Showing posts with label Azure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Azure. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Step-by-Step into your own private cloud, with the Windows Azure Pack and System Center

KeithMayer.com - Step-by-Step: Getting Started with On-demand Private Clouds using Windows Azure Pack

As I’ve been traveling and speaking to IT Pros about the great scalability, resiliency and offerings in our Microsoft Azure public cloud platform, there’s also been lots of interest around deploying our free Windows Azure Pack (WAP) to bring the power and consistency of the same self-service Azure portal user interface to on-demand Private Clouds provisioned in an on-premises datacenter.

image

In this article, we’ll step through the process of setting up Windows Azure Pack in a lab environment for provisioning and delegating VM private clouds. Along the way, I’ll call out the specific details that I found helpful to successfully build my own lab environment.

What is Windows Azure Pack?

For a technical overview of the Windows Azure Pack, check out this great Microsoft TechEd session:

In addition, Thomas Maurer, MVP for Cloud and Virtualization, has written a great article that describes the overall architecture of Windows Azure Pack:

What are we building?

Windows Azure Pack certainly has the ability to scale to support very large Private Cloud environments consisting of multiple datacenters.  However, in this article, we’ll get started by building a basic lab environment that consists of the following four (4) VMs:

  • System Center 2012 R2 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) management server VM
  • SQL Server 2012 database server VM
  • Service Provider Foundation (SPF) server VM
  • Windows Azure Pack (WAP) server VM

To configure all four (4) VMs in your lab environment, you’ll need a virtualization host with at least 16GB RAM and 300GB available disk space.

...

image ..."

You guys know how much I dig this idea, of having all that's good about Azure, inside my firewall, avoiding all the "security" and "OMG, the cloud? AAAHHHHhhhhhhh..." angst.

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Deploying your own little cloud... "Deploying Windows Azure Pack" series
Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack), Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles wiki round-up
Taking the Bus to the next stop... Why you, Dev and IT, should be looking at the Windows Azure Pack.
TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Is a Private Cloud that cloud that seems to hang over your head? Nope, it's [read this..]

simple talk - cloud - Private Cloud, What Is It and Why Do You Need It?

Private cloud’ is often presented as being the solution for all your computing issues. It promises benefits such as cost savings, energy savings, rapid deployment and customer empowerment. But what exactly is ‘private cloud’? Why are people reluctant to consider using private cloud? In this article I’d like to explain a bit more about private cloud, its definition and implementation, and the choices you have to make before adopting private cloud.

What exactly is cloud?

Before we can go into the technology, we have to take a closer look at the definition of cloud technology. A good place to start is the “National Institute of Standards and Technology” or NIST definition which states, "cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

...

Also listed in the NIST definition are four "deployment models", this defines how and where the cloud infrastructure is built:

  • Private Cloud – this is a cloud infrastructure dedicated for only one customer. A private cloud can be located in the customer’s own datacenter or computer room but it can also be hosted in a service provider’s datacenter. A private cloud can be managed by the customer, by the hosting provider or by a 3rd party. The customer however is responsible for all costs of the solution at all times.
  • Public cloud – this is a cloud infrastructure that’s available for everyone, regardless whether the customer is a consumer or a (large) company. Public cloud is available just like electricity from a wall outlet or water from a tap. Again Office 365 is a great example of a public cloud solution and so is the Microsoft Azure solution.
  • Community Cloud – this cloud infrastructure is shared amongst multiple organizations or consumers with a shared goal or interest. Managing a community cloud can be done by one of the organizations or outsourced to a 3rd party.
  • Hybrid Cloud – this cloud infrastructure is a combination of the three above mentioned cloud infrastructures. In Microsoft Office 365 for example it is possible to have multiple mailboxes stored in Microsoft’s datacenters, but have this combined with Exchange servers and thus mailboxes on-premises. Together this is one large, hybrid messaging system.

...

Private Cloud

Now that we’ve seen the official definition of cloud and in particular private cloud, it’s time to have a look at the implementation of a private cloud.

Private cloud is all about flexibility and this can be achieved by using virtualization, whether it be Microsoft’s Hyper-V (with all System Center solutions around it) or VMWare. But the realization of private cloud goes beyond virtualization. According to Gartner, a successful implementation of private cloud depends on:

...

What’s in it for the organization? ...

How is it implemented?

When looking at private cloud implementations there are two options:

  • The private cloud is implemented in the customer’s own datacenter;
  • The private cloud is implemented in the service provider’s datacenter.

...

Summary

Private cloud is characterized by flexibility, flexibility that is achieved by on-demand self-service, resource pooling and a measured service. This means that end users, which can be departments or business units, are responsible for their own computing resource needs rather than the IT departments. The IT department is responsible for the overall infrastructure but no longer for the individual resources. End users can create their own resources, have to pay for its usage and can destroy resources when no longer needed.

In a typical private cloud implementation, virtualization is used and, in a Microsoft environment, this is the Windows Azure Pack or WAP. WAP is a hosting solution that's targeted towards enterprises and service providers that want to offer private cloud solutions.

Using private cloud solutions gives you a tremendous amount of flexibility, both technically and financially since you monitor and charge the actual usage. This might well be the future of computing!

image

..."

