Showing posts with label Cloud. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cloud. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Cool eBook for the Day #2: Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure (Think "Azure 102")

Microsoft Press - Free ebook: Microsoft Azure Essentials Fundamentals of Azure

We’re happy to announce the release of our newest free ebook, Microsoft Azure Essentials: Fundamentals of Azure (ISBN 9780735697225), by Michael S. Collier and Robin E. Shahan. This is the first ebook in Microsoft Press’s free Microsoft Azure Essentials series. Future ebooks will cover specific Azure topics, such as Azure Machine Learning, Azure Automation, and others.

Below you’ll find the ebook’s Foreword, by Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft, as well as its full Introduction. Enjoy!


Download all formats (PDF, Mobi and ePub) hosted by the Microsoft Virtual Academy



Microsoft Azure is Microsoft's cloud computing platform, providing a wide variety of services you can use without purchasing and provisioning your own hardware. Azure enables the rapid development of solutions and provides the resources to accomplish tasks that may not be feasible in an on-premises environment. Azure's compute, storage, network, and application services allow you to focus on building great solutions without the need to worry about how the physical infrastructure is assembled.

This ebook covers the fundamentals of Azure you need to start developing solutions right away. It concentrates on the features of the Azure platform that you are most likely to need to know rather than on every feature and service available on the platform. This ebook also provides several walkthroughs you can follow to learn how to create VMs and virtual networks, websites and storage accounts, and so on. In many cases, real-world tips are included to help you get the most out of your Azure experience.

In addition to its coverage of core Azure services, the ebook discusses common tools useful in creating and managing Azure-based solutions. The ebook wraps up by providing details on a few common business scenarios where Azure can provide compelling and valuable solutions.

Who should read this ebook

This ebook focuses on providing essential information about the key services of Azure for developers and IT professionals who are new to cloud computing. Detailed, step-by-step demonstrations are included to help the reader understand how to get started with each of the key services. This material is useful not only for those who have no prior experience with Azure, but also for those who need a refresher and those who may be familiar with one area but not others. Each chapter is standalone; there is no requirement that you perform the hands-on demonstrations from previous chapters to understand any particular chapter.

We expect that you have at least a minimal understanding of virtualized environments and virtual machines. There are no specific skills required overall for this ebook, but having some knowledge of the topic of each chapter will help you gain a deeper understanding. For example, the chapter on virtual networks will make more sense if you have some understanding of networking, and the chapter on databases will be more useful if you understand what a database is and for what you might use one. Web development skills will provide a good background for understanding websites, and some understanding of identity will be helpful when studying the chapter on Active Directory.

This ebook might not be for you if…
This ebook might not be for you if you are looking for an in-depth developer or architecture-focused discussion on a wide range of Azure features, or if you are looking for details on other public or private cloud platforms.

The topics explored in this book include:

  • Getting started with Azure: Understand what cloud computing is, visit the management portals, and learn about billing.
  • Websites and Cloud Services: Learn about Azure Websites, from deployment to monitoring, and gain an understanding of the web and worker roles used in Azure Cloud Services.
  • Virtual Machines: Explore the basic features of Azure Virtual Machines, including how to create, configure, and manage them.
  • Storage: Read about the basics of Azure Storage, including blobs, tables, queues, and file shares.
  • Virtual Networks: Learn the basics of virtual networks, including how to create one, and why a virtual network might be necessary. This also covers site-to-site and point-to-site networking, as well as ExpressRoute.
  • Databases: Explore two relational database options available in Azure: Azure SQL Database and SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines.
  • Azure Active Directory: Explore basic features of Azure AD, including creating a directory, users and groups, and using the application gallery.
  • Management Tools: Explore three common tools for working with Azure: Visual Studio 2013 and the Azure SDK, Azure PowerShell cmdlets, and the Cross-Platform Command-Line Interface
  • Business Scenarios: Explore four common scenarios for utilizing Azure features: development and test, hybrid, application and infrastructure modernization, and Azure Mobile Services.


Need to introduce someone to Azure? This free 246 page eBook looks like a great starting point...


Monday, December 01, 2014

Two Microsoft RIP's today - Public Office 365 Sites and Office Clip Art

Microsoft Will No Longer Offer A Public Site Option in Office 365 As Of Dec/Jan

RIP: Office 365 Public Sites!

