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A Wide Array of New Features in Windows Azure Tools 1.4

by Jenni Konrad on Aug 11, 2011 |

Microsoft has released Windows Azure Tools 1.4, an update to the Visual Studio extension that allows developers to create applications for Windows Azure. The major enhancements in this update are:

Support for Multiple Service Configurations

Developers can have a configuration file for testing locally, and another for deployment on Windows Azure. When the application is published, there is an option to select the appropriate service configuration.

Windows Azure Performance Profiling

These tools allow performance testing while an application is running on Windows Azure. There are four different profiling options:

  1. CPU Sampling: analyzes CPU utilization with little impact on the running application’s performance
  2. Instrumentation: times input/output operations and function calls
  3. .NET Memory Allocation: uses the sampling profiling method to analyze memory used by the .NET Framework itself
  4. Concurrency: tracks execution data to help find waiting threads in multi-threaded applications

Performance profiling is only supported in Visual Studio Ultimate and Premium.

MVC 3 Web Roles

In previous versions of the Azure Tools, developers had to add MVC 3 web roles manually. These templates are now provided by default, and they automatically add the required assemblies to a project. The ASP.Net Universal Providers, which add support for SQL Azure and SQL Compact, are also included.

Package Validation

Visual Studio now includes several additional warnings and error messages about potential problems with Azure applications, so that developers can resolve them earlier in the testing process.

Windows Azure Tools 1.4 can be downloaded via Microsoft Web Platform Installer.

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