Thanks to hard work put in by the team consisting Citrus, Caloom and Aalto Global Impact people, we can finally present the first website running on top of The Ball – that is running on top of The Windows Azure.
The website in question is the site of Aalto Global Impact (www.aaltoglobalimpact.org), the partner with whom we designed and built the “Open Innovation Platform” – the first concrete instance of “The Ball”, that was released for general developer availability few weeks back.
The website is maintained with quite basic CMS back-end functionality. Part of it’s html is served as static content, that is background rendered (the single articles), part of it is dynamically browser-template rendered (the isotope/masonry tiles). This design is partially based on earlier generation html rendering support, but it serves its basis for making the request sizes of single articles to be just the display html size.
The details of the logical design and technical architecture is mostly covered in the MS TechDays Developer Availability Launch Post, but I find following details worth while to mention:
- Website is served directly from Azure blob storage; making it extremely scalable
- It’s running currently on top of 4 x extra small web roles and 2 x extra small workers (We’re experimenting whether its better to use small or extra small roles)
- The runtime environment is designed to serve and consolidate any number of websites
- The cost metrics (CPU, network, storage) can be measured accurately and costs can be assigned accurately per-site
The above factors mean, that the platform instance/runtime can consolidate any amount of websites in a controlled fashion. The “economy of scale” applies to this consolidation; single site traffic spikes make much less impact on the average.
In addition to traditional websites, the same applies to all “apps” and services described earlier. So in addition to cost-efficient consolidation, the upgrade path to large scale distributed system is a straightforward upgrade path of simply adding the functionality on top of the traditional website.
If the environment is controlled by the hosting party – and the platform is audited and controlled, the consolidation can be spread among various environments and various application providers, while the privacy guarantee holds.
Some of the things I listed here are still under construction, but the simple distributed architecture makes them relatively straightforward to design and implement. And in a manner, that competent architects have no problem to understand.
This brief announcement post became bit longer than I aimed it to be 🙂 For more details about the platform, the previos developer launch post serves better summary of what to look and where.
Kalle & The Ball / OIP team!