Trying Out the New Windows Azure Portal Support for Relay Services

Scott Guthrie announced a handful of changes to the Windows Azure Portal, and among them, was the long-awaited migration of Service Bus resources from the old-and-busted Silverlight Portal to the new HTML hotness portal. You’ll find some really nice additions to the Service Bus Queues and Topics. In addition to creating new queues/topics, you can also monitor them pretty well. You still can’t submit test messages (ala Amazon Web Services and their Management Portal), but it’s going in the right direction.

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One thing that caught my eye was the “Relays” portion of this. In the “add” wizard, you see that you can “quick create” a Service Bus relay.

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However, all this does is create the namespace, not a relay service itself, as can be confirmed by viewing the message on the Relays portion of the Portal.

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So, this portal is just for the *management* of relays. Fair enough. Let’s see what sort of management I get! I created a very simple REST service that listens to the Windows Azure Service Bus.  I pulled in the proper NuGet package so that I had all the Service Bus configuration values and assembly references. Then, I proceeded to configure this service using the webHttpRelayBinding.

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I started up the service and invoked it a few times. I was hoping that I’d see performance metrics like those found with Service Bus Queues/Topics.

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However, when I returned to the Windows Azure Portal, all I saw was the name of my Relay service and confirmation of a single listener. This is still an improvement from the old portal where you really couldn’t see what you had deployed. So, it’s progress!

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You can see the Service Bus load balancing feature represented here. I started up a second instance of my “hello service” listener and pumped through a few more messages. I could see that messages were being sent to either of my two listeners.

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Back in the Windows Azure Portal, I immediately saw that I now had two listeners.

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Good stuff. I’d still like to see monitoring/throughput information added here for the Relay services. But, this is still  more useful than the last version of the Portal. And for those looking to use Topics/Queues, this is a significant upgrade in overall user experience.

Author: Richard Seroter

Richard Seroter is Director of Outbound Product Management at Google Cloud, with a master’s degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado. He’s also an instructor at Pluralsight, the lead InfoQ.com editor for cloud computing, a frequent public speaker, the author of multiple books on software design and development, and a former 12-time Microsoft MVP for cloud. As Director of Outbound Product Management at Google Cloud, Richard leads a team focused on products and customer success for app modernization (e.g. Anthos). Richard maintains a regularly updated blog on topics of architecture and solution design and can be found on Twitter as @rseroter.

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