Rock, Paper, Azure Re-launch!

I’m a little late getting this out (pesky vacations and all) but we re-launched Rock, Paper, Azure (RPA) a few weeks back with weekly competitions! What is Rock, Paper, Azure?  In short, it’s a game, primarily for developers.  It’s also a fun way to learn programming, as the concept is simple however winning is not.  You write code that plays a modified Rock, Paper, Scissors like game and tries to beat everyone else doing the same.   The code that you download has everything ready to go, so you just need to worry about implementing some logic.  No advanced degree required! We developed RPA as a teaching tool for the cloud.   The RPA site and game engine all run in Windows Azure, and it’s a good example of building a scalable application:  when the game engine is under demand, such as during our prize rounds, we’ve been able to scale up to keep up with the bot submissions.   As a player, you’ll get to try out Windows Azure and learn a little about it along the way.  You can also win some great stuff – like a Microsoft Surface, Kinect, and Best Buy gift cards! Check it out at http://www.rockpaperaure.com – have fun playing!

Azure this Week!

Lots of things going on in Windows Azure this week!  First up, I’ll be presenting at the TRINUG on Windows Azure on Wednesday, Nov. 14th 2012 .   If you’re in the area, stop by! This Wednesday, the corp team is also holding a Windows Azure conference appropriately named Windows Azure Conf,  be sure to check it out.    The event will be streamed online via Channel 9 and include a keynote from ScuttGu: On November 14, 2012, Microsoft will be hosting Windows AzureConf, a free event for the Windows Azure community. This event will feature a keynote presentation by Scott Guthrie, along with numerous sessions executed by Windows Azure community members. Streamed live for an online audience on Channel 9, the event will allow you to see how developers just like you are using Windows Azure to develop applications on the best cloud platform in the industry. Community members from all over the world will join Scott in the Channel 9 studios to present their own inventions and experiences. Whether you’re just learning Windows Azure or you've already achieved success on the platform, you won’t want to miss this special event. Here’s a rundown of the schedule!

Microsoft DevRadio: (Part 2) Windows Azure Web Sites Explained

Peter Laudati , Brian Hitney and Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Brady Gaster conclude their Windows Azure Web Sites intro series by going over the differences between Azure and shared hosting, pricing, scaling, cpu consumption, the reserved vs. shared model, custom DNS, and much, much more. Watch Part 1 After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Start Your Free 90 Day Trial of Windows Azure Step #2 – Download the Tools for Windows 8 App Development Step #3 – Start building your own Apps for Windows 8 Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, Zune, or RSS If you're interested in learning more about the products or solutions discussed in this episode, click on any of the below links for free, in-depth information: Websites: Learn more about Windows Azure Blogs: Brian Hitney’s blog Peter Laudati’s blog Brady Gaster’s blog Virtual Labs: MSDN Virtual Labs: Windows Azure Download MP3 (Audio only) MP4 (iPod, Zune HD) High Quality MP4 (iPad, PC) Mid Quality MP4 (WP7, HTML5) High Quality WMV (PC, Xbox, MCE)

Microsoft DevRadio: (Part 1) What is Windows Azure Web Sites?

Peter Laudati and Brian Hitney welcome Windows Azure Technical Evangelist Brady Gaster to the show as they discuss Windows Azure Web Sites. In part one of this series, tune in as they chat about what it is, what its key benefits are for web developers and agencies, how the Azure Web Sites infrastructure works for easier site deployment, an intro to the web sites gallery, as well as a special announcement for .NET applications. After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Start Your Free 90 Day Trial of Windows Azure Step #2 – Download the Tools for Windows 8 App Development Step #3 – Start building your own Apps for Windows 8 Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, Zune, or RSS If you're interested in learning more about the products or solutions discussed in this episode, click on any of the below links for free, in-depth information: Websites: Learn more about Windows Azure Blogs: Brian Hitney’s blog Peter Laudati’s blog Brady Gaster’s blog Virtual Labs: MSDN Virtual Labs: Windows Azure Download MP3 (Audio only) MP4 (iPod, Zune HD) High Quality MP4 (iPad, PC) Mid Quality MP4 (WP7, HTML5) High Quality WMV (PC, Xbox, MCE)

Microsoft DevRadio: How to Get Started with Windows Azure

Peter Laudati and I kick off our new Windows Azure series by giving us a tour of what’s new in Azure with Windows Azure Web sites, Virtual Machines and Mobile Services. Tune in as we provide a brief overview of Azure’s many services and features as well as how to get started with a free 90 day trial. After watching this video, follow these next steps: Step #1 – Start Your Free 90 Day Trial of Windows Azure Step #2 – Download the Tools for Windows 8 App Development Step #3 – Start building your own Apps for Windows 8 Subscribe to our podcast via iTunes, Zune, or RSS If you're interested in learning more about the products or solutions discussed in this episode, click on any of the below links for free, in-depth information: Websites: Learn more about Windows Azure Blogs: Brian Hitney’s blog Peter Laudati’s blog Virtual Labs: MSDN Virtual Labs: Windows Azure Download MP3 (Audio only) MP4 (iPod, Zune HD) High Quality MP4 (iPad, PC) Mid Quality MP4 (WP7, HTML5) High Quality WMV (PC, Xbox, MCE)

VS2012 Launch Event Materials

This post contains information and updates needed for the Visual Studio 2012 and Windows Azure launch events: Download for the Azure Track Hands on Labs:  http://bit.ly/vs2012azurelabs Windows Azure Free 90 Day Trial:  http://bit.ly/WAFreeTrial Windows Azure Benefits for MSDN Subscribers: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/member-offers/msdn-benefits/ Windows Azure SDK:  http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/net/ Updated Intro to Windows Azure Virtual Machines Hands On Lab: https://github.com/WindowsAzure-TrainingKit/HOL-IntroToWindowsAzureVirtualMachines/blob/master/Source/Assets/AzureStore/AzureStore.zip Windows Azure Mobile Services: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/mobile/ Windows Azure Pricing Calculator:  http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/ From 9/27/2012:  Here’s William’s VM Slide Deck: http://bthtemp.blob.core.windows.net/misc/Windows_Azure_IaaS_All-Up_Stand_Alone_Willbell.pptx

