Recap of Iowa User Group Tour

Last Monday morning, I had coffee in Wisconsin with my buddy, and our local Microsoft Web Evangelist, Clark Sell. Clark and I had a good chat, and then I got on the road and headed toward Cedar Rapids, IA. At some point early in this trip, I realized that the Oak Brook Microsoft Store was on my route. So once in Oak Brook, I made a quick detour to pre-order the new Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone and then got back on my original journey. Unfortunately, I saw this post over the weekend which basically says if you didn’t get in on the pre-order early like I did, you aren’t going to get in on the Lumia 900 pre-order.

After about 5 hours in the car, I arrived in Cedar Rapids at Kirkwood Community College where the Cedar Rapids .NET User Group meets. The CRineta group was very welcoming, hospitable and interactive. After the meeting, we went out to a local sports bar and continued the conversation. On Tuesday evening, I presented to the Dubuque .NET Users Group. dbqINETA is a small group, but like CRineta they are also a fun and interactive group. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit the Cedar Valley .NET Usergroup on Wednesday, but I hope to visit them sometime down the road. At both Iowa groups, I presented “Moving Web Apps to the Cloud”. During our time together, we walked through moving a traditional ASP.NET web application to Windows Azure. We worked through transitioning the typical on-premise dependencies like Windows Server, Active Directory and SQL Server to Windows Azure with new techniques and tools like Claims-based Identity, WIF, ADFS, Windows Azure Compute & Storage, and SQL Azure.

One interesting observation is that the overwhelming majority of the attendees had MSDN subscriptions, however, very few had a Windows Azure account. If you have an MSDN subscription and you are interested in developing apps in Windows Azure, MSDN provides you a great amount of Windows Azure resources as a benefit with your MSDN subscription. Every month you get a specified amount of Windows Azure resources, and it’s use it or lose it. So take advantage of your MSDN subscriptions and activate your Windows Azure account. In December, a new Windows Azure Spending Limit feature was released that makes it impossible to accidentally incur overage charges. The way it works is once you reach your allowed usage, instead of charging you for additional usage, Windows Azure will just turn off your service to prevent overage charges. This makes it completely risk free to try as a developer.

CRineta and dbqINETA, thank you for having me and I hope to see you again.

The following is a list of resources that were mentioned, as well as the presentation.

SQL Azure Migration Wizard

Patterns & Practices Windows Azure Guidance