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Azure Queues 101 - Basics of Queues with Mark Simms


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Azure expert Mark Simms starts at Step 0 with Azure Queues...what are they and why are they important in a distributed app?


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  • Sean FeldmanSean Feldman

    Scott, Mark,

    Thank you guys for bringing spot light on Azure Storage Queues. While this subject is not as popular as other aspects of Windows Azure, Storage Queues are extremely simple, yet even more powerful. When building a system with a reliable messaging, queuing is one of the best tools to utilize. We've been using MSMQ and Azure Storage Queues was a seamless transition with no productivity lost.

    The only down side I have found with Azure Storage Queues is lack of tooling outside of recent Visual Studio update - ProdOps tools. There's virtually no tool that would allow to work with Azure Storage queues the same simple way it was possible with MSMQ. Tools from 3rd parties (like QueueExplorer) never went to support Azure Storage Queues. Cloud Storage Studio (from Cerebrata) does the best so far, but is limited by Azure Storage Queues API that doesn't allow to pick for more than 32 messages, when in production systems usually have more than that (http://bit.ly/1iJmSvG). Hopefully this kind of limitations are addressed.

    Thank you again,

  • Hi Scott, Mark,

    Please consider adding a 5th session on this that covers recommendations on efficient ways to read from Azure queues. Some areas:-

    1. Polling vs Event driven??? Notification?

    SQL Service Broker will activate a Queue Reader when a message arrives. Ensuring all messages are processed with minimal latency. Is there something similar?

    Azure Queues only seem to offer polling, with some guidelines to poll less frequently if the queues are empty. The problem with that is massive latency in the off peak times, especially if the work needs to pass thru a number of queues before returning a result to the user.

    Another issue is cost. Each poll counts as a Azure Storage I/O. Multiple instances from multiple roles each polling multiple different queues, can rapidly turn into a noticeable cost. Even if minimal messages where actually processed for most of the night.

    (assume here that the queues are being used to distribute work (load balance) between multi-instance roles in an azure cloud solution. )

    2. If not events. Is it possible to do some "long polling" on the queues to achieve a similar effect?


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