You've heard me go on and on about "Private Clouds," but maybe you, or those in your IT group, aren't really sure what that means or how it helps them help you. This article is a nice starting point for that discussion. (This reminds me of the "What's Intra/Extra/Inter..." conversations, remember those? Oh, you kids... lol ;)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

24 cloud design patterns and 10 related guidance topics, one eBook - "Cloud Design Patterns" (PDF, ePub)

Microsoft Downloads - Cloud Design Patterns – Book Download

This guide contains twenty-four design patterns and ten related guidance topics that articulate the benefits of applying patterns by showing how each piece can fit into the big picture of cloud application architectures. It includes code samples and general advice on using each pattern. 

Version: 1.0

Date Published: 2/27/2014

CloudDesignPatternsBook-PDF.pdf, 5.8 MB
CloudDesignPatternsEPUBebook.epub, 3.4 MB

Containing twenty-four design patterns and ten related guidance topics, this guide articulates the benefit of applying patterns by showing how each piece can fit into the big picture of cloud application architectures. It also discusses the benefits and considerations for each pattern. Most of the patterns have code samples or snippets that show how to implement the patterns using the features of Windows Azure. However the majority of topics described in this guide are equally relevant to all kinds of distributed systems, whether hosted on Windows Azure or on other cloud platforms.

...

Related Resources

..."

Some snaps from the PDF;

[sigh... snaps removed because it seems Blogger doesn't like my posts with images today (getting a real helpful 500 error when an post has any image in it)... sigh]

Preface

This guide from the Microsoft patterns & practices group, produced with the help of many people within the developer community, provides solutions for common problems encountered when developing cloud-hosted applications.

The guide:
• Articulates the benefit of applying patterns when implementing cloud applications, especially when they will be hosted in Windows Azure.
• Discusses the problems that the patterns address, and how these relate to Windows Azure applications.
• Shows how to implement the patterns using the features of Windows Azure, emphasizing benefits and considerations.
• Depicts the big picture by showing how these patterns fit into cloud application architectures, and how they relate to other patterns.

The majority of topics described in the guide are equally relevant to all kinds of distributed systems, whether hosted on Windows Azure or on other cloud platforms.

Our intention is not to provide a comprehensive collection of patterns. Instead, we chose what we think are useful patterns for cloud applications—taking into account the popularity of each one amongst users. Neither is this a detailed guide to the features of Windows Azure. To learn about Windows Azure see http://windowsazure.com.

[Insert my usual, "Don't reinvent the wheel if you don't have to" blurb here...especially when there's free resources available ]

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Cloud Design Patterns (24 design patterns, two primers, eight guidance topics and 10 sample applications)
Windows Azure Guidance - Cloud Design Patterns Alpha drop...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Deploying your own little cloud... "Deploying Windows Azure Pack" series

Windows Networking - Deploying Windows Azure Pack - Part 1

The first article in this series provides an overview of the capabilities and benefits of deploying Windows Azure Pack in enterprise datacenters.

If you would like to be notified when Mitch Tulloch releases the next part of this article series please sign up to the WindowsNetworking.com Real time article update newsletter.

Introduction

Cloud computing is making big inroads into companies today. Smaller businesses are taking advantage of Microsoft cloud services like Windows Azure, Windows Intune and Office 365 to migrate their line-of-business applications and services to the cloud instead of hosting them on-premises. The reasons for doing this include greater scalability, improved agility, and cost savings.

Large enterprises tend to be more conservative with regards to new technologies mainly because of the high costs involved in widespread rollout of new service models and integrating them with existing the organization's datacenter infrastructure. Windows Azure Pack is designed to help large enterprises overcome these obstacles by providing a straightforward path for implementing hybrid solutions that embraces both the modern datacenter and cloud hosting providers.

What is Windows Azure Pack?

To understand what Windows Azure Pack is, you first need to be familiar with Windows Azure, Microsoft's public cloud platform. To understand what Windows Azure is all about, here are some brief excerpts from my recent book Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals: Technical Overview from Microsoft Press:

As a cloud platform from Microsoft that provides a wide range of different services, Windows Azure lets you build, deploy, and manage solutions for almost any purpose you can imagine. In other words, Windows Azure is a world of unlimited possibilities. Whether you're a large enterprise spanning several continents that needs to run server workloads, or a small business that wants a website that has a global presence, Windows Azure can provide a platform for building applications that can leverage the cloud to meet the needs of your business...

Let's look at the definition that Microsoft uses for describing Windows Azure:

Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy, and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. You can build applications using any language, tool, or framework. And you can integrate your public cloud applications with your existing IT environment.

This definition tells us that Windows Azure is a cloud platform, which means you can use it for running your business applications, services, and workloads in the cloud. But it also includes some key words that tell us even more:

  • Open - Windows Azure provides a set of cloud services that allow you to build and deploy cloud-based applications using almost any programming language, framework, or tool.
  • Flexible - Windows Azure provides a wide range of cloud services that can let you do everything from hosting your company's website to running big SQL databases in the cloud. It also includes different features that can help deliver high performance and low latency for cloud-based applications.
  • Microsoft-managed - Windows Azure services are currently hosted in several datacenters spread across the United States, Europe, and Asia. These datacenters are managed by Microsoft and provide expert global support on a 24x7x365 basis.
  • Compatible - Cloud applications running on Windows Azure can easily be integrated with on-premises IT environments that utilize the Microsoft Windows Server platform.

...

image

...

Windows Azure Pack vs. Windows Azure

Let's review the definition that Microsoft uses for describing Windows Azure:

..."