Microsoft is throwing in the towel on the Office 365 public site option. According to a Msft source, it will be removed from the Office 365 Sharepoint Online offering as of an update scheduled for Dec 2014 / Jan 2015. Existing accounts using the public site will not be affected by this dramatic change, but can expect the already lacklustre support to dwindle further.


I've seen many asking for confirmation about this, but no official response yet, so take it with a grain of salt (but it sure rings true...). The next RIP story is official...

Office Blogs - Clip Art now powered by Bing Images

Starting today, customers searching for Online Pictures in Office desktop products worldwide will view and download royalty-free images curated through Bing Images.  The Clip Art and image library has closed shop. Usage of Office’s image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines.

Bing Image Search has higher quality images that are more up-to-date. For example, searching for “cellphone” gives more variety and modern looking phones instead of the old-school bricks from Clip Art. Also, Bing uses a copyright filter based on the Creative Commons licensing system.  These are images you can use, share, or modify for either personal or commercial use (settings can be switched to Show all web results to view more images).


As I usually say when these RIP type stories come in, maybe it's better to acknowledge it's dead and kill it than let it linger on in a zombie like afterlife (insert "SilverLight" cough here...)... um yeah... I guess.

If the public Office 365 site info is true (I have one and I've not seen any notice yet) that would be kind of stinky. BUT again, if Microsoft isn't ready to truly invest in it and given how far behind they are falling in this space, maybe it is better to kill it, IF they partner with a real player and help people move their sites. If they don't help people move, that would be very Closing Google Reader of them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Introducing "Office 365 Video" not "Introducing Office 365" Video

Introducing Office 365 Video


Today, I’m excited to announce Office 365 Video, the first of many NextGen Portals landing in Office 365. Initially, we will roll out to Office 365 First Release customers. We then expect to be fully deployed worldwide to all Office 365 customers by early calendar year 2015.



A beautiful user interface with an easy-to-manage approach

Video is one of the most powerful mediums of communication. Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content. From onboarding new employees, to distributing a CEO message company wide, to community contributions, video is now a first-class citizen to power and enrich your internal communications.

With a beautiful user interface and intuitive content management options, Office 365 Video is designed to meet the requirements of IT and win the hearts and minds of users. Powered by Azure Media Services—the same service used during the Olympics (6,000 plus hours of video in 18 days)—Office 365 Video benefits from adaptive smooth streaming technology optimizing video playback for the device it’s being viewed on. It, too, leverages Yammer and the Office Graph to deliver a social, personalized experience within Office 365.

Let’s take a moment to explore four core elements of Office 365 Video: 1) simplicity, 2) discoverability and share’ability, 3) mobile and 4) built-in security and easy to manage.

Simplicity. To upload a video, content owners simply drag and drop their video files into the web user interface—or upload from their mobile device—type a title and description, and let the service take care of the rest. You can upload a wide variety of video file types. The service then generates a standardized set of playback files for fast, easy viewing.

Discoverability and share’ability. Videos are easily searchable via enterprise search, with a dedicated search experience in the video portal already scoped to show only video results. All uploaded videos are discoverable in Office Delve (similar to documents, videos are automatically fed into the Office Graph).


Mobile. People will be able to view and share videos within Office 365 on any device. They can easily navigate the home page and channels to find and view content, and even upload new videos from their device. We’ll share more news in the next few months about how you can best interact with your video portal from your mobile device.


Built-in security and easy to manage. It’s very easy to set the permissions for the home page leveraging the same Active Directory powering authentication in all areas of Office 365. This same governance model enables admins to manage permissions for each channel. Channels are easy to create and assign delegated owner(s)—or channel managers—who can then manage their own content and specific set of permissions.


To sum it all up

Your business flourishes when all employees are informed, working together and aligned to the same important goals. Office 365 Video is just the first of numerous NextGen Portals to come to Office 365—portals to best support your corporate intranet needs, your knowledge management requirements, and facilitate how people and groups can best represent themselves—all designed to be mobile, engaging, intelligent and ready to go–for you. We’re excited to start this journey, to help you build less and use more.


When I saw this, I saw "Introducing Office 365" Video and so skipped over it. Funny how titling a post can change its draw...

