrollable also. People create copies of documents and version them as they want, it is difficult to track or control the pattern that users manage documents including emails, text documents, images/photos, manuals, training contents, proposals, marketing contents, accounting statements etc.

As per An IDC paper, “The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe,” highlights how a single email with 1MB attachment when sent to four people consumes a total of 51MB of storage. (Source: “The Diverse and Exploding Digital Universe, An Updated Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2011,” March 2008, by International Data Corporation.) In other words, email suffers from attachment size limitations and is also an inefficient way of data sharing.

If constraints are applied on storage sizes, users tend to delete the content which may again create problems in accessing that in future. So to deal with such situations, strong storage policy is needed appreciating business need and impact of data availability for the organization. There should be a flexible way of data sharing which will increase collaboration in the organization along with an approach should prove cost effective and add value in terms of availability, disaster recovery, data redundancies, backups and versioning support.

Cloud storage helps you address all of above concerns fostering effective data storage, sharing, availability and pay as you storage option.

4.      Backup/ Retention/Preservation to Cloud

I have met with one customer who is into construction business from homes to business towers to ships and dams. Company operates in 7 countries following country specific policies and regulations for record keeping. Some of the countries like U.S and Canada need all the records for a construction project to be retained for 10 to 15 years. Data should be recoverable and available when it is required.

One may serve such request by regular maintenance of your storage policies and infrastructure considering backups, verifications, retention, duplication activities. Not only for the regulatory compliances but it is also important for every organization to retain, backup and preserve their data which is a real asset and outcome of thousands of hours of work.

topic 2

Cloud storage takes all of your responsibilities of storing your data consistently for years you want to store. Outsourcing such as pain area will allow your IT to focus more on innovation and value added service for the businesses and not merely on record keeping purpose. Below are some of the instances where cloud storage has been used from some time –

  • Backup for individual machine & laptops to cloud E.g Cirrustore
  • Backup of cloud computing data like OS images Eg: vsphere, Openstack Swift storage
  • Backup for one cloud provider to another – double sure it!
  • Restore the data backed up in cloud- Retention period and Secure deletion purposes
  • Data Preservation (is distinguished from Archive/Retention) in that the goal of preservation is to actively maintain the upkeep of information, most likely for long periods of time. E.g. Preserve Libraries & University Archives / repositories
  • Archive data that is less sensitive to latency

topic 3

5.      Databases in cloud

Databases, may those be SQL or NoSQL can happily reside in the cloud. Some of the Cloud service provides like Microsoft Windows Azure has SQL DB database provided in a ‘Database as a service’ mode. Microsoft has partnered with other database providers like MySQL to make it available on their cloud platform. There is a long list of databases supported on cloud platform like –

  • Cassandra
  • Bigtable
  • Hbase
  • Hypertable
  • Neo4j
  • mongoDB
  • Azure tables

SQL Database can deployed in cloud could be your primary databases, backup copies or as a secondary data source purpose like reporting purpose. SQL database in the cloud are charged based on monthly database size.

NoSQL databases present very cost effective ways for managing data and there are very good example in the industry that how people are using it for storing large data sets in the NoSQL database like Azure tables with partitioning policies spanning data in multiple datacenters around the world.

6.      Cloud Storage for cloud computing

If you are using cloud computing for any reason, there is high possibility that you will fall in love with cloud storage. Most of the cloud providers have storage integrated with other offerings they have.

Whenever we use cloud platform like Microsoft Windows Azure either in IaaS, PaaS or SaaS mode, you are actually using Azure Cloud storage in some or other format.

One of the typical examples when people use Cloud storage is when they use IaaS offerings-

  • VM Image Store :Image of the Guest OS which is made available to hypervisors for staring a VM
  • Guest Auxiliary storage: Provision the storage space, at a given QoS, which the guest needs beyond the boot storage.
  • People store entire deployment packages in cloud storage in PaaS mode for providing autoscaling feature to add more servers in response to traffic attracted by the application.

