What’s New in Windows Azure – Chicago Tour

On the evening of June 6th, Microsoft published the Meet Windows Azure Fact Sheet that provided a summary of new and improved Windows Azure capabilities. The following day, the new Windows Azure capabilities were made available at Meet Windows Azure led by Microsoft CVP, Scott Guthrie. And last week, many great Windows Azure technical sessions were delivered at TechEd North America 2012. If you missed all of those amazing opportunities to learn more about What’s New in Windows Azure, and you live in the Chicagoland area, you’re in luck.

Starting tomorrow, I will begin a tour of Chicago User Groups presenting “What’s New in Windows Azure”. In this “What’s New in Windows Azure” tour, I’ll present an overview of the improvements and new Windows Azure capabilities that were just announced. I will visit a number of Chicago groups both in the Western suburbs and in the Downtown Chicago Loop, so if you want to learn more about the new features and capabilities in Windows Azure, RSVP for one of the following Chicagoland events.

Chicago Windows Azure User Group
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 @ 5:30 PM
Microsoft Office – Downers Grove
3025 Highland Pkwy, Suite 300
Downers Grove, IL

Chicago Cloud Computing Meetup
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 @ 5:30 PM
Pariveda Solutions
550 West Washington Blvd, #410
Chicago, IL

Software Development Community
Sunday, July 1, 2012 @ 1:00 PM
Microsoft Store in Oakbrook Center
49 Oak Brook Center
Oak Brook, IL

Meet Windows Azure – Unveiling the Latest Platform

You might have heard about Windows Azure, you might even have a FREE Trial or MSDN Windows Azure Subscription, maybe you’re like me and you build apps with Windows Azure every day. But do you really know Windows Azure? Tune-in to the Meet Windows Azure live event and be among the first to get your hands on the preview bits and start building the next great cloud app.

This Thursday, June 7th at 1pm PDT (UTC-7), you’re invited to preview the latest from Windows Azure at a special online event streaming live from San Francisco called Meet Windows Azure. Meet Windows Azure brings together developers, technology leaders, entrepreneurs and social media technologists to talk about how Windows Azure is enabling great consumer experiences and powering a wave of startups and social campaigns.

Scott Guthrie (“the Gu”), Corporate Vice President of the Windows Azure Application Platform will introduce the latest in platform and language support, as well as show the increased flexibility for how you architect, build and deploy applications to the cloud.

You’ll also hear from tech leaders like Twilio co-founder & CEO, Jeff Lawson, about building highly scalable web applications that enable great developer and end-user experiences.

If you have questions about Windows Azure, Windows Azure technical experts including the Windows Azure engineering team and Windows Azure MVP’s will be available both in the event and via a Social Meetup on Twitter organized by Windows Azure MVP Magnus Mårtensson. Join the Twitter Social Meetup on Lanyard and tweet the #MeetAzure hashtag to ask questions and get answers.

Sign up today at MeetWindowsAzure.com and add June 7th at 1pm PDT (UTC-7) to your calendar.

Helpful Meet Windows Azure Links:

MEET Windows Azure Blog Relay:


Chicago Windows Azure Kick Start on May 3rd

I’ve been in Redmond all week hanging out with some awesome folks on the Microsoft campus. This evening, I will be heading back to Chicago to host a Windows Azure Kick Start. If you are new to the Cloud and Windows Azure, or would just like some time to get hands-on and create an app in Windows Azure, tomorrow’s Windows Azure Kick Start is for you. There are only 4 seats left and if you’d like to attend, you should register soon.

Register for the Windows Azure Kick Start

Tomorrow, May 3rd, you will get to spend the day with some of the nation’s leading cloud experts in learning how to build a web application that runs in Windows Azure. We will show you how to sign up for free time in the cloud, and how to build a typical web application using the same ASP.NET tools and techniques you already use today. We will explore web roles, cloud storage, SQL Azure, and common scenarios. We will save time for open Q&A, and even cover what should not be moved to cloud. This will be a hands-on event where you will need a laptop configured with the required pieces. We will have help onsite to get the right bits installed as well.

Lunch and prizes will be provided and you could get lucky and win a Kinect!

Microsoft – Chicago Office
200 E Randolph St
Chicago, Illinois 60601
9:00AM – 5:00PM

To make the best use of your time at the Windows Azure Kick Start Event, we recommend you prepare the following requirements before the event:

  • A computer or laptop: Operating Systems Supported: Windows 7 (Ultimate, Professional, and Enterprise Editions); Windows Server 2008; Windows Server 2008 R2; Windows Vista (Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise Editions) with either Service Pack 1 or Service Pack 2
  • Install the free Windows Azure SDK and required software using Web Platform Installer.
  • Setup a Free Windows Azure Platform Trial. If you have MSDN you should activate your MSDN Azure Benefits.
  • The sample code and handbook for the labs will be provided at the event.
  • Consider bringing a power strip or extension cord to stay charged all day.

Register for the Windows Azure Kick Start

Cloud Connect Follow-up

Thank you to all who attended my “Applications at Scale” session at Cloud Connect!

In the session, I introduced a number of application scalability concepts. Those concepts map really well to cloud computing and scalable public cloud platforms like Windows Azure. The following are links to additional resources on architecting and developing scalable applications. If you know of other great resources, feel free to comment and add them to the discussion on this post.

High Scalability web site
Eric Brewer’s Principles of Distributed Computing Keynote
Julian Browne’s article on Brewer’s CAP Theorem
Werner Vogels article on Eventual Consistentcy

If you need to build applications that can scale up or down on-demand, while serving users globally regardless of device or platform, Windows Azure is worth checking out. Here are some useful links to get you started.

First, you need the Windows Azure SDK and Tools to get started developing applications for Windows Azure. The SDK includes an emulator for Windows Azure compute and storage. This will enable you to develop on your machine without having to deploy to the cloud. This capability reduces your development time and cost associated with deploying to Windows Azure for development.
Azure SDK Download

At some point, you will want to deploy your application to the Windows Azure cloud and there are a couple of ways to get development time and resources for Windows Azure. If you are an MSDN subscriber, you can get up to $3,700 a year in free Windows Azure resources. For more information, check out MSDN Windows Azure Benefits. If you don’t have an MSDN subscription, you can get a free 90-day trial at FREE 90-day Windows Azure Trial.

The Windows Azure Training Kit is loaded with helpful presentations, demos and hands-on labs for working with Windows Azure.
Get the Windows Azure Training Kit

In addition, I’ve got lots of great resources and tips for you on developing for
Windows Azure. Visit my Toolbox page to find out more.
More Windows Azure Resources

If you’d like personalized, one-on-one guidance or consulting, Centare helps organizations move to and take advantage of the cloud. To learn more about Centare and how we help customers with software development and cloud computing. Check out Centare’s Cloud Services.

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