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Chapter 3. To the Cloud! Taking Advantage of Azure

The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.

William Gibson

The Preface of this book mentioned that technology is consistently trending towards economies of scale combined with efficient, scalable, and highly available solutions that are intended to be consumable from any modern computing device the user might be utilizing at the time. When it comes to achieving this goal, Windows Azure is a major enabler. The cloud is the future, and platforms such as Windows Azure are helping to evenly distribute it.

It’s easy to see the appeal of Windows Azure. The start-up and operational costs are less than they are with on-premises setups, you no longer have to worry about hardware upkeep, and you can reuse much of your existing development knowledge. That being said, there are a few differences that you must consider when architecting and building solutions for the cloud. Most notably, you must design for scaling across a quantity of commodity servers (i.e., scaling out) rather than seeking to build for environments that primarily scale up. F# is perfect for building this type of solution.

In this chapter I’ll walk you through creating and deploying F# solutions for the cloud. I’ll also show you how to communicate with other roles in your solution and how to harness several of the features that Windows Azure provides. Lastly, I’ll showcase a few of the great F# libraries and frameworks that have been built specifically to take advantage ...

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