You all know I'm a fan of this... There are just to many businesses, and business people, who freak at the thought of their, or their client's, data being "in the cloud." The Windows Azure Pack seems to be a great middle ground, letting us have the good that is "the cloud" inside our own data centers...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack), Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles wiki round-up
Taking the Bus to the next stop... Why you, Dev and IT, should be looking at the Windows Azure Pack.
TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Windows Azure (and cloud services) Symbol and Icon Set (Visio, PPT, PNG)

Microsoft Downloads - Windows Azure Symbol/Icon Set

This package contains a set of symbols/icons to visually represent features of and systems that use Windows Azure and related technologies. The symbols are in Microsoft Visio, Microsoft PowerPoint and Portable Network Graphics (PNG) formats.

Version: 1.04

Date Published: 2/18/2014

Windows Azure Symbols ALL v1.04.zip, 3.1 MB

This package contains a set of symbols/icons to help you create visual representations of systems that use Windows Azure and related technologies. Feel free to use the symbols in your architectural diagrams and training docs.

Snap of the zip;

image

Here are the PNG's;

imageimageimage

You had me at "visual studio"... :)

The number of different tech items are pretty cool too. From MySQL, BitBucket, GIT and more.

Related Past Post XRef:
Icons/symbols to draw pretty Azure design diagrams...

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack), Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles wiki round-up

Windows Azure Pack (#WAPack) and Related Blogs, Videos and TechNet Articles

Table of Contents

Hi Windows Azure Pack fans!

Marc van Eijk en I have had some hands-on at Windows Azure Pack (formerly known as Windows Azure Services for Windows Server). There is a lot of info out there, but very scattered. Hopefully we can keep this WAP Wiki updated every now and then. Feel free to add to this Wiki!

...

SNAGHTML1f3c5680

imageimageimageimage

(via NY Metro Core Infrastructure Team - Windows Azure Pack (WAP) Resources)

Now THAT'S a round-up of WAP resources!

What is WAP (Windows Azure Pack)?

Windows Azure Pack

The Windows Azure Pack delivers Windows Azure technologies for you to run inside your datacenter. Offer rich, self-service, multi-tenant services and experiences that are consistent with Microsoft’s public cloud offering.

Windows Azure-consistent experiences and services in your datacenter

The Windows Azure Pack is a collection of Windows Azure technologies available to Microsoft customers at no additional cost. Once installed in your datacenter, the Windows Azure Pack integrates with System Center and Windows Server to help provide a self-service portal for managing services such as websites, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus; a portal for administrators to manage resource clouds; scalable web hosting; and more.

Download the Windows Azure Pack White Paper

Download the Windows Azure Pack Datasheet

Related Past Post XRef:
Taking the Bus to the next stop... Why you, Dev and IT, should be looking at the Windows Azure Pack.
TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cloud Design Patterns (24 design patterns, two primers, eight guidance topics and 10 sample applications)

Dan on eScience & Technical Computing @ Microsoft - Cloud Design Patterns now available

Great news for folks looking for guidance on developing apps for the Azure Cloud – take a look at the Cloud Design Patters – it includes the following
  • Twenty four design patterns that are useful in cloud-hosted applications. Each pattern is provided in a common format that describes the context and problem, the solution, issues and considerations for applying the pattern, and an example based on Windows Azure. Each pattern also includes links to other related patterns.
  • Two primers and eight guidance topics that provide basic knowledge and describe good practice techniques for developing cloud-hosted applications. The format of each primer and guidance topic is designed to present this information in a relevant and informative way.
  • Ten sample applications that demonstrate the usage of the design patterns described in this guide. You can use and adapt the source code to suit your own specific requirements.

...

Cloud Design Patterns

This guide from the Microsoft patterns & practices group, produced with the help of many people within the developer community, provides solutions for common problems encountered when developing cloud-hosted applications.

The guide:

  • Articulates the benefit of applying patterns when implementing cloud applications, especially when they will be hosted in Windows Azure.
  • Discusses the problems that the patterns address, and how these relate to Windows Azure applications.
  • Shows how to implement the patterns using the features of Windows Azure, emphasizing benefits and considerations.
  • Depicts the big picture by showing how these patterns fit into cloud application architectures, and how they relate to other patterns.

The majority of topics described in the guide are equally relevant to all kinds of distributed systems, whether hosted on Windows Azure or on other cloud platforms.

image

SNAGHTML49199975image

Cloud Design Patterns – Sample Code

The example applications for use in conjunction with the Cloud Design Pattern guide. It consists of 10 samples to show how to implement design patterns using the features of Windows Azure.

Version: 1

Date Published: 1/27/2014

Cloud Design Patterns Examples.zip, 1.9 MB

The example applications for use in conjunction with Cloud Design Pattern guide. It consists of 10 samples to show how to implement design patterns using the features of Windows Azure.
See the Readme for information about the sample code. Each sample has a corresponding readme for information about how to run the sample.

Note: The samples are simplified to focus on and demonstrate the essential features of each pattern. They are not designed to be used in production scenarios.

I've said this before and I'm sure I'll say it many times again, I really need that UTB (USB To Brain) Interface installed... ;)

Friday, January 17, 2014

WAMS WPF QS (Window Azure Mobile Services Windows Presentation Foundation Quick Start]

Microsoft Developer Network - Samples - Azure Mobile Services Quickstart for WPF

One of the great features in my opinion of Azure Mobile Services is the “quickstart” app – a ready-to-use, fully-functional application which you can get from the portal in many of the supported platforms, and start running right away. I find it to be a great way to learn about the service and the client SDK for the selected platform.

