This FAQ aims to provide answers to many of the recurring questions that developers ask on the Windows Azure MSDN forums. It will also act as a great resource for those who are learning Windows Azure and have questions about how to get started with Azure development.

As the Windows Azure technologies evolve rapidly, this article will be updated on a regular basis to keep pace with this evolution. There is a chance that some of the content may be out of date, feel free to make updates if this is the case.

Table of Contents

Learning Windows Azure

Do I need a Windows Azure Account to start learning Windows Azure?

No. The Windows Azure SDK includes a compute emulator and storage emulator that allow Azure projects to be tested locally. You can learn the basics of Azure development using the emulators without deploying your applications to Windows Azure. Other Azure services, such as Service Bus, Access Control Service, SQL Database and SQL Data Sync will require an Azure account to develop with.

Are there any Hands-on-Labs Available for Windows Azure?

The Windows Azure Training Kit provides a comprehensive set of labs and other resources. The hands-on-labs provide detailed walkthroughs covering a number of Windows Azure technologies.

The Windows Azure Training Kit is updated regularly. The August 2012 Refresh is free to download here.

Where can I get help if I hit problems or have questions?

The Azure related forums on MSDN are very active and you can often get a quick response for questions and issues. Please check the FAQ first before asking questions on the forums, you may find a detailed answer for what you are looking for.

Are there any good books available for Azure development?

As the Windows Azure technologies are evolving rapidly any books on Azure are likely to become outdated more so than books on traditional development technologies. There are, however, a good range of books available that cover the basics and more advanced topics on Windows Azure development.

  • Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook - Neil Mackenzie
  • Developing Cloud Applications with Windows Azure Storage - Paul Mehner
  • The Windows Azure Handbook, Volume 1: Planning & Strategy: Windows Azure for Business and Technical Decision Makers  - David Pallmann

There are also a number of free e-books covering Azure development.

Are there any community resources available?

The Windows Azure Survival Guide article provides lists of useful blogs, videos, user groups and other community resources.

Is this an official Windows Azure FAQ?

No. The official Windows Azure FAQ can be found here. This article aims to address many of the requiring questions that are posed by developers on the Windows Azure forum.