As mentioned in the preface, in order to better understand the key points of this book, we decided to translate them into practical situations, using scenarios taken from a fictional company named "Cloud Makers XYZ" (hereafter mentioned as just "CloudMakers" or "CM").
The entire book is divided into four main scenarios, which explore the company's assets in a step-by-step manner, focusing on how Microsoft Azure has been used to provide foundation services:
Scenario 1: Bootstrapping the company
Scenario 2: Building the e-commerce product
Scenario 3: Building the GeoProvider product
Scenario 4: Enhancing the company
These four scenarios have been conceived to create a coherent and straightforward path for readers who are already aware of the issues to be managed when dealing with software and services. Furthermore, it is useful in order to understand cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, while they are used in connection with existing processes and workflows instead of having them deployed as is with "Hello World" samples.
Real-world experiences are the inspiration behind providing the samples shown in the scenarios; the majority of the tips, procedures, and code samples come from real production environments.
As with many books claiming to represent a "best practice" or a "suggested usage" of a given service, this book does not have a complete understanding of what's going on in your specific company. We also know that each case is different and, finally, we strongly believe that architectures are not good or bad in an absolute sense and that they depend on specific use cases.
Han, the CEO (chief executive officer), has a strong management background. His top qualities are leadership and commitment. He deeply understands technical inputs from the CTO and translates them into opportunities for the market. However, he demonstrated almost no real knowledge of how to build software.
Luke, the CTO (chief technology officer), has a strong technical background. He prototypes new products, helps select candidate developers, and is responsible for the quality of the software produced by CM in general.
Leila, the CFO (chief financial officer) and main project manager, is responsible for the financial strategy of CM and is in charge of managing and monitoring the projects delivered by CM.
In addition to these three key people, who have been getting along for many years before founding CM, there are a couple of additional, IT-related people:
Owen, a senior IT professional, has a strong background in managing IT infrastructure. Before joining CM, he was responsible for the entire physical infrastructure of his old workplace.
Flint, a full-stack developer, has previous experience in a failed start-up. He has been hired to develop the main products with Luke and learn everything about cloud computing and Microsoft Azure from him.
CM has been founded with a very limited budget, and the board has taken the decision to minimize the IT investment in order to prioritize their marketing and advertisement efforts until they break even. Under this constraint, every initial investment should be evaluated and approved while pay-per-use services are welcomed.
Luke planned to build the new core infrastructure on Microsoft Azure, using the cloud to quickly deliver new services as well as the development environments required for the entire company and the technical team.
He planned to implement a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy to reduce the governance of physical assets; so, the employees are invited to use their personal laptops and mobile phones for the purpose of work while they're at home or in the office.
Luke's plan is to build a consistent development environment entirely on the cloud, where employees can connect through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to do their work (refer to the Setting up the development environment section).
Since the majority of the code is going to be written using Visual Studio and Luke has had strong experience in using Team Foundation Server (TFS) for Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), CM is going to use Visual Studio Online to store the company's code base as well as to help Leila keep track of the actual activities of the technical team (refer to the Implementing the development process section).
Since Luke is often out of the office due to several business events with Han and due to his participation in international meetings about start-ups and technical conferences and as a consequence of the ability of the entire staff to work from home, CM planned to introduce a way to let employees have a complete workplace even from their mobile devices: smartphones, tablets, and non-Windows PCs (refer to the Provisioning development environments for mobility section).
After a demand made by Owen, overwhelmed by growing requests from Flint to prepare a complex Test/Prod Deployment Environment, Han asks Luke to find an appropriate solution to simplify and automate the process of the creation and maintenance of these environments since they are used to provide clients with demo products. In addition, they should be online in minutes with minimal administrative effort (refer to the Automating repetitive operations section)
In Chapter 2, Enhancing the Hybrid Process, we'll learn how CM enhances the process it's just been created with by paying particular attention to security, disaster recovery, and the control of resources.