Once I figured out they meant Introducing "Office 365 Video" I took another look and found it pretty cool and interesting. One more draw to the cloud and Office 365.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Play with a demo of the new Microsoft Azure RemoteApp right now...

In the Cloud - Microsoft Azure RemoteApp Demo

At TechEd this week, I had the privilege to announce the release of Microsoft Azure RemoteApp preview, a new service from Microsoft that provides Windows applications from a finished Azure service.

Since the launch of the preview, the team also enabled an Azure RemoteApp demo that allows you to experience the end-user aspects of the service on your choice of iOS, MacOS, or Windows devices in less than 5 clicks.

There are already thousands of unique users testing the service, and the team is working hard to increase the capacity.  The demand has been so high that it is, understandably, taking us time to go through all the approvals.  But don’t worry – we’ll get to everyone (we already have thousands of cores allocated to supporting this preview).

To experience the demo for yourself, click here.  Also, to read more about the demo experience, the RDS team has written a detailed post about the preview.


This demo lets you play with just released RemoteApp feature right now, with hardly any setup. Just install the RemoteApp utility and go! It's really pretty neat and the hybrid scenario is  something I'm going to have to take a good look at.




Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Turing your Surface RT into a Pro, via the power of the Cloud (and RemoteApps, Remote Desktop and more... think DIY DaaS)

Team blog of MCS @ Middle East and Africa - How to Convert your Surface RT to Surface Pro - Part 3

Links to All Parts:

Part 1: Install Remote Desktop Services

Part 2: Configure RemoteApp

Part 3: Configure Surface


In Part 1: I’ve explained how to install Remote Desktop services on the server and fix common error that you may face, in Part 2 we finished configuring Remote Desktop Services and publish RemoteApp.

This part we will test from client side machine by browsing to the RDWA and will configure Surface with RemoteApp.


ITPro: How to Convert your Surface RT to Surface Pro – Part 1

From long time I’ve started to have all my labs on Windows Azure (will share that experience in another blog), my main motive was to get rid of my heavy ugly laptop to a light and thin one. My first pilot was to use Surface as the replacement of my laptop.

For some reason (I don’t remember it now) I’ve decided to get Surface RT not Surface Pro, I’m trying to convince myself now that RT lighter, RT is 676 grams compared to 907 grams for the Pro.

But anyway here it is my RT device, I loved the experience and the display but the second day I looked for PowerShell ISE and couldn’t find it, PowerShell ISE was my magical solution to connect to Office 365 so it’s mandatory for me. The result: PowerShell ISE is not built in with Windows RT and can’t be installed from the store.

Ok no ISE let’s install the PowerShell Module for Azure (Windows Azure VMs cmdlets) and PowerShell Module Windows Azure AD (Office 365 module), obviously you can’t install anything to RT.

The huge one when I started to look for Visio and Project Pro, and yes both are not part of Office pro which installed on the Surface and are not available on the Store. Now it’s serious I can’t work without these programs.

I started to look for a solution and first thing came to my mind is to RDP to another machine running on Azure that have everything I need, nice Idea and worked fine but annoying as you need to share the files (copy it or send it by email) between the 2 PCs, didn’t like the overall experience.

I was reading some of the new staff on Windows 2012 when I thought of RemoteAPP, what if I’ve a server on Azure running Remote App and I can use all my applications.

First things first, what is RemoteApp:


Hum... Since I've got my MSDN credits that I'm not currently using, this sounds kind of cool to try out.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Azure Cloud App Discovery Preview - See the cloud apps your users are using...

Active Directory Team Blog - A new Azure AD module in preview: Cloud App Discovery

Howdy folks,

Today I have the privilege to announce the preview of our new Cloud App Discovery features. These new features give IT visibility into which cloud apps are in use within the organization. You can try it for free here.

I've had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of enterprise customers this year, and one of the consistent things I've heard from them is "I know people are using SAAS apps in my company, but I don't know which ones".

All of these customers expressed concerns about unauthorized access to corporate data, possible data leakage and other security risks inherent in the application. And since they didn't even know how many apps or which apps were being used, even getting started building a plan to deal with these risks seems daunting.

Our new Cloud App Discovery service is our first step to help answer that question. It enables IT to easily determine which cloud apps are in use in the organization. IT can then take steps to integrate the applications with Azure Active Directory.


