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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's experiments, little discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


HOW TO make an automated call to a web page with Windows Azure Scheduler

If you're looking for a way to trigger a maintenance task through a web page or track if your site is up (without relying on third party services like Pingdom), you can make use of the Windows Azure Cloud Service, Scheduler features (currently in Preview mode). For instance, this Generic Handler (.ASHX) to draw info from Yahoo Weather API & store the details in Windows Azure Table can be triggered by automated call to that page through Windows Azure Scheduler.

The Scheduler can be accessed via the Windows Azure Management Portal or programmatic-ally through the Scheduler REST API. Setting up an automated call is easiest via the Portal but it has limited functionality when compared to the API.
See more screenshots in the MSDN article
As Scheduler is currently a Preview Service, you have to first enable it before it shows up in the main page of the Portal along with the other Windows Azure Services.

Windows Azure Scheduler allows you to invoke actions—such as calling HTTP/S endpoints or posting a message to a storage queue—on any schedule. With Scheduler, you create jobs in the cloud that reliably call services both inside and outside of Azure and run those jobs on demand, on a regularly recurring schedule or designate them for a future date.

The default max jobs quota is 5 jobs in a free job collection and 50 jobs in a standard job collection. 

Commonly used Windows Azure Scheduler terms:

Cloud service - Conceptually, a cloud service represents an application. A subscription may have several cloud services.

Job collection - A job collection contains a group of jobs, and maintains settings, quotas and throttles that are shared by jobs within the collection. A job collection is created by a subscription owner, and groups jobs together based on usage or application boundaries. It’s constrained to one region. It also allows the enforcement of quotas to constrain the usage of all jobs in that collection; the quotas include MaxJobs and MaxRecurrence.

Job - A job defines a single recurrent action, with simple or complex strategies for execution. Actions may include HTTP requests or storage queue requests.

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