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Category Archives: Azure Cache

Based in New York City, automotiveMastermind was founded in 2012 on the idea that there are patterns in people’s behavior, and that the right logic can be used to predict future outcomes. automotiveMastermind’s core dealer team consists of high-volume sales experts and executives with an intimate understanding of the complicated automotive sales process and the unique pain points dealerships and sales teams experience.

Its core technology, automotiveMastermind® is a cutting-edge behavior prediction technology that provides a clear, structured overview of each customer, what he or she is most likely to buy, and why.

automotiveMastermind’s environment is supported by Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed and Microsoft partner hosted datacenters.

automotiveMastermind approached Microsoft to ensure it would leverage the latest Azure-related innovations, approaching Microsoft. Microsoft enlisted The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in Azure and a long history serving the IT needs of the technology providers.

Today, more and more Microsoft customers seek such guidance on how to make the most of Microsoft Azure.

Solution

automotiveMastermind was interested in exploring implementing a series of optimizations based on best practices related to a shortlist of powerful technologies.

Essentially, automotiveMastermind needed Henson Group to perform a comprehensive review of its existing Infrastructure hosted in Azure and provide analysis and recommendations. The deliverables included crafting Best Practices Recommendations, relative to automotiveMastermind’s environment, for the following:

Application Migration – Azure Virtual Machines to Azure Web Applications:  The comprehensive document highlighted the key aspects required to achieve High Availability for Azure Web Apps, as well as requirement for scaling the environment.

Console Applications: Essentially, best practices for the optimal operation of background jobs being run as a console applications to be converted to Azure Web jobs, including the use of the Azure queue in this scenario.

Failover Strategy Enhancement: Recommendation document for failover strategy for Azure Web Applications and custom domain and https best practices.

Backup Best Practices:  Recommended enhancement to improve strategy for Microsoft SQL Server backups and Virtual Machine backups.

SQL VM to SQL PaaS: Best practice analysis based on a review for SQL server and SQL Azure DB differences that would help in decision making in SQL VM to SQL PaaS movement.

Additional Scope of Recommendations:

  • Best performance (IOPS, throughput) for SQL server on Azure VM.
  • High availability and DR solution for SQL server on Azure VM/SQL Azure DB (PaaS).
  • Architecture recommendations document for scaling SQL server on Azure VM/ SQL Azure DB (PaaS).
  • Best practices for basic monitoring for Azure VM’s.
  • Security implementation using Azure VNET for Web apps and SQL server on VM/ SQL Azure Db (PaaS)

Results & Benefits

Following an extensive review, The Henson Group delivered its recommendations, provided the Knowledge Transfer and documentation necessary to make the analysis actionable for automotiveMastermind to implement the best practices for the optimal performance of its Azure environment.

This documentation and Knowledge Transfer was especially critical to empower Automotive Mastermind to go at its own pace, staging the implementation in a manner that ensured it would not disrupt business operations.

To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft Azure deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call +1.800.980.1130.

About the Client MCAT has built business partnerships aimed at an organized statewide solution for administering industry-standard utilities for use with CAMA software. Those include Marshall and Swift, Apex Sketch, SPSS, NCSS, and ESRI-based GIS solutions. Some utilities are in-development, but all should be made available within the organization’s official CAMA solution, PUMA. In some cases, these solutions may be made available as separate components to existing CAMA systems. Business Situation To aide in its mission to provide the best available information at the best possible price, MCAT enlisted the help of Microsoft in developing a cloud based solution, based on Microsoft Azure technology.  Microsoft Azure is an expanding group of cloud based services that allow companies to work more efficiently while saving money. To implement this project, Microsoft chose Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience assisting companies configure Azure and other cloud services. Solution Henson Group worked with MCAT to develop a virtual network strategy with respect to existing and future servers.  In addition, Henson Group trained the client on Azure PowerShell and related concepts.  The solution entailed ExpressRoute, virtual networks, static VPNs, several VMs and PaaS services, redis cache, and blob storage. Objectives The priorities for this project were • Upgrading MCAT’s IT infrastructure to increase its security and stability. • To create an environment that would respond quickly and efficiently to future business growth. • Lower existing IT costs. • Complete knowledge transfer and documentation. Results and Benefits Henson Group worked closely with MCAT to develop a plan to migrate and update its system to the newest version of Microsoft Azure.  During the transition, Henson Group worked to transfer knowledge and practical skills to the client.  This transfer ensures MCAT is able to optimize the performance of its Microsoft Azure system. As part of the project, three servers were upgraded and the client is now using a more stable and secure IT environment.  With the transition complete, MCAT is now using a system that can grow with the company. MCAT is now experiencing an increase in infrastructure performance thanks to the upgrades Henson Group enacted.  With Microsoft Azure, servers are only used when they are needed. The migration to the Azure increased the security level of MCAT’s servers, applications, and infrastructure. MCAT also increased cost savings by 20% as they only pay for the services and servers they need. However, the client is able to increase their use of servers and applications as the business grows with speed and efficiency.  With per-minute billing and a price-match guarantee, MCAT is able to easily manage the costs associated with maintaining and operating its IT environment. Products • Microsoft Azure • Windows Server 2012 • ExpressRoute • Redis Cache • Blob Storage • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit • Microsoft System Center 2012 To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft Azure deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com.