In the portal one can download a QuickStart app for the most used platforms. But every once in a while someone asks about another platform which is not in the list. Since not all platforms will make its way to the portal (unless there is strong demand for that), I’ll try to answer that question, specifically about WPF, with this post.

Creating the QuickStart app for WPF isn’t too hard – after all, the NuGet package with the client SDK for Azure Mobile Services actually supports WPF apps as well (as long as they target the .NET Framework 4.5). It has most of the functionality as the more prominent platforms, with the notable exception of the lack of the UI-based login feature (which can be implemented as an extension, as I’ve shown in another post). So, without further ado, here are the steps I took to create the app.

If you just want to get the app, download from this sample and replace in the file App.xaml.cs the URL and key for your mobile service.

Create a new WPF project

...

At this point (after replacing the service name and key with the actual values) you should be able to build and run the app.

That's it. Those are the steps to convert the Windows Store QuickStart into a WPF one. But if you just want the code, feel free to download it from this sample.

image..."

It's easier for me, and most people I'm sure, to learn if I can focus on one area at a time. WAMS demo's are usually also mixed in with other tech, all that's pretty new for me. This quick start lets me focus on that one thing, learning WAMS, without distracting me with mobile or WinStore dev. Nice...

Make sure you check out the original blog about for this, Carlos Figueira MSDN blog - Azure Mobile Services QuickStart for WPF

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Enterprise DevCamps Training Kit" - 85MB, Five modules, code and decks for the LOB Dev

Microsoft Downloads - Enterprise DevCamps Training Kit

The Enterprise DevCamps Training Kit shows enterprise developers how to modernize existing .NET client line of business apps to target back-end services running on Windows Azure.

Version: 1.0.0

Date Published: 1/16/2014

EnterpriseDevCampTK.exe, 114 KB [Kind of, more like 85MB]

This training kit shows how to modernize your existing .NET client line of business (LOB) applications for multiple devices. You will learn how to move .NET client LOB applications forward without having to start from scratch with new technologies. You will learn about Microsoft’s devices and services strategy, what it means for you and how your existing applications fit in. You will review best practices for using a services architecture. You will see how and why to move your LOB applications to Windows Azure, how to use 3rd party controls to add a modern look and feel and how to provide your users the ability to use LOB apps on a variety of devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone. And you will do all of this using Visual Studio 2013 and your existing XAML skills!

...

The Content is installed into the C:\EnterpriseDevCamp\ folder, where C: is the home drive for your Windows Installation.  ..."

The file size is a little misleading as it's just a WPI (Web Platform Installer] shortcut.

image

image

And note the install folder in bold above, C:\EnterpriseDevCamp\. This is buried in the download "Supported Systems" note.

image Don't know why I couldn't find it at first... :/

So what's in it?

image

By size, PowerPoint... Yet, in some of the modules there are some nice labs and code...

image

If you're a LOB Dev, it's a pretty quick download...

Thursday, January 09, 2014

24! [Hands-on-Labs and Demo Scripts now available in the big BK Visual Studio 2013 ALM VM] + [Bonus: Azure'ing it too...]

Brian Keller - Visual Studio 2010/2012 Hands-On-Labs / Demo Scripts Upgraded to 2013

The Visual Studio 2013 ALM Virtual Machine was upgraded today to include the sample content and hands-on-labs / demo scripts which were previously introduced for Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 capabilities. This brings the total number of hands-on-labs and demo scripts which work with this VM to 24.

We also used this opportunity to address some fit-and-finish feedback we received on the initial release of the 2013 ALM VM, so it should be a nice improvement all around. As a reminder you can find the full list of ALM virtual machines here.

Brian Keller - Visual Studio 2013 Application Lifecycle Management Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs / Demo Scripts

Updated January 9, 2014: The VM was upgraded to include all applicable Visual Studio 2010 and 2012 hands-on-labs / demo scripts. This brings the total number of hands-on-labs / demo scripts you can run with this virtual machine to 24.

...

The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is available for download along with 24 hands-on-labs / demo scripts which introduce you to many of the ALM capabilities which have been included in this release.

You can download and install Visual Studio 2013 (including Team Foundation Server 2013, .NET Framework 4.5.1, etc.). But if you would like a faster way to understand what is new for application lifecycle management in this release, this virtual machine is pre-configured with all of the necessary software and sample data for you.

...

Labs upgraded from Visual Studio 2010/2012: NEW

...

image

Hosting the VS 2013 ALM VM in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine

I am recommending the use of a Windows Azure Virtual Network for this exercise so the virtual machine does not have any ports open to the internet (public facing).  If you have any questions, comments or concerns regarding the steps in the article feel free to leave a comment.

Steps we’ll be performing in this article:

  • Download the VS 2013 ALM Virtual Machine (.rar)
  • Extract the files for the VS 2013 ALM Virtual Machine
  • Download and install the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets
  • Create a Windows Azure Storage Container
  • Create a Windows Azure Virtual Network with Point-to-Site Connectivity
  • Upload the .VHD to Azure Storage
  • Configure a disk  so the .VHD can be used by a Virtual Machine
  • Create and configure the Virtual Machine
  • Complete the configuration of the Virtual Network and connect to the VPN

First you should head over to Brian Keller’s great blog post and follow the instructions to get the files.  If you don’t have a fast and reliable internet connection you may want to wait and build a 2nd virtual machine on the virtual network that I am configuring as part of this post to download the files and upload the .vhd to your Azure storage.  I tried it this past weekend on my internet service (provided by cable) and the upload took just over 17 hours, if you do this from within a Virtual Machine in Azure the entire process (calculate MD5 Hash and Upload) takes about 2.5 hours.

