Azure

AzureFest

by Joey deVilla on December 12, 2010

AzureFest attendees in Microsoft Canada's MPR room watch Cory Fowler and Barry Gervin at the front of the room.

AzureFest, the get-together where developers and aspiring developers learn how to use and deploy applications and databases to Azure, took place at Microsoft Canada headquarters in Mississauga on Saturday.

Cory Fowler stands beside the big screen in Microsoft Canada's MPR room

The event was held by our partners ObjectSharp and led by Cory Fowler, an Azure MVP. There was a morning sessions and an afternoon session, and my rough estimation of both events put the attendance at around 130 in total.

The AzureFest attendees, working away at their computers.

Each three-hour session consisted of a quick overview of the Azure platform, the distribution of all the necessary developer tools, signing up for an Azure account and using the prototyping-and-wallet-friendly Introductory Special and deploying that old ASP.NET MVC standby app NerdDinner and its associated database to the cloud. The three-hour format covered more practical ground than the typical one-hour conference session and gave Cory and the ObjectSharpies a chance to make themselves available for one-on-one assistance.

Cory taking the AzureFest attendees through one more example

In Case You Missed AzureFest…

If you couldn’t make it down to Mississauga to participate in AzureFest, you can still benefit from the AzureFest session. The ObjectSharpies are recording a version of Cory’s Azure deployment walkthrough and making it available online. Watch this blog for more details.

Try Azure and Get Some Money for Your User Group!

If you’re the member of a Canadian Microsoft User Group, you can help them make a quick $25 which they can use to fund their activities. All you have to do is:

  • Open an Azure account: either the introductory special offer or using the Azure benefit that comes with your MSDN subscription
  • Deploy an application – any application, including pre-written ones like NerdDinner – to Azure
  • Send an email to cdnazure@microsoft.com with the following:
    • A screenshot of your application running on Azure
    • The name of the user group to which you’d like to get $25
    • Feedback about your experience with Azure

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }

“Azure in Action” eBook for $15

by Joey deVilla on September 26, 2010

Cover of "Azure in Action"

For today only (September 26, 2010): Manning is selling the ebook version of Azure in Action for a mere US$15, which converts to CAD$15.36 as of this writing. The ebook is a MEAP book – that’s Manning Early Access Program – which means that it’s an in-progress book. Purchasers of MEAP books get updates and the final version as part of the deal.

To get the deal on Azure in Action, use the discount code dotd0926 in the Promotional Code box when checking out.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }

csharp in depth azure in action

For today only (that’s Sunday, August 15th), Manning is offering the pair of their books, C# in Depth, Second Edition and Azure in Action for the price of one! Just use the discount code dotd0815 in the Promotional Code box when you check out. You can order the final book in either dead-tree or PDF format.

Both these books are MEAP books – that’s short for Manning Early Access Program, a chance for you to get in-progress and final editions of books currently being written.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }

a special cloud offer

Windows Azure PlatformAre you a developer looking to launch your new web application? Or perhaps you’re an IT Pro or IT Architect trying to understand what all the fuss about “The Cloud” is. Or maybe you need for some compute time to run calculations. No matter who you are, or why you’re thinking about the cloud, Microsoft is making it easy for you try out our cloud offerings: Windows Azure (which runs your apps the in the cloud), SQL Azure (your database in the cloud) and AppFabric (which ties your on-premises and cloud systems together).

Check out the Azure Pricing Page and take a look at the introductory special, which lets you take Azure for a spin for a limited time – free of charge. Here’s what you get:

Included each month at no charge:

  • Windows Azure
    • 25 hours of a small compute instance
    • 500 MB of storage
    • 10,000 storage transactions
  • SQL Azure
    • 1 Web Edition database (available for first 3 months only)
  • AppFabric
    • 100,000 Access Control transactions
    • 2 Service Bus connections
  • Data Transfers (per region)
    • 500 MB in
    • 500 MB out

Any monthly usage in excess of the above amounts will be charged at the standard rates. This introductory special will end on October 31, 2010 and all usage will then be charged at the standard rates.

This special offer is available right now through October 31, 2010 and is limited to one per customer.  (You’ll probably want to look at the “full details and disclosure” page.)

If you’re in Canada and have questions about Windows Azure, my team and I are here to help and can answer your questions.  We’d also love to hear what sorts of projects you’re using Azure for. To reach us, drop us an email at cdnazure@microsoft.com.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }

Azure, as Explained by Christian Beauclair

by Joey deVilla on March 22, 2010

Christian Beauclair

My coworker Christian Beauclair, Senior Developer Evangelist, did an interview with IT in Canada about Azure, its parts and some development patterns for Azure that fit many business scenarios.

For those of you not familiar with Azure, it’s Microsoft’s cloud computing platform made up of three parts:

  • Windows Azure, the operating system in the cloud where your applications run
  • SQL Azure, the database engine in the cloud where your data lives, and
  • AppFabric, which connects cloud, hosted and on-premises services together.

As for the Azure development patterns that fit common business scenarios, they are:

  • Transparence: Simply moving applications and data from servers to the cloud. The benefits are cost savings, not having to manage servers, cost-effective scaling and opportunities to prototype without having to invest in additional hardware and software.
  • Scale-in multi-tenancy: On-the-fly scaling by creating new Azure instances when demand increases. It’s hard to predict what demand for an online service will be; this “just in time” approach does an end run around having to make such forecasts and purchases based on them.
  • Burst compute: This is scaling based on known peak periods, such as the Christmas rush for retailers or the Superbowl for pizza delivery. A cloud-based system like Azure lets you acquire more server capacity during those known peak periods and release them once the peak period is over.
  • Elastic storage: This is data scaling – you can use Azure to extend your storage instead of purchasing more on-premises disk arrays.
  • Inter-organization communication: Using Azure to host an API to connect to your company’s services or data (which may live in Azure, on some hosted system or on-premises). It’s a good way to provide services to the outside world while keeping your infrastructure manageable.

There’s more in the article, and even more in the interview, which you can either:

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }

Cloud Cover, Episode 3: Worker Role Endpoints

by Joey deVilla on March 6, 2010

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Don’t have Silverlight? Get it here or download the video in
MP4, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune format.

Here’s the episode 3 of Cloud Cover, the Channel 9 show where hosts Ryan Dunn and Steve Marx show you what’s in the Windows Azure cloud computing platform and how to get the most out of it.

In this episode:

  • How to host other web servers in Worker Roles
  • New tools for working with SQL Azure
  • Find out how to calculate the size of your database and objects in SQL Azure

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }

Get Microsoft Silverlight
Don’t have Silverlight? Get it here or download the video in
MP4, WMA, WMV, WMV (High) or Zune format.

Here’s the second episode of Cloud Cover, the Channel 9 show where hosts Ryan Dunn and Steve Marx show you what’s in the Windows Azure cloud computing platform and how to get the most out of it.

Steve’s off being a jet-set celebrity – what kind of excuse is “I’m off to Japan to shoot a commercial”, anyway? – so David Aiken, who also knows quite a bit about Azure, is filling in for him in this episode. Here’s what David and Steve cover:

  • They do a walkthrough of the RoleEntryPoint class and show you the hooks that you can use to build web and worker services,
  • Explain Azure’s billing model, and
  • Show you how to troubleshoot the Initializing-Busy-Stopping loop.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.

{ 0 comments }