About the Client
Based in Irvine, CA, ADC Technologies is an innovative provider of supply chain execution solutions to the mid-market using automated data collection technologies.

Business Situation
Technology is an important part of ADC Technologies operation and has been integrated into nearly every aspect of the business. The client began experiencing problems with connectivity and network downtime that its previous service provider could not solve. In addition, the technology needs of the company had increased substantially over the past few years, increasing the need for IT capacity and data storage. ADC Technologies sought a solution that would address its need for high availability and increased bandwidth.

ADC Technologies had IT infrastructure that was based on Microsoft technology, so the client asked Microsoft to recommend a cloud based solution that was based on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft Azure is a group of cloud services that help companies work faster, accomplish more, and save money.

To accomplish this task, Microsoft engaged the services of Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in solving the IT challenges of organizations like ADC Technologies.

Solution
ADC Technologies worked closely with The Henson Group to determine the best solution to these problems. After careful review, a decision was made to move the ADC Technologies infrastructure to Azure. This process would include:

  • Creating several virtual networks
  • Creating serval PaaS Azure SQL Databases
  • Creating multiple Web Servers in multiple Geos
  • Migrating a dozen Web Apps from on premise to Azure
  • Migrating databases from on premise SQL to Azure SQL

Objectives
The goals of this project were to provide ADC Technologies with an IT infrastructure that was would save money while increasing security and stability. To accomplish these aims, The Henson Group recommended the client move to an Azure solution.

Results & Benefits
The Henson Group designed, implemented, and migrated ADC Technologies current software to Microsoft’s Azure “cloud” services environment saving ADC $30,000 per year in TCO. The migration of the client’s software included moving the applications from the client’s old server to multiple Azure VMs, installation of the existing software, software upgrades, troubleshooting, general configuration, and support.

The Henson Group preserved the client’s internal domain and VPN connectivity, but provided secure (https) access to all applications.

Each Azure VM was sized to meet the specific application running on it. This was done with only minimal changes to the applications.

The project was completed with two months.

Benefits
Today, ADC Technologies is experiencing much better infrastructure performance with the Azure cloud solution. The client does not have to support or maintain hardware anymore as the modern hardware is maintained by Microsoft and kept up to date. The solution allows the VMs to grow as the business grows.

Thanks to the migration into Azure a much higher level of securing the servers and data of the company was achieved. Meanwhile, ADC Technologies now has its IT infrastructure accessible at 99.9 % without any investments into hardware.

In terms of cost efficiencies, the client shed its cumbersome managed services contract in favor of Azure’s pay-as-you-go services that it can now more efficiently and quickly scale up or down to match the growth demand for its business. Per-minute billing and a commitment to match competitor prices for popular infrastructure services like computers, storage and bandwidth mean ADC Technologies will consistently achieves cost-effective expense management of its infrastructure.

Server administration for the client was significantly simplified and became more effective. Only servers, which are necessary, are used, and that only in the time when it is necessary. Developers can install servers according to their need and requirements of their work.

Significant benefit of Microsoft Azure lies in the possibility of scaling operation. The solution enables flexible increase in IT server capacities. The original hardware limitations thus no longer exist. Improvements include:

  • Improved agility
  • Increased elasticity
  • Improved quality
  • Redundancy and resiliency
  • Risk reduction
  • Greater efficiency
  • $30,000/year cost savings

Products

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Azure SQL Database
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2
  • Windows Azure Pack for System Center

To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft Azure deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call +1-800-980-1130.

