Simple Lessons Learnt while playing with Azure Storage Types

I have been building an Windows Azure application in my spare time recently. During this process, I hit a few small hurdles. Fortunately, while attending the Brisbane BizSpark Startup Camp for Phone 7, also attending to help out the participants was Azure MVP Steve Nagy! Steve had a quick look through my app & very quickly helped resolve some of these issues – that now seem incredibly simple to me as well! I thought I would share them to perhaps save someone else the same trouble in future:

Lesson 1:

If you are going to attempt to use local development storage – ensure you have actually installed SQL 2005 or 2008 database! (You can download SQL 2008 R2 Express from here:  As the local Development creates a local copy of the storage objects in SQL for you. Graham Elliott gave me this great link on getting your local Development storage set up: (

(Of course once you have your Development storage set up, don’t forget to set your DataConnectionString Settings to UseDevelopmentStorage=true)


Lesson 2:

Ensure your Key Fields do not include any disallowed characters:

Characters Disallowed in Key Fields

The following characters are not allowed in values for the PartitionKey and RowKey properties:

  • The forward slash (/) character
  • The backslash (\) character
  • The number sign (#) character
  • The question mark (?) character


I had my RowKey as a http link – so as a work around, replaced any slash’s with a comma. Probably not the best solution long term, but it worked for my example.


Lesson 3:

Make sure your Queues meet the Queue Name Rules (mine had upper case letters!)

Queue Names

The queue name must be a valid DNS name, conforming to the following naming rules:

  1. A queue name must start with a letter or number, and may contain only letters, numbers, and the dash (-) character.
  2. The first and last letters in the queue name must be alphanumeric. The dash (-) character may not be the first or last letter.
  3. All letters in a queue name must be lowercase.
  4. A queue name must be from 3 through 63 characters long.


Once I had these three simple lessons addressed, the application kicked on fantastically!! Smile


So reminder on the simple hurdles I have learnt from:

1. If you want to use the local development storage, ensure you have installed & configured a local installation of SQL 2005 or 2008.

2. Make sure your Row Key & Partition Key in Azure Tables do not contain any restricted characters

3. Make sure your queue names meet the Queue Name rules!