Thinking of Moving to the Cloud? Get Free Compute Time with Windows Azure

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

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp: Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto

windows phone 7 bootcamp

Want some hardcore training from a developer who’s been doing Windows Phone 7 development since the tools were released in March? Then you’ll want to check out DevTeach’s Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp, taking place late this summer in Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto.

The Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp is an intense two-day training session run by indie training conference organizers DevTeach and will be hosted by Colin Melia, principal architect for DreamDigital. Colin’s knows a lot about Silverlight and cloud technologies and will share this knowledge at the Bootcamp, showing you how to make great mobile user interfaces as well as how to write phone apps that harness the power of networked-based services such as notification and location services as well as data access and isolated storage.

save 100 with WP&BOOTCAMP codeWhat You’ll Need to Know

Colin’s going to dive right into the nitty-gritty of developing apps for Windows Phone 7, and there’s quite a bit of material to cover, so you should at least be familiar with the following to get the most out of the Bootcamp:

  • Visual Studio 2008 or 2010
    (You can familiarize yourself with these by downloading the free Visual C# 2010 Express or Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone)
  • The C# programming language, or something similar
    (If you’re a Java developer you should find the transition pretty easy; developers using other object-oriented programming languages shouldn’t have too much difficulty following C#)
  • The .NET programming framework
    (Actually, pretty easy to grasp, especially with the assistance of Visual Studio)
  • XML
    (A basic understanding will do)

What You Won’t Need to Know

You won’t need to have any experience with Silverlight or phone development – the Bootcamp’s covering that!

What You’ll Need to Bring

one laptop will do

You’ll need to bring your own laptop running Windows 7 or Vista SP2 with “an appropriate up-to-date set of tools installed and functioning”. That means Visual Studio 2010 or at least Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone.

When and Where?

The Windows Phone 7 Bootcamps will be limited to 25 seats in order for you to be able to interact better with Colin, so register as soon as you can! They’ll be taking place in these cities:

  • Montreal: Monday, August 23 and Tuesday, August 24 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel
  • Vancouver: Monday, August 30 and Tuesday, August 31 at the Sutton Place Hotel
  • Ottawa: Thursday, September 2 and Friday, September 3 at a location to be announced
  • Toronto: Tuesday, September 7 and Wednesday, September 8 at a location to be announced

The registration fee is CAD$999 for the two-day training session, and you can save $100 by providing the discount code WP7BOOTCAMP when you register.

For More Information

If you’d like to know more about the Windows Phone 7 Bootcamp, visit DevTeach’s site, and particularly their special page devoted to the Bootcamp.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Azure, as Explained by Christian Beauclair

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.


Windows Azure Training Videos

Windows Azure logoWindows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, and it’ll be going live very soon – expect to hear a number of announcements about it from next week’s Professional Developer Conference (PDC).

I’ll be posting articles showing you how to get into developing on Azure, but if you want to get a head start in the meantime, a good place to go is MSDev, Microsoft’s site that’s packed to the rafters with video training on all sorts of Microsoft platform development topics. There’s a series of training videos covering Azure development, including:

…and more videos are on the way.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


Old Man Yells at Cloud

I’m not surprised that the best image to accompany any commentary about Richard Stallman’s rant about cloud computing from The Simpsons. Mathew Ingram (who had the best article title on the topic) pointed to Enomaly CTO Reuven Cohen’s blog ElasticVapor, where this gem can be found:

Newspaper clipping from "The Simpsons": "Old Man Yells at Cloud", featuring photo of Grampa Simpson yelling at a cloud