|By Adam Hoffman||
|October 3, 2012 12:15 PM EDT||
I was meeting with a small company today that has developed a SaaS solution around task and project management. It's a very cool application, and as is the fashion these days, uses subdomains to determine the end user's company as requests come to the browser. So, if I were to sign up for the application, my home url would be http://adamhoffman.getdonedone.com, whereas if you signed up (and had the unlikely name of Bill Ion), your home page would be http://billion.getdonedone.com. This is handled in ASP.NET application code on their Win2K8 servers hosted at Rackspace. The question quickly became "hey, we can do something similar in Azure, right?"
The answer is yes, and no, and yes. Let me explain.
My instant assumption was "yes", and ultimately, it is true that you can accomplish this behavior. It does, however, require that wherever you host your DNS that points to your application supports the concept of "wildcard DNS records", and more specifically, supports "wildcard CNAMEs". As it turns out, Go Daddy's DNS services don't support this, so we'll have to look elsewhere to get this functionality.
The next question you might be asking yourself now is why do we care about wildcard CNAME versus just wildcard DNS? Specifically, the answer lies in the way that Azure provides you high reliability. As a very quick DNS primer, you need to understand the difference between A records and CNAME records. Go read the link if you want the details, but the short answer is "A records point to IP addresses, CNAME records are aliases of other domain name records. OK, but why does this matter?
Well, as it turns out, when you want to put your fancy brand on your Azure based website, you can only do that by way of a CNAME record. The reason that you can't use an A record to point to your site is that your site doesn't have an IP address. Well, it does, but it's not something that you can get access to, and even if you could, it's not persistent, and will likely change. In order to avoid this problem, what you get is really a domain name that is a part of "cloudapp.net". For example, the website that I'm about to demo for you that supports wildcard subdomains is addressable by way of "wildcardsubdomain.cloudapp.net", but not by IP address. Well, OK, yes, smarty pants. It is addressable by IP as well. For example, at this moment I can also get to the same site at http://220.127.116.11, but I shouldn't rely on it. Who knows - by the time you read this, it might not work at all. If you want to know how I figured that out, check out nslookup.
The reason that's all true is that Azure relies on CNAME so that it can switch your IP around, but keep your site addressable. Why does it do it? It's mad network stuff related to load balancers, and the Azure Fabric controller, and it's done to ensure that your site has the maximum stability and uptime.
Okay, back to the problem at hand - getting our dynamic subdomains passed through to our application code to allow for multitenant applications split by the third level domain. How will we handle it? Here we go.
- First, we'll find a DNS service that supports wildcard CNAMEs.
- Next we'll configure that DNS service to point to our application.
- Finally, we'll write the application code that understands the incoming requests so that we can fork our clients appropriately.
- After finally, we'll take a look at the URL Routing features of ASP.NET and see if we can extend our example to integrate nicely with it.
On the first count, it's not actually as straightforward as you might think. For example, I've used GoDaddy to procure several of my domains (yes, I am aware of the SOPA thing, and won't get political here). As the link here reveals, wildcard CNAMEs aren't an option in GoDaddy's DNS servers, so we'll need to look elsewhere. I won't attempt to put together an exhaustive list here, but one DNS service that does support this concept is Amazon's Route 53 DNS service. Another nice feature of this is that it has an API, which actually opens up another possibility if we so chose. Our solution here to route all subdomains to a single hosted web site. An alternative to our multi-tenant single application approach would be to actually specifically provision subdomains and point them to different hosted web sites. So, instead of
*.adamhoffman.net CNAME wildcardsubdomain.cloudapp.net (which has application code that sorts it out)
we could, instead go with
customer1.adamhoffman.net CNAME customer1.cloudapp.net (which is for the customer1 domain), and
customer2.adamhoffman.net CNAME customer2.cloudapp.net (which is for the customer2 domain), and
Yes, we could do that, and with the Route 53 API, we could even provision those new CNAME records as necessary. But that's not the route we're going to use. We'd like to use the former option, and have a single wildcard CNAME record that just routes everything to our super smart application.
OK, so next, we'll get ourselves an Amazon account to set up our DNS services on Route 53. Once you've signed up, create, in Amazon's terminology, a hosted zone for the domain that we'll support wildcards on. Of course, you need to own this domain.
Take a look now at the "delegation set" that Route 53 has assigned you. There are 4 DNS servers listed here, and these are the DNS servers that you need to tell your domain registrar about so that it makes sure that requests for your domain are handed off to these Route 53 DNS servers. In my case, my registrar for adamhoffman.net is Go Daddy, so I'll use the Go Daddy tools to point to these DNS servers.
With all of this done, there's only one final step. We need to tell the DNS servers that handle adamhoffman.net that the canonical name (CNAME) for *.adamhoffman.net is really wildcardsubdomain.cloudapp.net. Look at the CNAME record for *.adamhoffman.net in the following picture. That's the secret sauce.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Sep. 28, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,275
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Sep. 28, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,916
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Sep. 28, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,411
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
Sep. 28, 2016 01:57 PM EDT Reads: 151
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
Sep. 28, 2016 01:23 PM EDT Reads: 185
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
Sep. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 147
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
Sep. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,104
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Sep. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,546
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
Sep. 28, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,098
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
Sep. 28, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 4,110
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
Sep. 28, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,043
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Sep. 28, 2016 12:20 PM EDT Reads: 190
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Sep. 28, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,278
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Sep. 28, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,658
What are the new priorities for the connected business? First: businesses need to think differently about the types of connections they will need to make – these span well beyond the traditional app to app into more modern forms of integration including SaaS integrations, mobile integrations, APIs, device integration and Big Data integration. It’s important these are unified together vs. doing them all piecemeal. Second, these types of connections need to be simple to design, adapt and configure...
Sep. 28, 2016 11:49 AM EDT Reads: 276
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Sep. 28, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,093
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Sep. 28, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,090
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Sep. 28, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,858
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Sep. 28, 2016 11:21 AM EDT Reads: 185
If you had a chance to enter on the ground level of the largest e-commerce market in the world – would you? China is the world’s most populated country with the second largest economy and the world’s fastest growing market. It is estimated that by 2018 the Chinese market will be reaching over $30 billion in gaming revenue alone. Admittedly for a foreign company, doing business in China can be challenging. Often changing laws, administrative regulations and the often inscrutable Chinese Interne...
Sep. 28, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 380