DevRadio Episode: #beatthegu at TechEd

Andrew, Peter, and myself in the latest DevRadio show! Abstract: In today’s episode Developer Evangelists Andrew Duthie, Brian Hitney and Peter Laudati recap the “Rock, Paper, Azure” – (#BeatTheGu) challenge from this year’s TechEd as well as how they built a Windows 8 App for the competition. Tune in for this lessons learned session on what considerations and features Andrew took into the design of the app. Next Steps: Step #1 – Download Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows 8 SDK Step #2 – Start building your own Metro Style Apps for Windows 8 Step #3 – Contact a Developer Evangelist in your area and get your Windows 8 App published! If you're interested in learning more about the products or solutions discussed in this episode, click on any of the below links for free, in-depth information: Websites: Getting started with Metro Style Apps How to Sell Your Apps and Make Money in the Windows Store Attend a Windows 8 Developer Camp and Hackathon in your area! Build your bot for the next “Rock Paper Azure” challenge Blogs & Articles: Andrew Duthie’s blog Brian Hitney’s blog Peter Laudati’s blog Windows 8: What I’ve Learned – Timers Using setTimeout in a Windows 8 app Videos: Microsoft DevRadio: Building and Publishing Great Apps in Windows 8 "The Windows 8 Platform Overview for Metro Style Apps" with Jerry Nixon “Windows Store and Building Metro Style Apps” with Michael Johnson, Jeremy Foster & Alice Pang “Metro Design & UI” with Jeremy Foster and Matt Harrington “Metro Development with JavaScript, XAML / C# with Michael Palermo and Jerry Nixon Download: MP3 (Audio only) MP4 (iPod, Zune HD) Mid Quality WMV (Lo-band, Mobile) High Quality MP4 (iPad, PC) Mid Quality MP4 (WP7, HTML5) High Quality WMV (PC, Xbox, MCE)

Using PowerShell to Manage Windows Azure Applications

I was recently asked to do a presentation on managing Windows Azure applications with PowerShell by the Charlotte PowerShell users group.   At first I was a bit unsure about doing the presentation – with Jim Christopher and Ed Wilson in the group as well as other PowerShell gurus, it can be tough to ramp up to a respectable level of knowledge.  But, these guys are awesome and Ed welcomed me to pen a blog post for them, so check it out on the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog. I learned a ton in the process.  While I knew there were the Azure PowerShell cmdlets to aid in virtually everything you  can do via the management interface, getting hands on and really putting it through the paces still wows me at what you can do with PowerShell. In the blog post, an sample website is deployed to two different datacenters, and then load balanced geographically using the Traffic Manager.  Instances can be easily altered, storage accounts created, etc.  And then, finishing it with only a few lines a code to tear it all down.    All in all, it integrates really nicely with any application lifecycle process. Check out the post and try the code out for yourself!

Windows Azure Dev Camps Soon!

It’s that time – Windows Azure Dev Camps are coming really soon.  Here’s the schedule: Date Location   May 24th, 2012 Alpharetta, GA Register May 30th, 2012 Reston, VA Register May 31st, 2012 Iselin, NJ Register We’re pretty excited to mix up the format a little, with some time to jump into some new areas we haven’t typically talked about in our previous shows: 1. The Azure Platform – An Overview (60 minutes) Let’s start off the day with a dive into Windows Azure. We’ll talk about what Windows Azure offers, from hosting applications to durable storage. We’ll look at Windows Azure roles types, hosting web applications and worker processes. We’ll also cover durable storage options, both traditional relational database that is offered as SQL Azure, or more cloud-centric offerings in Windows Azure Storage for files, semi-structured data, and queues. 2. Hands on @home with Azure (120 minutes) For this hands-on portion of the day, we’ll work on the @home with Windows Azure project. The @home project will give you a solid understanding of using Windows Azure in a project that contributes back to Stanford’s Folding@home distributed computing project. We’ll walk through the code, provisioning an account, and getting the application deployed and running. 3. Caching – A Scalable Middle Tier (45 minutes) Creating a stateless application is a difficult but fundamental aspect of building a scalable application in the cloud. In this session, we’ll talk about the Windows Azure Cache service and using it as a middle tier to maintain state and cache objects that can be shared by multiple instances. 4. SQL Azure, Data Sync, and Reporting (45 minutes) SQL Azure offers a scalable database as a service without having to configure and maintain hardware. We’ll look at the subtle differences between on premises SQL Server databases and SQL Azure, and how Data Sync can be used to synchronize data between multiple databases both in the cloud and on premises. We’ll also look at SQL Azure Reporting. 5. Windows 8 and Azure – Better Together (60 minutes) The consumer preview of Windows 8 is out, and it’s the perfect time to ramp up on developing native Metro-style applications. In this session, we’ll give an overview of Windows 8, and delivering a richer user experience by leveraging a cloud backend.

Windows Azure Trust Center

The Windows Azure team recently posted about the Windows Azure Trust Center.   One of the most frequent conversations that comes up when discussing moving applications to the cloud revolves around security and compliance, and it’s also one of the most challenging conversations to have.  What makes it particularly challenging is the fact that the responsibility of compliance is typically shared between the hardware, platform, and software. The site has a few sections that in particular drill down into security, privacy, and compliance related information.  Definitely good information to refer to when evaluating a move into the cloud!

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