Based in Riverview, FL, BlueGrace Logistics is a technology, transportation and logistics company providing logistics technology and transportation management services. Priding itself on putting customer needs at the forefront of its business, BlueGrace fields a seasoned team of industry experts and best-in-class technology to drastically innovate and improve shipping processes. As such, BlueGrace invests in maintaining a state-of-the-art technology infrastructure to streamline and transform its customers’ logistics and shipping functions. BlueGrace’s environment is supported by Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed and Microsoft partner hosted datacenters. It provides both PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems. As part of its ongoing IT diligence, BlueGrace sought to adopt the latest Azure-related innovations, approaching Microsoft. Microsoft enlisted The Henson Group, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with extensive experience in Azure and a long history serving the IT needs of the shipping and logistics industry.   Solution BlueGrace sought to implement optimizations based on best practices related to a shortlist of powerful technologies. This included Azure Redis Cache, based on the popular open-source Redis cache. It gives you access to a secure, dedicated Redis cache, managed by Microsoft and accessible from any application within BlueGrace’s Azure environment. Henson Group also provided extensive guidance on implementing best practices for the Web Apps feature in Azure App Service, which would enable BlueGrace developers to rapidly build, deploy, and manage powerful websites and web apps. This includes building standards-based web apps and APIs using .NET, Node.js, PHP, Python, and Java. Part of BlueGrace’s mandate was leveraging the latest best practices and optimization methods for Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager, allowing BlueGrace to control the distribution of user traffic to specified endpoints, which can include Azure cloud services, websites, and other endpoints. Traffic Manager works by applying an intelligent policy engine to Domain Name System (DNS) queries for the domain names of your Internet resources. BlueGrace also requested optimization of the “Azure: Windows Azure Pack” featuring SQL Always on Availability Groups. This service supports SQL Server in high availability using AlwaysOn, so when a tenant in BlueGrace’s Azure environment uses the service, the database is automatically placed in an AlwaysOn Availability Group.   Results & Benefits The Henson Group helped BlueGrace implement best practices for the optimal performance of its Azure environment, including Azure Redis Cache, SQL Server Always On, and several other innovations. This included:

  • Comprehensive Azure Environment Review and provide knowledge transfer for maximizing performance and high availability
  • Guidance and recommendations for Azure Web apps and Traffic Manager best practices
  • Knowledge Transfer explaining and imparting Azure VM Disks best practices
  • Deep dive into SQL Server Always On on Azure VM best practices
  • Step by step guidance for automating UAT / QA environments using CD/CI of TFS 2013
  • Azure Redis Cache discussion and implementation guidance
  • Assessment study of application source code to identify and replace SQL server functionalities by Storage or Service Bus queues in worker role
  • Pilot run – Host sample application and capture and compare the Performance parameters using New Relic (or similar tool) and compare against Rackspace
  • Pilot run – Azure backup vault configuration for VM and restore across different region. Implementation details documentation if this approach suited for the current environment.

Today, BlueGraceis experiencing much better infrastructure performance with the Azure cloud solution. The project was completed within two months.   Products

  • Microsoft Azure Redis Cache
  • Azure Web apps and Traffic Manager
  • Azure: Windows Azure Pack” featuring SQL Always on Availability Groups.

To request a free consultation to learn how your organization can realize similar benefits and gains with Microsoft Azure deployment services provided by preferred Microsoft Gold Partner The Henson Group, please email Info@HensonGroup.com or call 1.800.980.1130.

Azure Redis Cache is a distributed, in-memory, managed cache that helps you build highly scalable and responsive applications, by providing you with fast access to your data. It’s based on the popular open source Redis Cache (http://redis.io/), and it gives you access to a secured, dedicated Redis cache that’s managed by Microsoft.

Benefits of Azure Redis Cache include:

•    High performance: Helps your application become more responsive, even as user load increases, and leverages the low-latency, high-throughput capabilities of the Redis engine. This separate distributed cache layer allows your data tier to scale independently for more efficient use of compute resources in your application layer.

•    Great features: Redis is an advanced key-value store, where keys can contain data structures. Redis supports a set of atomic operations on these data types, and it supports master/subordinate replication, with fast non-blocking first synchronization, auto-reconnection on net split, and more. Other features include transactions, Pub/Sub, Lua scripting, and keys with a limited time to live.

•    Easy to use and manage: Provision Redis cache using the Azure Preview portal. You can use Redis from most programming languages used today. Easily manage and monitor health and performance in the Azure Preview portal. Let Microsoft manage replication of the cache for increased availability.

For more information and a free consult, please contact Henson Group at http://www.thehensongroup.com/ or800-980-1130

Microsoft Introducing New Azure Portal :

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On Thursday at Build in San Francisco, we took an important step by unveiling a first-of-its kind cloud environment within Microsoft Azure that provides a fully integrated cloud experience – bringing together cross-platform technologies, services and tools that enable developers and businesses to innovate with enterprise-grade scalability at startup speed. Announced today, our new Microsoft Azure Preview Portalis an important step forward in delivering our promise of the cloud without complexity.

Complete Article Here :http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/archive/2014/04/03/microsoft-announces-new-cloud-experience-and-tools-to-deliver-the-cloud-without-complexity.aspx

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Whether you’re new to the Windows Azure platform or are already using it in your business, this book has something that should interest you. Most Windows Azure services are described in some detail, with screenshots used to demonstrate some of the multitude of capabilities of the platform. And for the experienced we have lots of under-the-hood insights and expert tips written by Microsoft insiders who develop, test, and use the Windows Azure platform.

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