Hi everyone,

I'm Girish Chander and for the last three months I've been driving the effort to design and build our Cloud App Discovery features. These features address one of the top pieces of feedback we've heard from customers. "Help me find out what apps my employees are using, so I can manage these applications better"

With Cloud App Discovery, IT can:

  • Get a summary view of total number of cloud applications in use and the number of users using cloud applications
  • See the top cloud applications in use within the organization
  • See top applications per category
  • See usage graphs for applications that can be pivoted on users, requests or volume of data exchanged with the application
  • Drill down into specific applications for targeted information
  • Easily proceed to integrate an application with Azure Active Directory

Here's how you can try it out for yourself


A comprehensive view into all applications discovered, in the apps page.

Click on the 'apps discovered' tile on the dashboard to:

  1. Get a categorized view of all the cloud applications discovered.
  2. View Top applications within each category.
  3. Filter applications by category.
  4. Sort applications by recently discovery, most number of sessions, most volume of traffic and most number of unique users.



Ability to drill into a specific application on a per-app page

You can click on a specific application from the dashboard or the all apps page to drill down into a specific application. You can see:

  1. Total number of unique users that have used the application
  2. Total number of web requests made to the application
  3. Total volume of data uploaded and downloaded to the application.
  4. Usage trends over time across above pivots
  5. Link to integrate the application with AAD to provide users with SSO and give IT more control.


This could be one of those "plausible deniability" killer things. Parsing web filters, proxies, etc might be more effort than is feasible. This makes it a little to easy to gather, explore and report on. On one side, I think this is kind of cool. On the the, this gives me the creeps. Yeah, yeah, I know all my work traffic is already being tracked, logged, etc, but this almost makes it too easy. I'm glad there's a client side install for it though. Makes it a little more controlled and controllable.

But if I were an IT guy and was concerned about all the stealth clouding going on, I think I'd jump on this (so much for the creeps... lol)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Here comes the Sun? The Cloud is becoming less scary for businesses, according to this survey at least...

eDiscovery Daily Blog - Cloud Security Fears Diminish With Experience - eDiscovery Trends

One of the more common trends identified by thought leaders in our recently concluded thought leader series was the continued emergence of the cloud as a viable solution to manage corporate big data.  One reason for that appears to be greater acceptance of cloud security.  Now, there’s a survey that seems to confirm that trend.


Forbes - Cloud Security Fears Diminish With Experience, Survey Shows

Security is always the leading fear among companies just starting to dip their toes into the cloud computing realm. However, as time passes and they gain experience, their security worries vanish.

That’s one of the takeaways from a recent survey of 1,068 companies conducted by RightScale, Inc. The survey’s authors report that while the benefits of the cloud increase with experience, the challenges of cloud show a sharp decrease as organizations gain expertise with cloud. Close to one-third of executives and professionals who have not yet implemented cloud say security is their top concern, a number that diminishes to 13 percent of seasoned, heavy users of cloud services (and is only the fifth-ranked concern on their list).

One-fourth of respondents did not have clouds in place, while another 22 percent were seasoned cloud veterans, the survey finds. The reduced concern about security reflects a comfort level that increases as the time spent with cloud engagements increases. That doesn’t mean slacking off on security, of course — ultimately, security is the responsibility of the end-user company.


Rightscale - 2014 State of the Cloud Report: See the Latest Trends on Cloud Adoption

The RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report includes data and analysis on cloud adoption by enterprises and SMEs in a dozen industries.

Download the report to find out:

  • How you compare in cloud adoption relative to other companies
  • What progress enterprises are making in the journey to hybrid cloud.
  • Key challenges in enterprise cloud strategy and governance.
  • How DevOps and Self-Service IT align with cloud initiatives.
  • Why competition among cloud providers is heating up and how you can benefit.


Executive Summary

In February 2014, RightScale surveyed 1068 technical professionals across a broad cross-section of organizations about their adoption of cloud computing.

The 2014 State of the Cloud Survey identified several key findings:

Cloud adoption reaches ubiquity.
• 94 percent of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service.
• 87 percent of organizations are using public cloud.

Hybrid cloud is the approach of choice.
• 74 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy and more than half of those are already using both public and private cloud.