7.      Global Content Distribution in Cloud

Global content distribution is not a new mechanism to boost application performance when you have wide range of users around the globe and your application content is cached at many places nearer to the users for faster delivery to them. With the advent of Cloud computing, this mechanism has become more powerful with integrated support from the cloud providers like Microsoft has CDN(Content distribution network) feature as of Windows Azure platform, users has to perform few clicks to configure it for their application and your site will be transformed with tremendous boost in content delivery. With increased number of CDN nodes around the globe, latency and scalability issues are being addressed very proactively and easily.

8.      Scientific calculations and researchers to collaborate and discover

Scientific societies and researchers need large storage systems to store their simulations during their research. Not all scientists have liberty to buy storage systems and maintain them. Cloud storage provides efficient technique for them to use actually when required, pay for use and release the resources once results are drawn from the calculations. Cloud storage has been considered good candidate for storing content generated in digital movie production. Computer generated movie production generates huge data which need to be stored for short period of movie production may be for few months.

For e.g. movie like ‘avatar’ generated one petabyte or one million gigabytes of data which was stored using Microsoft digital asset management solution’ which could be today stored in Cloud storage with added benefits.

Hope this helps!  🙂

Laxmikant Patil

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Why to use Windows Azure Storage against local portable hard disk?


Since the inception of computers, enterprises had been using hard disks for data storage and transfer purpose. Most popular option is ‘portable hard disk’ being cost effective, easy to use and ability to carry anywhere features. Because of success of portable hard disks enterprises got attracted to it and started leveraging them for business data storage, backup and archival purposes, which is not the purpose these disks are meant for. Portable hard disks were developed for storage of temporary data and primarily for portability purpose.

Companies need to look at more reliable storage solution considering below mentioned criteria’s, because data not available on time or loss of data is as bad as data was never available!

Below is the comparison summary between ‘portable hard disk’ and ‘Windows Azure Storage services’ storage options against different criteria’s.

Sr. No

Criteria Portable Hard Disk Cloud(Windows Azure)

Winner

1

Data Security Low – Easily accessible High- Always Secure Access Azure Storage

2

Ease of data Access Data Access is easy as one has to just plug the HDD in USB Internet based data access HDD

3

Portability High Low – but data is available around the world via Internet

HDD

4 Reach Low – Need to physically carry everywhere High – Data accessible globally

Azure Storage

5

Disaster Recovery Low – Very less chances of data recovery High – Inbuilt disaster recovery. Data gets copied at 3 places and   will be automatically made available in disaster recovery scenarios

Azure Storage

6

Data redundancy Low – Need to implement explicitly which costs your more High – Inbuilt data redundancy. Data gets copied at 3 places

Azure Storage

7 Availability Low- Vulnerable to numerous environmental conditions High – 99.9% promised availability with world class data centers   support

Azure Storage

8

Performance High – Local access Low- Internet based access HDD
9 Maintenance Need more care in periodic verifying of device No maintenance needed

Azure Storage

10

Vulnerable to physical damage, heat, dust, wear and tear Yes- highly vulnerable No

Azure Storage

11

Life of storage device 2-3 years max Virtually unlimited Azure Storage
12 Risk of device theft High Low

Azure Storage

13

Data access concurrency Cannot be accessed concurrently for more than few users Can be accessed by large users concurrently

Azure Storage

14

Governed SLAs  No YES – by Microsoft Azure Storage
15 Device Driver needs YES NO

Azure Storage

16

Data Access time Less because of local data transfer More because of internet based data transfer HDD
17 Price 1 TB for Approx. $100 $0.07 per GB per month

HDD

18

Storage Capacity Fixed – need to decide at the time of buying Virtually unlimited Azure Storage
19 Storage flexibility If data size increases, Data storage cannot grow by itself Cloud storage supports scalability out of the box with ability to   storage unlimited data. Flexibility in terms of Pay as you go model

Azure Storage

20

Pricing Model Capex – Capital investment is needed. Opex – Only monthly usage charges need to pay, no upfront commitment Azure Storage
21 Focus Organization need to spend time and give focus on maintaining HDD in   good way along with redundant copies of it No need to spend additional minute in caring about the storage once   data is uploaded.

Azure Storage

Just to conclude, ‘Windows Azure Storage Services’ wins in most of the cases and proves to be best option for storage purpose. Use this information wisely in your scenario to analyze the benefits scenarios.

Hope this helps !

Laxmikant Patil 🙂

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