The two biggest challenges while connecting disparate applications are the traffic of messaging events and event timeouts. These challenges can be solved using the Azure Message Queue which enables applications to communicate synchronously by sending messages through a queue.
Although various organizations have their respective message queues, Microsoft Azure has a superior cloud-based messaging queue called Azure Message Queue, which facilitates easy and more reliable communication between applications.
In this blog post, we will learn about Microsoft Azure Message Queue in detail.
Table of Contents
Basic knowledge of Change Data Capture and Azure Message Queue.
What is Microsoft Azure?
In October 2008, Microsoft launched Azure — code-named Project Red Dog — at their Professional Developers Conference. In March of the following year, SQL Azure Relational Database, the first Azure-hosted service, was announced. However, in February 2010, it was formally released as Windows Azure. Four years later, in March 2014, it was again renamed, Microsoft Azure. Today, Azure is among the top computing services platforms.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform designed to build, test, deploy, and manage applications through Microsoft-managed data centers. The application offers three types of cloud services: Software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Azure also supports a wide range of frameworks, tools, and programming languages.
Types of Cloud Services Provided By Microsoft Azure
Software as a service (SaaS) enables users to connect and utilize cloud-based applications through the internet — this makes it easier to mobilize the workforce as users can access applications through connected systems. SaaS is a comprehensive software solution that users can purchase from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Platform as a service (PaaS) enables users to build cloud-based applications regardless of the complexity. PaaS provides all the skills required to support the entire web application lifecycle from development to deployment and managing applications. PaaS, like SaaS, is also available to users on a pay-as-you-go payment model.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) is a cloud computing service that provides on-demand computing, storage, and networking capabilities. It enables high-performance computing on computer clusters or supercomputers to solve complex problems. IaaS is very useful while handling unpredictable and gradually growing storage requirements by simplifying the planning and management of recovery systems. Moreover, it provides an infrastructure to support web applications, web servers, and all networking resources.
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What is Azure Queue Storage?
The Azure Queue Storage is a service for storing multiple copies of data. These copies are protected from any planned and unplanned events such as power outages or hardware failures. This is when the reduction of the Azure Storage ensures that the storage account meets its availability and durability even in the worst-case scenarios. Nevertheless, Microsoft always strives to ensure that the Azure services are always available even if any unplanned outages occur.
The queues can be addressed using the following URL format:
An Azure Storage Account contains all the Azure Storage data such as file shares, queues, tables, disks, and blobs. The account provides a unique namespace for the Azure Storage data. This data can be accessed from anywhere in the world through authenticated calls using HTTP or HTTPS. There are different types of storage accounts, including Standard general-purpose V2, Premium block blobs, Premium file shares, and Premium page blobs.
Each queue within the account has a unique name. The name of the queue must be a valid DNS name and unchangeable. Below are the rules to name a queue:
- A queue name must be between 3 to 63 characters long.
- All alphabets must be in lowercase.
- Start the name with an alphabet or a number and can only contain alphabets, numbers, and the hyphen.
- The first and last characters must be only alphanumeric.
A message in a queue can be up to 64 KB. For each message, users can set the maximum time-to-live by any positive number or -1. However, by default, the time to live for each message is about seven days.
What is Azure Message Queue?
Azure Message Queue is a set of messages that are sent and received in a queue from application to application. The queues stores messages until the receiving application is available to receive and process them.
The messages in the queues are ordered and time-stamped on arrival. It ensures that messages are delivered securely to other applications without worrying about consumer availability. Azure Message Queue also assists in balancing varying workloads, too, and can contain millions of messages.
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Azure Message Queue Services
Reliable interconnectivity between applications and components is possible using the Azure Message Queue. Connectivity is also possible, even if these applications are written in different languages and hosted in the same or multiple clouds or on-premises.
Azure provides the following three services to help with an event or message delivery:
Azure Event Grid
The Azure Event Grid service enables users to build applications with reactive programming and event-based architectures. This service also utilizes the publish-subscribe approach. In this approach, the publishers send out events without any event handling expectations, subscribers decide on which events to be handled. The events are distributed to the registered subscribers’ endpoints. Azure Event Grid, an Azure Message Queue service, allows the Event Grid to reliably and efficiently route events between Azure and non-Azure applications. Additionally, as the Event Grid is tightly integrated with Azure services, it minimizes event consumption by reducing the need for frequent pooling.
- Ops Automation
Azure Event Grid is an essential building block in the automation of cloud operations as it helps in expediting the automation. It also helps in simplifying the management of resources such as policy enforcement or tagging.
For instance, whenever a virtual machine or database in Azure SQL is created, the Event Grid is able to notify an Azure Automation account. Using these events, it is possible to automatically check if the service configurations are compliant, tag virtual machines, assign metadata into operation tools, or file work items.
- Serverless application
The publish-subscribe approach allows the Event Grid to build scalable serverless applications. For instance, Event Grid instantly triggers a serverless function that analyzes images when added to a blob storage container.
Azure Event Hubs
Azure Event Hubs, an Azure Message Queue service, is a fully managed Platform-as-a-Service, distributed data streaming platform. It is a real-time event ingestion service that enables the building of dynamic pipelines. It is also known as the big data streaming platform as it can stream millions of events per second. The Event Hub facilitates capturing data from multiple concurrent sources, storing this data, and replaying the events. The data that is sent to the Event Hub can be transformed and stored by using a real-time analytics provider.
With Event Hub, users can easily scale from streaming data in megabytes to terabytes while maintaining the hold over when and how much to scale. In addition, the Auto-inflate feature that the Event Hub provides allows users to scale the number of throughput units and adjust the throughput according to the users’ needs.
- Capture streaming events
The Event Hubs Capture enables users to automatically capture the streaming data in Azure blob storage or Azure data lake storage. It is the simplest to load streaming data into Azure, and it scales automatically with Event Hubs throughput units.
Azure Service Bus
Azure Service Bus, an Azure Message Queue service, is a cloud-based, fully managed, enterprise brokered messaging system. It provides a publish-subscribe approach and is used for decoupling the applications and services. The service bus stores the messages in a broker (for instance, in a queue) until the receiver is ready to accept them. This service is designed for applications that require message transactions, ordering, and duplication detection. Overall, it offers a reliable state transition management for cloud-native business applications.
- Message deferral
The deferral feature is specifically designed for workflow processing scenarios. Whenever a queue receives a message that it wants to handle but not instantly, it has the option of deferring the message. This message is placed on hold to execute later. This feature aids in reordering the messages from the arrival order into the processed order, leaving the messages safely in a message store.
- Duplication Detection
The duplication detection feature helps in identifying and removing duplicate messages. This feature enables the sender to resend the message and discard any duplicate messages/copies. Using the duplication detection features, users can keep track of all the messages sent into a queue during a specific window time.
Ever since its launch, Microsoft Azure has grown significantly over the years and has established its name as one of the top cloud computing platforms. Today, Azure is a widely used platform for hosting databases and applications in the cloud. Azure also provides reliable connectivity between discrete applications. This is possible with the Azure Message Queue which allows users to connect applications that are written in different languages and hosted on any platform. Besides, the Azure Message Queue provides different messaging services based on various client requirements.
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