Enterprise cloud governance lags adoption.
• Less than a third of organizations have defined such critical aspects of governance as which clouds can be used, disaster recovery approaches, and cost management.

The challenge of cloud security is abating.
• The number of respondents who regard cloud security as a significant challenge has decreased among both cloud beginners and cloud pros.

Next-generation IT shapes up as Cloud + DevOps + Self-Service IT.
• Cloud-focused companies embrace DevOps (71 percent) and Self-Service IT (68 percent).

Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues to dominate public cloud adoption, while other vendors battle for second place. Key findings include:
• AWS adoption is 54 percent – 4x the nearest competitor.
• Rackspace Public Cloud is second within the SMB segment.
• IaaS offerings from Google and Microsoft are gaining the interest of cloud users, with Azure leading among enterprises and Google Cloud Platform among small and midsize organizations.

The battle among private cloud technologies is shaping up as a clash of cultures between the open-source OpenStack and proprietary solutions from VMware. Findings include:
• Thirty-one percent of enterprise respondents view their VMware vSphere/vCenter environments as a private cloud.
• OpenStack is well positioned to unseat vSphere in private cloud – coming in first in interest and second in current usage.
• Microsoft System Center is waiting in the wings with a strong third position among enterprise users.


Key for this post, "The challenge of cloud security is abating." Interesting thing is that I got the same feeling in talking with my co- attendees at Build, that there's a growth in acceptance, usage and interest. interest was VERY high at the individual level, with many talking about how they are going to use their MSDN Azure allowance to at least play with it...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Eric Ligman's List of "Free Microsoft Office 365 Resources, Training, Virtual Courses..."

Microsoft Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman - How To Get Free Microsoft Office 365 Resources, Training, Virtual Courses, and More

Microsoft Office 365 provides a cloud-based service that enables individuals and businesses to accomplish the tasks they want to, where they want to, when they want to, all with the familiar Microsoft Office platform they’ve been using for years. By enabling this experience across devices, both in the cloud and offline, it lets people accomplish more, easier, in a much more efficient way. Whether you are new to Microsoft Office 365 or have been using it for awhile, I thought I would let you know about many free resources we have available to you from Microsoft to help you get the most out of your Microsoft Office 365 subscription.

What’s New – Find out what’s New for each of the Microsoft Office 2013 applications you get with Microsoft Office 365:

Quick Start Guides

Microsoft Virtual Academy Sessions

Free eBooks

Video Sessions

Are you a U.S. Microsoft Partner?

Support -


You've been hearing allot about Office 365 recently. If you're new to it, here's a bunch of great resources to help get you up to speed quickly... and cheaply... :)

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.



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!



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]


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

[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 Real time article update newsletter.


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.




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, 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;


Here are the PNG's;


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...

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.



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, 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... ;)

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.



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.

"We're from the Government and we're to help with Cybersecurity..." - NIST Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework Released

ride the lightning - NIST Releases Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework

How in the world are entities supposed to deal with cybersecurity in a world without standards, even voluntary ones? The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) is looking to remedy that. On October 22nd, NIST released a Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework to help critical infrastructure owners and operators reduce cybersecurity risks in industries such as power generation, transportation and telecommunications. NIST will open a 45-day public comment period on the Preliminary Framework and plans to release the official framework in February 2014.


NIST Releases Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework, Will Seek Comments

The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today released its Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework (PDF) to help critical infrastructure owners and operators reduce cybersecurity risks in industries such as power generation, transportation and telecommunications. In the coming days, NIST will open a 45-day public comment period on the Preliminary Framework and plans to release the official framework in February 2014, as called for in Executive Order 13636—Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity.

In February 2013, President Obama directed NIST to work with stakeholders to develop a voluntary framework for reducing cyber risks, recognizing that U.S. national and economic security depends on the reliable functioning of critical infrastructure. Through a request for information and a series of workshops held throughout 2013, NIST engaged with more than 3,000 individuals and organizations on standards, best practices and guidelines that can provide businesses, their suppliers, their customers and government agencies with a shared set of expected protections for critical information and IT infrastructure.

"Thanks to a tremendous amount of industry input, the voluntary framework provides a flexible, dynamic approach to matching business needs with improving cybersecurity," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. "We encourage organizations to begin reviewing and testing the Preliminary Framework to better inform the version we plan to release in February."