...

The only way this might be better is if this VM were in the Azure Gallery, but until then, this is one of the coolest ways to check out all that is VS 2013, with sample data, demos, labs, etc. If you're a trainer, presenter or just want to see just about everything that is TFS ALM, this VM is a must download...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Happy VM Day! The Visual Studio 2013 RTM ALM Virtual Machine is now available
The HOL "Building a Release Pipeline with Team Foundation Server 2012" thing
Featuring Agile Planning and Portfolio Management with TFS2013 in these Hands On Labs
Visual Studio 2013 ALM and HOL VM now available...
VS2012 Update 1 ALM VM and HOL / Demo Scripts now available
The VS 2012 ALM Virtual Machine and VS 2012 Update 1 (In short, there's an updated VM coming, don't install it on this VM if you don't have too)
The big BK has updated the Visual Studio 2012 RC ALM Virtual Machine and Hands-on-Labs
VS 11 ALM DemoMates updated for the Beta
Visual Studio/TFS11 ALM Demo's... Mate! See the VS/TFS 11 ALM's hands-on-labs in DemoMate form
Visual Studio 11 ALM VHD's, VirtualBoxed (and even on x86 hosts too)
Want to play with Visual Studio 11 & TFS 11 Dev Preview but don't want to install it (and have access to a Hyper-V server)? Here's a VHD just for

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

"Building Real-World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure" code and eBook

Fix It app for Building Real World Cloud Apps e-book [Code]

This is a Visual Studio project that accompanies the e-book Building Real-World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure. The code demonstrates best practices for cloud apps as presented in the e-book, such as:

  • Storing automation scripts with code in source control
  • Using automation scripts for environment creation and deployment
  • Asynchronous programming
  • Dependency injection
  • Data partitioning
  • Blob storage
  • Transient fault handling
  • Instrumentation
  • Queue-centric work pattern

Building the Sample

There are two versions of the app you can run:

  • The base version is designed to run in a Windows Azure Web Site.
  • The queues version has a front-end web site and a back-end service. The front-end communicates with the back-end via Windows Azure Storage Queues. The front-end is designed to run in a Windows Azure Web Site, the back-end is designed to run in a Windows Azure Cloud Service.

The following instructions apply to the base version:

...

Description

The sample app is a simple work item ticketing system called “Fix It!”  When you need something fixed, you create a ticket and assign it to someone, and others can log in and see the tickets assigned to them and mark tickets as completed when the work is done.

It’s a standard Visual Studio web project. It is built on ASP.NET MVC and  uses a SQL Server database. It can run locally in IIS Express  and can be deployed to a Windows Azure Web Site to run in the cloud. For the queues version, the back-end code that processes the queue messages is deployed to a worker role in a Windows Azure Cloud Service.

...

image

Building Real-World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure [ebook]

imageimage

Tom Dykstra
Rick Anderson
Mike Wasson

Summary: This e-book walks you through a patterns-based approach to building real-world cloud solutions. The patterns apply to the development process as well as to architecture and coding practices. The content is based on a presentation developed by Scott Guthrie and originally delivered at the Norwegian Developers Conference (NDC) in June of 2013. Many others updated and augmented the content while transitioning it from video to written form.

Category: Guide Applies to: Windows Azure Web Sites, ASP.NET, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Online, Windows Azure Active Directory, Windows Azure SQL Database, Source: ASP.NET site (source content)

E-book publication date: January, 2014

...

I thought this was an old'ish book, but in looking deeper, it's not (really). It's new, fresh and free. Having the code with the eBook is nice too... :)

 

Related Past Post XRef:
Going beyond demo-ware with "Real World Windows Azure Guidance" from MSDN
"Building Hybrid Applications in the Cloud on Windows Azure" free ebook RTW's
“Windows Azure Architecture Guide, Part 1 – Moving Applications to the Cloud” now available as an interactive guide.
Moving Applications to the Cloud 2nd Edition guide (and Hands on Labs)
"Building Hybrid Applications in the Cloud on Windows Azure" free ebook and code (RC)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Have I/you been pwned? There's now an API for that...

troyhunt.com - Have I been pwned? You can now ask the API!

I got a lot of requests after launching HIBP for an API and I saw some great ideas come up in terms of how it might be used for very constructive purposes. Truth be told, there was an API from day one insofar as this was precisely what the web UI was hitting every time you searched for an email address anyway, I just hadn’t published any docs on it or promoted its existence.

That said, I did give it a bit of tweaking to make it more “RESTful” (this, apparently, is what all APIs must be these days) and it works like this:

image

...

There’s also CORS support so you can happily hit the API directly from within another web app on a different domain. It’s all documented on the HIBP site.

That is all.

There is no authentication.

There is no rate limiting.

There is no cost.

Those decisions may turn out to be insightful in that it means it’s exceptionally easy to use and doesn’t place any unnecessary barriers in front of people, or it may be naive and it’ll be abused no end in ways I haven’t even begun to consider. Or both. On the abuse side though, seriously, if you want a big pile of email addresses then go and download Adobe and the others, they’re dead easy to find and it’s a heap easier than enumerating through addresses one by one over HTTP in the hope of getting a hit.

