Closer look at the Windows Azure CDN

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman

Slalom Consultant Joel Forman specializes in cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform.

The Windows Azure Content Delivery Network is one of the features of the Windows Azure Platform that can easily make a big difference to applications with global reach.  Understanding its value is easy….place your data closer to your end users.  The Windows Azure CDN caches your BLOB storage content (files, media, etc.) in data centers around the world to give your end users better performance when downloading.

One easy example of applications that can take advantage of this capability are those that offer video content.  Instead of storing videos in a single data center, which often took place in traditionally hosted applications, now you have the option of storing your data in Windows Azure Storage, and enable users to download those files through the CDN.

Another way developers can build better performing applications is to consider what other files needed by a client can be delivered via a CDN.  Files such as JavaScript files, stylesheets, images, and Silverlight .xap packages can be stored in the CDN and improve the performance of web applications.

Just where exactly is data being cached around the globe.  Microsoft now as 23 global CDN locations and counting.  Here is a list, sourced from this blog post


  • Ashburn, VA
  • Bay Area, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Newark, NJ
  • Seattle, WA


  • Amsterdam, NL
  • Dublin, IE
  • London, GB
  • Moscow, RU
  • Paris, FR
  • Stockholm, SE
  • Vienna, AT
  • Zurich, CH

Asia-Pacific/Rest of World

  • Hong Kong, HK
  • São Paulo, BR
  • Seoul, KR
  • Singapore, SG
  • Sydney, AU
  • Taipei, TW
  • Tokyo, JP

Microsoft’s Windows Azure CDN offering competes with Amazon’s CDN offering Amazon CloudFront, which distributes content from Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3).  Amazon CloudFront currently has 16 global locations.

For existing applications looking to migrate to the cloud, the Windows Azure CDN is definitely a place to start.  The migration steps are clear and easy, and the ROI in performance gains are measurable.

– Joel

Follow Joel on Twitter: @seattlejoel.

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About Joel Forman
Joel Forman is a Solution Architect at Slalom Consulting and specializes in cloud computing and the Windows Azure Platform.

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