The Preliminary Framework outlines a set of steps that can be customized to various sectors and adapted by both large and small organizations while providing a consistent approach to cybersecurity. It offers a common language and mechanism for organizations to determine and describe their current cybersecurity posture, as well as their target state for cybersecurity. The framework will help them to identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement within the context of risk management and to assess progress toward their goals.

The framework will foster communications among internal and external stakeholders and help organizations hold each other accountable for strong cyber protections while allowing flexibility for specific approaches tailored to each business' market and regulatory environment. Its integrated approach focuses on outcomes, rather than any particular technology, to encourage innovation.




It's just too easy to take pot shots, so I won't. I'll applaud our Government in at least trying to do this. IMHO, this is a good kind of role for government...


Related Past Post XRef:
Never a Cloudy day in DC? Not if the NIST has anything to say about it... "DRAFT Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations"

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.


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


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...


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.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Taking the Bus to the next stop... Why you, Dev and IT, should be looking at the Windows Azure Pack.

In the Cloud - What’s New in 2012 R2: Enabling Modern Apps with the Windows Azure Pack

Don’t let the title fool you – this post is critically important for Developers and IT pros.

The reason I call out this warning up front is that often, when I’m speaking at conferences around the world, as soon as I start to discuss the developer perspective and developer tools, many IT Pros in the room starts playing Angry Birds while they wait for the developer section to be over.

Why is it so important for IT Pros to understand how modern applications are built? The answer is simple: IT Pros are the ones who build and operate the infrastructure that hosts these applications, and, the more you know about how these applications are built, the better you will understand their platform requirements.

That’s the tactical reason. There is also a strategic reason.

If your organization is not already in the process of defining it’s cloud strategy – it soon will be. You need to be a contributor and leader in these conversations. By mastering today’s topics, you can become a part of the conversation and define the long-term solution, rather than someone who is simply reacting to decisions they were not a part of making.

The future of the IT Pro role will require you to know how applications are built for the cloud, as well as the cloud infrastructures where these apps operate, is something every IT Pro needs in order to be a voice in the meetings that will define an organization’s cloud strategy. IT pros are also going to need to know how their team fits in this cloud-centric model, as well as how to proactively drive these discussions.

These R2 posts will get you what you need, and this “Enable Modern Business Apps” pillar will be particularly helpful.

Throughout the posts in this series we have spoken about the importance of consistency across private, hosted and public clouds, and we’ve examined how Microsoft is unique in its vision and execution of delivering consistent clouds. The Windows Azure Pack is a wonderful example of Microsoft innovating in the public cloud and then bringing the benefits of that innovation to your datacenter.

The Windows Azure Pack is – literally speaking – a set of capabilities that we have battle-hardened and proven in our public cloud. These capabilities are now made available for you to enhance your cloud and ensure that “consistency across clouds” that we believe is so important.

A major benefit of the Windows Azure Pack is the ability to build an application once and then deploy and operate it in any Microsoft Cloud – private, hosted or public.

This kind of flexibility means that you can build an application, initially deploy it in your private cloud, and then, if you want to move that app to a Service Provider or Azure in the future, you can do it without having to modify the application. Making tasks like this simple is a major part of our promise around cloud consistency, and it is something only Microsoft (not VMware, not AWS) can deliver.

This ability to migrate an app between these environments means that your apps and your data are never locked in to a single cloud. This allows you to easily adjust as your organization’s needs, regulatory requirements, or any operational conditions change.

A big part of this consistency and connection is the Windows Azure Service Bus which will be a major focus of today’s post.

The Windows Azure Service Bus has been a big part of Windows Azure since 2010. I don’t want to overstate this, but Service Bus has been battle-hardened in Azure for more than 3 years, and now we are delivering it to you to run in your datacenters. To give you a quick idea of how critical Service Bus is for Microsoft, consider this: Service Bus is used in all the billing for Windows Azure, and it is responsible for gathering and posting all the scoring and achievement data to the Halo 4 leaderboards (now that is really, really important – just ask my sons!). It goes without saying that the people in charge of Azure billing and the hardcore gamers are not going to tolerate any latency or downtime getting to their data.

With today’s topic, take the time to really appreciate the app development and app platform functionality in this R2 wave. I think you’ll be really excited about how you can plug into this process and lead your organization.

