Building Planet-Scale .NET Apps with Azure Cosmos DB

Azure Cosmos DB is a fully managed distributed database that can be transparently replicated across regions while remaining highly performant and seamlessly scaling according to needs, making it great for applications of any scale.

"Azure Cosmos DB simplifies and expedites your application development by being the single database for your operational data needs, from geo-replicated distributed caching to backup to vector indexing and search," says Microsoft documentation. "It provides the data infrastructure for modern applications like AI, digital commerce, Internet of Things, and booking management. It can accommodate all your operational data models, including relational, document, vector, key-value, graph and table."

A Product Catalog with Azure Cosmos DB
[Click on image for larger view.] A Product Catalog with Azure Cosmos DB (source: Microsoft).

To help you do all that, Justine Cocchi, a senior program manager on the Azure Cosmos DB team at Microsoft, will be presenting a session at the Visual Studio Live! developer conference in August titled "Building Planet Scale .NET Apps with Azure Cosmos DB."

Taking place Aug. 7 at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Wash., her introductory/intermediate-level 75-minute session will provide an overview of Azure Cosmos DB and best practices for .NET developers.

"We will cover some best practices as well as troubleshooting tips using OpenTelemetry and Application Insights," she said, promising that in her session attendees will learn:

  • How Azure Cosmos DB scales
  • How to configure Azure Cosmos DB .NET applications for scale and performance
  • How to troubleshoot and monitor Azure Cosmos DB .NET applications

In this Q&A, Cocchi provides a preview of her session, discussing the importance of database choice, the significance of Azure Cosmos DB's global distribution features, and best practices for database modeling and query optimization. She also details the latest updates to the Azure Cosmos DB .NET SDK, and touches on the security measures that Azure Cosmos DB incorporates to ensure data integrity and security.

VisualStudioMagazine: What inspired you to present a session on this topic?
Cocchi: As a distributed database, scalability is at the heart of Azure Cosmos DB.

"It can be overwhelming to learn all of the concepts if you're just getting started."

Justine Cocchi, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft

However, it can be overwhelming to learn all of the concepts if you're just getting started. Choices about partitioning your data and global distribution effect your application, and I wanted to provide an overview as well as give some best practices for .NET developers.

Inside the Session

What: Building Planet Scale .NET Apps with Azure Cosmos DB

When: Aug. 7, 2024, 3:15 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Who: Justine Cocchi Senior Program Manager, Microsoft

Why: Learn how to build applications using the Azure Cosmos DB .NET SDK.

Find out more about Visual Studio Live! taking place Aug. 5-9 at Microsoft HQ, Redmond, Wash.

In the context of building planet-scale applications, how significant is the choice of database, and why is Azure Cosmos DB a preferred option?
Choosing a database that satisfies your needs is critical for any application. Whether you already have planet-scale or are just starting out, Azure Cosmos DB will grow with you as your application needs change. As a fully managed, distributed database with options for NoSQL, relational and vector data models, Azure Cosmos DB is a great choice for apps of any size.

Azure Cosmos DB's global distribution features are a key aspect of its architecture. Can you discuss how data is replicated across regions and the benefits this brings to .NET applications?
Scaling your database across regions allows you to achieve low latency even when application users are in different geographies. Global distribution is also key to achieving high availability if one region becomes unreachable. Azure Cosmos DB allows you to add or remove regions with either read-only or read-write capabilities at any time without requiring application changes. Data will be transparently replicated to all configured regions for you automatically according to the consistency model you choose.

For developers new to Azure Cosmos DB, can you provide one or two best practices for database modeling and query optimization?
One of the first decisions you have to make when setting up a new container in Azure Cosmos DB is your partition key. The partition key is what determines how your container scales, and choosing a good partition key can have big implications for application performance. It's ideal to choose a partition key that has a large number of values where the amount of data and number of requests are evenly distributed across values. Queries that contain the partition key are more efficient than queries without it, so you should pick a key that often occurs in your queries.

How do the latest updates to the Azure Cosmos DB .NET SDK enhance application development, particularly in terms of performance and usability?
We're always adding new features to the Azure Cosmos DB .NET SDK. One feature to highlight is OpenTelemetry integration, which allows you to collect traces from your application requests without needing to write any custom code. OpenTelemetry is easy to configure in the SDK, and will allow you to analyze latency and performance as well as gather diagnostics for slow or failed requests with the exporter of your choice.

While data security won't be featured in your talk, it's a paramount concern for developers and businesses alike. What measures does Azure Cosmos DB incorporate to ensure data integrity and security?
There are many important security Azure Cosmos DB features from network security with IP firewalls, configuring access from virtual networks and private endpoints to encryption and customer-managed keys. Azure Cosmos DB also supports passwordless authentication with managed identities.

For attendees looking to further their knowledge beyond this session, what resources or learning paths do you recommend?
There are many great training modules with exercises for hands-on learning. Follow this learning path to connect to Azure Cosmos DB with the .NET SDK, Connect to Azure Cosmos DB for NoSQL with the SDK - Training | Microsoft Learn, or learn more about all Cosmos DB concepts in the documentation Azure Cosmos DB | Microsoft Learn.

Note: Those wishing to attend the conference can save hundreds of dollars by registering early, according to the event's pricing page. "Register for VSLive! at Microsoft HQ by the Super Early Bird deadline of June 7 to save up to $400 and secure your seat for intensive developer training at Microsoft HQ in Redmond!" said the organizer of the developer conference, which is being presented by the parent company of Visual Studio Magazine.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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