Azure Blob Storage – connection string issue

More fun with the Azure API, this time with blob storage. Azure blob storage allows you to store large amounts of binary files or data, accessible (in full CRUD fashion) via a REST API along with some provided libraries for various languages, including .NET.

Microsoft provide an Azure storage emulator that runs locally on your development machine, and I had a bit of trouble connecting to it. The particular error I was getting was generated by this line of code:

var storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(storageConnectionString);

The error itself was:

"No valid combination of account information found."

It turned out that the connection string for my storage account was formatted incorrectly for local development, despite conflicting things I’d read online – all you need, in fact, is this!



Azure – some thoughts

I’ve been building a site recently using ASP.NET MVC. I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a proper play around with Windows Azure, which is Microsoft’s cloud service – as I haven’t used it for anything more than trivial demos and the like.

It’s been slightly more of a pain in the backside than I’d hoped – which I’ll explain in more detail in a subsequent post, as some of the problems I’ve encountered were not easy to solve using Google.

Here are some high-level thoughts, though:

– Azure doesn’t allow you to put a spending cap in place for ‘normal’ accounts. Only special accounts (such as the free credits you get with an MSDN subscription) have an automatic spending cap of zero, so that you can ensure you don’t go over your free credits. This is stupid, and rules out Azure for smaller websites / businesses. Any type of DOS attack or other types of non-legitimate / non-revenue generating traffic could end up with you footing a massive bill with little to no warning.

– You can deploy to Azure directly from Visual Studio 2013. It’s really easy to do and works quite nicely!

– Azure’s web interface is slightly over-complicated but it offers a lot of flexibility in terms of scaling / pricing.

– Multiple databases don’t transition that well from local development to Azure, unless you’ve got the appropriate incantations in place to make it work.