This post, written by Bradley Bartz, a Principal Program Manager from Windows Azure, will get deep into these new features and the amazing scenarios that the Windows Azure Pack and Windows Azure Service Bus enable. As always in this 2012 R2 series, check out the “Next Steps” at the bottom of this for links to additional information about the topics covered in this post.\


We’ve listened closely to our customers and focused on improving the following 3 core scenarios with the Service Bus 1.1 for Windows Server and the Windows Azure Pack:

  1. Application Messaging Patterns with Service Bus
    With Service Bus we support basic as well as advanced messaging patterns for use in modern applications. With this release we’ve also added new messaging capabilities, additional protocols, and simplified APIs to enable developers to write better applications faster.
  2. Manage Messaging entities across clouds
    Whether you’re developing for the public cloud, private cloud, or a hosted cloud (with your service provider), developers will be able to write applications once and then use it anywhere within these clouds – without needing to recompile. This can be done by simply changing an entry in the configuration file.
  3. Offering Alternatives with Service Bus
    Whether you are an Independent Software Vendor developing software and services for others, an enterprise which deploys home-grown applications, or a developer looking for an easy to deploy messaging component, you can use Service Bus in your topology. With this release we’ve improved the hosting capabilities for enterprises and service providers enabling new hosting topologies.


Don't usually see this kind of dev depth on TechNet. And also since it's on one o f my favorite topic's, Private Clouds, couldn't resist... If you're build LOB app's, take a peek at this article. It's take the bus to the next stop... (title!)

Related Past Post XRef:
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...

Free eBook #1 of the day: Windows Azure SQL Reporting Succinctly

Syncfusion - Windows Azure SQL Reporting Succinctly


Windows Azure SQL Reporting provides a flexible platform for managing and viewing reports. Its cloud-based architecture means that its services are instantly scalable for any number of users—adding and removing servers through Windows Azure is significantly simpler than managing on-site servers—and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum. With Windows Azure SQL Reporting Succinctly by Stacia Misner, you'll learn how to set up a SQL Database server, migrate your existing data to the cloud, design report items, and deploy complete reports to the server. Instruction is also provided for managing user roles and creating reusable report parts.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to SQL Reporting
  2. Getting Started
  3. Report Development
  4. Report Management
  5. Report Parts
  6. Security
  7. Report Access

NOTE: They ask for your name, email address and phone. Based on past experience, have a care with what information you provide (which is not validated or really used for the download) [cough... possible spam alert... cough] But remember, free isn't free...


Related Past Post XRef:
Need some help up the WPF learning curve? "WPF Succinctly" from Syncfusion is now available (and free :)
TypeScript Succinctly - Free [Name/email-ware] eBook
Getting sharp with F# with the free "F# Succinctly" eBook [reg-ware]
Syncfusion helps shed a little succinct light on LightSwitch with "LightSwitch Succinctly" (Reg-ware)
"JavaScript Succinctly" - Another free (reg-ware) eBook from Syncfusion
Get into sync with HTTP with the new free (reg-ware) Syncfusion Succinctly eBook, "HTTP Succinctly"
Spelunk the technical details of the PDF format with "PDF Succinctly" from Syncfusion (Free/reg-ware PDF/Mobi ebook)
"Git Succinctly" Free/reg-ware PDF/Mobi ebook)
jQuery Succinctly - Free eBook (reg-ware, PDF and/or Mobi)

Friday, August 09, 2013

24 Hours of PASS (PASS Summit 2013 Sneak Peeks)

PASS Summit 2013 - Session Sneak Peeks

Get a sneak peek at some of the SQL Server and Business Intelligence best practices, expert tips, and demos you'll find at PASS Summit 2013. We recently hosted an online event featuring 24 back-to-back webcasts from various PASS Summit speakers. Watch the recordings, sorted by track, now:

Application & Database Development | BI Information Delivery | BI Platform Architecture, Development & Administration | Cloud Application Development & Deployment | Enterprise Database Administration & Deployment




I do wish these were available as HTML5 video, but that's a minor whine. There's some cool looking sessions here, and all it costs is your email address...

(Found via Sergio Govoni - 24 Hours of PASS (July 2013): Recordings Now Available! )