Whether you love or hate Windows Azure, please just tell us what you think!

It’s been a fun 24 hours. Last night we rolled out the Windows Azure 2010 Q1 Customer Satisfaction Survey to about 10% of all Windows Azure platform customers (who opted in to be contacted by Microsoft when they established their account). After confirming the survey mechanics were working properly this morning we sent out the survey to the remaining 90% of our customers. Windows Azure has been “live” now for just about a month and we’d like to establish an early baseline for customer satisfaction and then roll out a similar survey roughly each quarter. Of course, each time we do this we’re coming up with an action plan to go after those areas customers want to see improved.

It’s always a boost to hear from customers directly, whether they have good things or bad things to say - - we are learning what we are doing well and what we can do better in the future. Whenever we do this, I do wish the response was higher as I can tell you that every single response gets read and reviewed. Beyond that, my team is offering a call with every single customer that expresses dissatisfaction with Windows Azure as part of this Q1 survey - - some customers are taking me up on this option, others are choosing to just shoot me a mail or complete the survey and share their thoughts there. We don’t care which feedback option the customer chooses, we just want to hear it!

So if you received a mail from me in the past day or so, please do take the time to complete that survey - - I can assure you the Windows Azure Team is listening and responding. If you are a Windows Azure customer and did not receive an invite from me, please send a mail and I’ll send you a link.

The bottom line is if you love Windows Azure please tell us why. If you hate it or if it has really pissed you off like it has Charlie who I traded mails with earlier, please tell us that too.

Thanks in advance – Mike

| Mike Wickstrand | Senior Director, Product Planning | Windows Azure | Microsoft |
| Email:

| Share your ideas for Windows Azure: http://www.mygreatwindowsazureidea.com/ |

mikewic@microsoft.com | Twitter: @Wickstrand | Blog: blogs.msdn.com/wickstrand/ |

Comments (5)
  1. Hi Mike,

    I *love* Azure 🙂 But since you ask, last "patch Tuesday" turned up to a nightmare for my small Azure-hosted software delivery system: apparently some update failed and a back-end machine holding the configuration of my Azure SQL firewall was unreachable, so was my SQL database and my Azure control panel (see case "[REG:110050582362762] SQL Azure: SQL Azure is down"). It took 8 (eight) hours, a dozen emails and 3 phone calls to sort this out, during which my service was just throwing errors at me. I stood up all night, fulfilling orders by email, while discussing with the Azure Support team who asked me everything, including my own firewall configuration and wanted to walk me through an Azure Control Panel procedure that I could not possibly execute as said control panel was just reporting errors too. It took far too long before the problem was eventually escalated.

    Besides that, I'd love to see a small addition to the signed storage URL feature: I'd be able to add the client's IP address as part of the signed data, in addition to the time of validity. This enables a number of scenarios by letting us lock the URL to a particular client. In my scenario the delivery URL sent by email to the customer points to my Azure-hosted service, which meters and validate the download and, if access is granted, redirects the client to the payload through an HTTP 302 redirect, using a very short-lived signed storage URL pointing to the downloadable package. This works well, but I could lock it down much more tightly if I could include the client URL in the parameters, and if the storage system granted access only if the time is valid *and* the client IP matches the one passed on the URL parameters "under" the signature. Concretely, it means adding some "IpAddress" property to the  Microsoft.WindowsAzure.StorageClient.SharedAccessPolicy class, and of course the corresponding client IP validation on the storage side.

    Another wish is to support signed URLs on the CDN.

    My last one is to add support for SMTP in Azure Compute. Specifically, support the SmtpClient.DeliveryMethod = SmtpDeliveryMethod.PickupDirectoryFromIis mode, so our apps can always "send" email at any speed to the local pickup directory regardless of the "internet conditions", and the IIS SMTP service would relay those messages to the outside world. This can be re-done with an Azure Queue and a Worker Role that talks to an external SMTP relay, but IIS already does all this perfectly well, so why re-invent the wheel?

    I've already submitted those ideas to the Azure forum and the mygreatwindowsazureidea.com but I'm not sure it reaches the right people.

    Keep up the good work,



  2. David says:

    Hi Mike,

    i spend the last 2 days constantly to get my application migrated to cloud and here are the things that piss me off the most ( in order what is most annoying descending )

    1) Deployment loop!!! ( Intializing/Busy/Stopping )

    This black hole is the most frustrating thing and costed me so many hours of try-and-error… I've read through a lot of posts on several forums and apart from the high-price this is what pisses off people the most, by far… I guess this is also the reason why your drop-off rate must be extremely high on this azure thing, because nobody can get detailed errormsgs out of the system… Anyone how went through this can feel me pain…

    You really have sth. to do about that, i am begging you ^^


    – It would be enough ( for the first attempt ) if you just put a verbose logging-window what's going on behind the curtain during the automatic deployment, so that a developer like me has at least an idea where to look for an error…

    Or maybe a msg box that indicates WHY-THE-HELL the instance switched to status "Stopping"…

    This deployment loop try-n-error stuff is so 1990

    2) Deployment times

    Referencing to this article, i am very sad that i don't have a java application, because everything is so much easier with the google appengine… i'd adivise you guys to read it well, because mostly everything posted as a downside of azure i'd agree with..



    – All other things i experienced are not even near the "piss off" rate of the first 2… Please, make it easier i really want to use azure, but at this stage it's just impossible to do so

    3) …

    4) ..



  3. Nikunj says:

    I think Microsoft need to Re-do Azure.

    Please check how AppHarbor is implemented.

  4. Sneha says:

    Hi Mike,

    I have just started working on windows Azure, the deployment of java applications as simple as HelloWorld takes a lot of time. Even testing it on the emulator is slow. Please improve the deployment process of java applications.

  5. Andy says:

    "US judge ordered Microsoft to disclose the customer data stored abroad open "

    Question: Would you want to store your data in AZURE if Asia or Europe have access to your data?

    Why should we do?

    Microsoft will lose customers if they try to force the customers to use their cloud service .

    That could change everything and I hope you know that.

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