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Maxim-5857 asked MayankBargali-MSFT edited

Azure Functions-like solution with ability to run Win32 desktop application

I'm trying to move some computations to Azure cloud services. One of the steps of the workflow I'm trying to implement includes running a Win32 desktop application generating a file. Obviously, we cannot have a user interaction for cloud calculations, so the application is launched with command line arguments. The process starts, generates a file, and then exists. At the moment I cannot refactor the code and move this functionality to command-line windowless utility.

First, I chose Azure Functions because they are intended for event-driven short calculations, and that's exactly what I need. Also they are cheap. But I encountered a problem that processes in Azure Functions are being executed inside a sandbox blocking User32/GDI32 system calls and thus preventing me from launching desktop applications.

Another solution I came up with is mounting a virtual machine drive with all needed Visual C++ redistributables installed and then using Azure Batch with nodes based on the pre-configured drive. But this solution has another drawbacks, since it takes minutes to mount a new node. Of course, I could have some nodes that are always active, but anyway the further scaling is slow and having active nodes is not so cheap. Also I have a feeling that Azure Batch is a bit overkill, because there is no need for HPC in my case. Azure Functions' computation capabilities are enough for me.

Is there some kind of compromise solution? So that I would have a solution with fast scaling and quick responses, but with no need to establish Azure Batch based on Azure Virtual Machines?

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