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Microsoft Azure – a cloud computing service

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Microsoft Azure is a new cloud computing service for building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a network of Microsoft data centers.

Microsoft Azure offers a range of services including:


Storage Services provides access for storing and accessing data on the cloud. Table service lets programmes store organized text in collections. Blob service allows programmes to store text and data as blobs that can be accessed by a URL; pathQueue service lets programmes communicate by message using queues.

Data management

Azure Search provides text search and structured filters using REST or SDK APIs.StorSimple manages storage tasks between on-premises devices and cloud storage.SQL Database, formerly known as SQL Azure Database, works to create, scale and extend applications into the cloud using Microsoft SQL Server technology. It also integrates with Active Directory and Microsoft System Center and Hadoop.

Image result for microsoft azure


Azure Automation, provides a way for users to control the manual, long-running, error-prone, and frequently repeated tasks that are commonly performed in a cloud and enterprise environment. This saves time and increases the reliability of regular tasks and even schedules them to be automatically performed at regular times. You can use processes using runbooks or automate configuration management using Desired State Configuration


Event Hubs, which provide event and telemetry ingress to the cloud at massive scale, with low latency and high reliability. Queues, which allow one way communication.  An application would send the message to the service queue, and a receiver would read from the queue. Topics, which provide one-way communication using a subscriber pattern. Relays, which provide multiple direction communication. Unlike queues and topics, a relay doesn’t store in-flight messages in its own memory. Instead, it just passes them on to the destination

For more information visit our Azure Skills initiative page here -application.

Fast Lane have a number of training offerings and packages to help support developers and IT professionals on their journey to the cloud! We have FREE on-line Azure training to help develop core skills at your own pace, anytime, anywhere.

We also have a number of Microsoft On Demand Azure courses starting at £449 :

Fast Lane is also offering FREE exam vouchers with the above courses. Then we also have our Azure Expert Program designed for prospective cloud experts, that concludes with the globally recognized MCSE: Cloud Platform & Infrastructure certification within just a few weeks. When you become a certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Specialist, you will gain professional recognition for your expertise covering the full breadth of architecting, developing, and administering Azure solutions. The Azure Expert Package includes

  • 5 Microsoft e-learning titles
  • 3 Azure hands-on workshops
  • 3 original DMOC course kits
  • 3 x practice tests
  • 3 exam vouchers

Price: £4495 – A saving over over £1000!

For more information follow this url –

Should you require any information on training from Fast Lane, please contact us on :

Phone: 0845 470 1000
Fax: 0845 470 1001



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Just how Paranoid are you about your data?

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

When we deal with storage we do it on levels or paranoia

So how paranoid are you ?

Let’s start with the basics……..

We know that hard drives fail and therefore we use RAID to protect against that, but what else can I do to satisfy my varying levels of Paranoia

So protecting the drive is sorted but what if the shelf my disks reside in fails….what then, Well with Data ONTAP you have the option of using SyncMirror which will give Shelf level protection by replicating drives on one shelf to another shelf, so yes it requires double the storage but it will allow continuous access even if you have a shelf failure.

Ok so we have the drives covered, what about the controller (I want to eliminate any single point of failure). So our levels of Paranoia have risen another level. Don’t panic NetApp’s Primary offering is the ClusterMode solution. This allows multiple controllers to work together as a very robust, resilient beast that is designed to facilitate any failure and continue to run. Each node (controller) has a partner and they work together to accomplish the same goal and that High Availability pair with other pairs to give a solution that just keeps going.

That’s all well and good but what if my data centre has a significant failure that takes out my entire cluster..? well I see your level of paranoia has risen another level, but again have no fear you can replicate from one site to another asynchronously using SnapMirror and thereby giving you the option of a complete Disaster Recovery solution where in the event of a failure you can bring your remote site up relatively quickly with minimal data loss.

Well that sounds great but….(here we go, another level of paranoia) I need near zero down time and although disaster recovery is great my business needs full business continuance. NetApp have a solution for that using MetroCluster. MetroCluster is designed for just that, to keep you up and running no matter what and with full Synchronous replication up to 200km I think we have you covered. However, should you need more then you can combine MetroCluster with SnapMirror to extend your solution.

MetroCluster can:

  • Protect against hardware, network or site failure via transparent switchover.
  • Eliminate planned and unplanned downtime and change management.
  • Upgrade hardware and software without disrupting operations.
  • Deploy without complex scripting, application or OS dependencies.
  • Achieve continuous availability for VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and more.

MetroCluster software:

  • Protects against the major causes of downtime: power, cooling and network faults, as well as disasters affecting your site.
  • Combines array-based clustering with synchronous mirroring to deliver continuous availability and zero data loss.
  • Provides transparent recovery from failures.
  • Reduces administrative overhead and the risk of human error.
  • Needs only a single command for switchover.

So how Paranoid are you about your data……… doesn’t matter, NetApp has a solution to satisfy every level of paranoia.

Courses you might be interested in after reading this article:

For more courses please visit:

Pete Green
Fast Lane Lead NetApp Expert

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