I’ve made the API available because it was easy to do and I’ve made it freely available as it shouldn’t have any cost impact. The compute resources required are tiny and the egress data is measures in bytes – it’s a very efficient process even though it’s searching through 154M records.

Finally, on the structure of the API, I did toss up whether to implement in what is theoretically the more RESTful approach you above (the email address in the path implies a resource) as opposed to a more query-centric approach by passing a value such as email={email}. I asked the question on Twitter and saw vigorous debate arguing the merits of each approach. I’ve published the one described above, but it’s still accessible via query string as well (I haven’t changed the way the search feature on the website uses this). Do feel free to add your thoughts about this or other aspects in the comments below, I’m sure this is but the first phase of many enhancements to come.

I’ll ask one favour from those of you make good use of it – tell me[Tony] about it.If you can share it publicly then leave a comment here, if you want to share it privately then send me an email. ...

Introducing “Have I been pwned?” – aggregating accounts across website breaches

I often write up analyses of the passwords disclosed in website breaches. For example, there was A brief Sony password analysis back in mid-2011 and then our local Aussie ABC earlier this year where I talked about Lousy ABC cryptography cracked in seconds as Aussie passwords are exposed. I wrote a number of other pieces looking specifically at the nature of the data exposed in individual sites, but what I really found interesting was when I started comparing breaches.

In the middle of last year I wrote What do Sony and Yahoo! have in common? Passwords! and found that 59% of people with accounts in both sources used the same password. Then just last month when I wrote about “the mother of all breaches” in Adobe credentials and the serious insecurity of password hints, I found that many of the accounts from the Sony breach were also in Adobe’s. In that case I explained how this put personal information at serious risk as the unencrypted password hints in Adobe’s breach often had the answers in the unencrypted Sony passwords!

As I analysed various breaches I kept finding user accounts that were also disclosed in other attacks – people were having their accounts pwned over and over again. So I built this:

image

The site is now up and public at haveibeenpwned.com so let me share what it’s all about.

About HIBP...

Working with 154 million records on Azure Table Storage – the story of “Have I been pwned?”

I’m one of these people that must learn by doing. Yes, I’m sure all those demos look very flashy and the code appears awesome, but unless I can do it myself then I have trouble really buying into it. And I really want to buy into Azure because frankly, it’s freakin’ awesome.

This is not a “yeah but you’re an MVP so you’ve gotta say that / you’re predispositioned to say that / you’re getting kickbacks from Ballmer”. I don’t, I’m not and I wish!

As many of you will know by now, yesterday I launched Have I been pwned? (HIBP) which as I briefly mentioned in that blog post, runs on Windows Azure. Now I’ve run stuff on Azure before, but it’s usually been the classic website and database model translated to the Azure paradigm rather than using the innovative cloud services that Azure does well.

When I came to build HIBP, I had a challenge: How do I make querying 154 million email addresses as fast as possible? Doing just about anything with the data in SQL Server was painfully slow to the extent that I ended up creating a 56GB of RAM Windows Azure SQL Server VM just to analyse it in order to prepare the info for the post I wrote on the insecurity of password hints. Plus, of course, the data will grow – more pwning of sites will happen and sooner or later there’ll be another “Adobe” and we’ll be looking at 300M records that need to be queried.

The answer was Azure Table Storage and as it turns out, it totally rocks.

Azure table storage – the good, the bad and the awesome ...

Please make sure you click though and read the full articles. Tony goes into much more details and provides some great info, in an easy to grok format and style.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Windows Azure Learning Resource Link Round-up

Windows Azure Technical Support (WATS) Team Blog - Windows Azure Learning Resources

Microsoft has loads of resources to help you learn, understand and leverage Windows Azure cloud platform. This is our effort of listing the resources that are available to help you learn about the Windows Azure architecture, security, features and implementation.

  • Architecture
  • Features and Offerings
  • Implementation Guide
  • Understanding IaaS
  • Windows Azure Security
  • Windows Azure Training Kit

image

One of those days I'm going to have to Azure "for real" so thought to capture this nice and consolidated list of Azure training links...

Monday, November 18, 2013

GQL, no, not the Gnome Query Language, the Genome Query Language

Microsoft Research Connections Blog - Interactive genomics: querying genomes across the cloud

Big data: you can hardly pick up a newspaper without reading about some new scientific or business acumen derived from mining some heretofore-untouched volumes of digital information. Well, I’m happy to say that genome sequence data—which certainly qualifies as big, both in volume and velocity—is joining the party, and in a most meaningful way. When combined with information from medical records, genome data can be mined for new insights into treating disease.

...

Towards this vision, I have been working with researchers at University of California San Diego (UCSD) and have invented the Genome Query Language (GQL), which features three operators that allow error-resilient manipulation of genome intervals. This, in turn, abstracts a variety of existing genomic software tasks, such as variant calling (determining whether a person has a different gene from the reference) and haplotyping (ascribing genomic variation as being inherited from the mother or the father). GQL is inspired by the classic database query language SQL and has similar operators; however, GQL introduces a major new operator: the fault-tolerant union of genomic intervals.

...

To understand how GQL could be used on the Windows Azure platform in the cloud, imagine that a biologist is working on the ApoE gene, which is responsible for forming lipoproteins in the body. Wondering how ApoE gene variations affect cardiovascular disease (CV), the biologist types in a query with the parameters “ApoE, CV” on a tablet computer, just as you might enter a search-engine query. The query is sent to the GQL implementation in the cloud, which returns the ApoE region of the genome in patients with cardiovascular disease. Since the ApoE gene is quite small, the data is processed quickly in the cloud and returned in seconds to the biologist’s tablet. The biologist can then use customized bioinformatics software to mine the data to identify variations.

We have implemented GQL on Windows Azure and used it to query genomic data expeditiously. We have shown, for example, how GQL can be used to query The Cancer Genome Atlas for large structural variations by using only 5 to 10 lines of high-level code. The code took approximately 60 seconds to execute on the Windows Azure application in the cloud when run on an input human genome file of 83 gigabytes. GQL can improve existing software as well by refactoring queries, significantly speeding up results. It could also be used to facilitate browsing by queries and not just location within the UCSC genome browser.

To make the GQL implementation provide interactive speeds, two optimizations were crucial: cached parsing and lazy joins. Combined, they sped up query processing by a factor of 100. I encourage interested readers to explore the details of our research—the GQL queries we used, the optimizations we implemented, and the experimental results we achieved—in the Microsoft Research Technical Report: Interactive Genomics: Rapidly Querying Genomes in the Cloud.

UCSC Genome Bioinformatics Site

Welcome to the UCSC Genome Browser website. This site contains the reference sequence and working draft assemblies for a large collection of genomes. It also provides portals to the ENCODE and Neandertal projects.

We encourage you to explore these sequences with our tools. The Genome Browser zooms and scrolls over chromosomes, showing the work of annotators worldwide. The Gene Sorter shows expression, homology and other information on groups of genes that can be related in many ways. Blat quickly maps your sequence to the genome. The Table Browser provides convenient access to the underlying database. VisiGene lets you browse through a large collection of in situ mouse and frog images to examine expression patterns. Genome Graphs allows you to upload and display genome-wide data sets.

...

UCSC Genome Browser on Human Feb. 2009 (GRCh37/hg19) Assembly

.image

I so have no idea what to do with this, but I still think it's cool as heck. There's got to be a way I can work this into a Zombie novel or CSI kind of show... :P

Monday, November 04, 2013

Cloud VDI seems to be the new Dev desktop shiny, so I guess it's a good time for the new Virtual Desktop Architectural Reference Guides.

Welcome to the US SMB&D TS2 Team Blog - Virtual Desktop Architectural Reference Guides (Including Azure) Just Released

Josh Condie – With VDI becoming more and more an opportunity for partners who host client services for small and mid-sized customers, Microsoft just released the guidance necessary to help you design effective desktop services using our latest Hyper-V, VDI and RDS technology in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.  Key to success here is brining the costs of infrastructure down and ease of deployment and management up.  Microsoft made great strides in the Server OS in both departments.  For example, the support of Direct and SMB Share storage designs and inclusion of advanced storage management capabilities such as Storage Tiering, Deduplication and Thin Provisioning, bring costs down greatly for mid-sized deployments numbers.  ...

The Traditional Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide can be found here.

Using Azure:

For hosting partners looking for a rapid expansion of their capacity, we now offer Windows Azure as another avenue to achieve VDI scale.  Per the article:

“The primary goal is to enable hosting providers to create secure, scalable, and reliable desktop hosting solution offers for small- and medium-sized organizations with up to 1,500 users. The intended audience for this reference architecture is hosting providers who want to leverage Windows Azure infrastructure services to deliver desktop hosting services and Subscriber Access Licenses (SALs) to multiple tenants via the Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) program.”

A logical view of the Azure architecture looks this:

image

The logical architecture diagram shows a two-layer architecture with the following layer definitions:

· Desktop Hosting Service: Virtual machines, networks, and storage that make up the functional service for each tenant.

· Infrastructure Services: Consists of the Azure management portal, load balancer, VPN gateway, Windows Server operating system instances running the Hyper-V role used to virtualize the physical servers, storage units, networks switches, routers, and so on that make up the Azure Infrastructure Service. The Azure infrastructure Services allow the VMs, networks, storage, and applications to be created independently from underlying hardware.

For the full technical article and guide, navigate here.

...

Windows Azure Desktop Hosting - Reference Architecture and Deployment Guides

Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide

Summary: This document defines a set of architectural blocks for using Windows Azure Virtual Machines to create multitenant, hosted Windows desktop and application services, referred to in this document as “desktop hosting.” The primary goal is to enable hosting providers to create secure, scalable, and reliable desktop hosting solution offers for small- and medium-sized organizations with up to 1,500 users. The intended audience for this reference architecture is hosting providers who want to leverage Windows Azure infrastructure services to deliver desktop hosting services and Subscriber Access Licenses (SALs) to multiple tenants via the Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) program. To deliver a desktop hosting solution via Microsoft’s SPLA program, hosting partners leverage Windows Server and the Windows Desktop Experience feature to deliver Windows users an application experience that is familiar to business users and consumers. Although Windows 8, Windows 7, and earlier Windows client versions are not licensed for SPLA, the Desktop Experience feature in Windows Server 2012 provides a similar user experience and application support.

Author: Microsoft Corporation

Published: September 2013

Revision: 1.0

Download: To review the document, download it now.

Windows Azure: Desktop Hosting Deployment Guide

Summary: This document provides procedural guidance for deploying a basic desktop hosting solution based on the Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide. This document provides you with a starting point for implementing a Desktop Hosting service on Windows Azure virtual machines. You’ll have to perform additional deployment steps in a production environment to provide advanced features such as high availability, customized desktop experience, RemoteApp collections, etc.

Author: Microsoft Corporation

Published: October 2013

Revision: 1.0

Download: To review the document, download it now.

Seems everyone, well bleeding edge early adopters anyway, are hosting their dev vm's in the cloud and using smaller end devices, like Surfaces, ultrabooks, etc to access them.

This the future of the dev desktop? It could be, if we can get over the security concerns... (or have them hosted on an in-house cloud, but there could be issues with that as well...). Anyway, I saw these guides and thought I should snag them for future reference.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Windows Azure Guidance - Cloud Design Patterns Alpha drop...

Alejandro Jezierski - Cloud Design Patterns, new drop on Codeplex

We made a new drop of the Cloud Design Patterns book on codeplex.

The drop includes the following patterns and related guidance:

...

patterns & practices - Windows Azure Guidance - Cloud Design Patterns

Recommended Download

Cloud Design Patterns document
documentation, 2682K, uploaded Mon - 507 downloads

Release Notes

2nd drop of Cloud Design Patterns project. It contains 14 patterns with 7 related guidance.

...

image

patterns & practices - Windows Azure Guidance

Welcome to patterns & practices Windows Azure Guidance site

Many customers are looking for guidance on how to make the move to Windows Azure, and how to make the most of it. patterns & practices has a series of projects that target application design and development on Windows Azure.

The key themes for these projects are:
1. Moving to the Cloud
2. Developing for the Cloud
3. Building Hybrid Apps in the Cloud
4. Developing Big Data Solutions in the Cloud 
5. Cloud Design Patterns

These themes will allow us to categorize the scenarios that we will be delivering. Most of the scenarios are challenges that customers face today. And as we progress the program forward we will have more scenarios.

#1 is about migration and re-purposing existing applications and skills. #2 is about taking advantages of intrinsic properties from the cloud, such as elastic demand, etc., #3 is about connecting cloud applications with on-premises systems. #4 is the ongoing project about developing big data solutions using Windows Azure HDInsight and related technologies.

...

Don't reinvent the cloud wheel, instead learn from wheel builders (or whatever, you get the idea). In short, don't invent what you don't need to invent. Invest your time into what makes your product and service unique...

 

Related Past Post XRef:
"Building Hybrid Applications in the Cloud on Windows Azure" free ebook and code (RC)
Moving Applications to the Cloud 2nd Edition guide (and Hands on Labs)
“Windows Azure Architecture Guide, Part 1 – Moving Applications to the Cloud” now available as an interactive guide.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

XPlatformCloudKit - Your Cross Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Android, powered by Azure Mobile Services, Cloud Kit

winappkits / XPlatformCloudKit

A Hands-on lab for creating your very own multi-platform app with Azure Mobile Services as a backend.

Simply follow along with the included Powerpoint file located in the root of the project.

The XPlatformCloudKit supports displaying grouped items retrieved from an Azure Mobile Service, Rss Data Services, and/or Local file. It can aesthetically organize grouped objects of Type Item with property of Title, Subtitle, Description, Image, and Group to produce a Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Android application by means of Portable Class Libraries, Xamarin Studio, and MVVMCross.
...

image

...

Video Tutorials

Getting Started

After obtaining and installing the prerequisites, download the .zip of this project (link on the bottom right of The XPlatformCloudKit Project Home) Save the .zip, then right-click=>Properties=>Unblock=>Apply then extract the contents of the .zip file

...

Prerequisites for all projects

...

Notes on getting Windows Phone 8 project to run:

...

Notes on getting Android Project to run

....

I've got a strong feeling your going see this mentioned again on the Coding4Fun Blog in the near future. :)

(via Geek Camp - XPlatformCloudKit: Using Youtube Playlist RSS Feed in Windows Phone)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

WAMVA - Windows Azure Microsoft Virtual Academy courses... (which are free of course)

Microsoft Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman - Learn Windows Azure with these free Microsoft Virtual Academy courses online

Microsoft offers a large variety of learning resources and training to help you on your journey to learn about technology many of the solutions we have to offer. One of these key technologies is Windows Azure. Windows Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. In this post, I’m going to share with you a collection of free learning resources on Windows Azure available to you through our Microsoft Virtual Academy.

imageimage

I've highlighted a number of these in the past I think, but it's nice having a single page round-up of the Windows Azure MVA content...

This is IT for Azure... "Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals" free eBook

Microsoft Press - Free ebook: Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals

image

We are happy to announce a new free ebook – Introducing Windows Azure for IT Professionals by Mitch Tulloch with the Windows Azure Team!

Whether you’re new to the Windows Azure platform or are already using it in your business, this book has something that should interest you. Most Windows Azure services are described in some detail, with screenshots used to demonstrate some of the multitude of capabilities of the platform. And for the experienced we have lots of under-the-hood insights and expert tips written by Microsoft insiders who develop, test, and use the Windows Azure platform.

The PDF is available to download today. The Mobi and ePub files will be available through this post soon...

For you IT'ers (yes, you), this free 142 page eBook might help get you going on the Azure train...

imageimage

Also somewhat related MS Press is going private (so to say), Microsoft Press - Microsoft Press announcement

Microsoft Press has recently decided to take back all English language editorial and publishing functions for the business. O’Reilly Media will no longer be producing titles on behalf of Microsoft Press. However, they remain our marketing, sales and distribution partner.

...