This week, many AIS team members are attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll be posting blog posts from each of them as they learn what’s new and what’s exciting during sessions, demonstrations and other conference highlights.

During the Microsoft SharePoint Conference keynote yesterday morning, there weren’t a lot of surprises (if you’ve been paying attention for the last few months, that is).  However, you can always learn something from the emphasis that Microsoft puts on certain topics.  The biggest “announcement” was that the enterprise features of Yammer are now included with Office 365 E Plans and SharePoint Online.  SharePoint 2013 also went up for sale (at least for some customers) yesterday. The rest is all about the cloud and apps.

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Video has become an integral part of our web experience.  This, coupled with the pervasiveness of connected and video capable devices, calls for an easy-to-use, flexible, reliable and scalable platform for hosting, processing and distributing media to anyone, anywhere, on any device.  The availability of Windows Azure Media Services (WAMS) Preview lets us explore a promising new platform which aims to bring us closer to that goal.  

Since WAMS is still in the preview release stage there are a few wrinkles in the platform that early adopters need to be aware of.  These issues should be corrected in upcoming releases but until then, there are a few alternate approaches that will help you get your media solution up and running with as little frustration as possible. In this post I will show you how to get video content hosted, encoded and delivered using the WAMS SDK and how to work around some of the quirks with the June 2012 Preview version.

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When it comes to Microsoft, people don’t generally think “Open Source” or “Linux Support”. But in recent years, Microsoft has come a long way. They’ve released many of their most commonly used frameworks under open source licenses, including ASP.NET MVC/Web API/Web Pages and Entity Framework!

Additionally, they’ve given first-class support for many non-Microsoft offerings, especially in Azure. Currently, this includes support in Azure for open source gems like Node.js, PHP, and, yes, even Linux. Heck, they even have an Openness logo:

In this post, I’ll walk you through setting up the Ubuntu Desktop on an Azure Virtual Machine and configure it so you can connect to it through Windows Remote Desktop. It’s a lot easier than you think!

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Thanks to everyone who joined us for AIS and Microsoft’s Introduction to Azure IaaS event last month. As promised (and for anyone who missed it), here’s the full presentation from Vishwas Lele and Jack O’Connell. Click through the slideshow below, and feel free to ask any follow-up questions in the comments or contact us.

If you’re in the Philadelphia area, Vishwas and Jack will be presenting this session again TOMORROW at Microsoft’s Malvern, PA office. All the details on that event can be found here. We hope to see you there, and please keep up with our Events Calendar for other presentations in your area.

I was recently asked to write my own custom performance metric and publish it to Amazon’s CloudWatch using PowerShell.

Part I: How do I get this thing running already?

I initially used this blog post as a general guide, but since I had some experience with PowerShell already, the real learning part for me was how to call the API through .NET. (There is a second part, which actually shows you how to publish the metric. Unfortunately, his test “Tutorial” namespace ended up in the wrong region [US East] as compared to my instance [US West Oregon].

I figured out the correct way to do this by teasing apart the free community scripts available on AWS, which I will discuss later (see Part 2).

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If you have found yourself thinking…

“We want the cloud to be a seamless extension of our data center, not a walled garden. We want to use our existing IT setup and tools (AD, SCOM etc.) to manage the on-premises and cloud-based applications.”

“We want seamlessly move virtual machines from on-premises to the cloud and back.”

“We want to start out by moving existing applications to the cloud without the need to change the applications in any way.”

…then our upcoming Introduction to Windows Azure IaaS session is for you.

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Another Friday, another great round of links and blogs from the AIS team:

The Case of the Case-Sensitive CustomFilter Refiner: If you’re setting up FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint and need a custom date refiner, you’ll want to read about Tim Larson’s experience before you run into trouble. (Code Thug)

My Favorite Visual Studio 2012 Extensions: In honor of the recent launch of Visual Studio 2012, Ryan Cromwell shares six of his can’t-live-without extensions. (cromwellhaus)

Protecting Your API Keys: How to hide your API keys in your Windows 8 app source code. (And what to do if you’ve already accidentally exposed them!) (tewari)

BizTalk 2012 R2 and REST Example Walkthrough: A nice simple walkthrough on how to configure BizTalk to expose an Orchestration as REST service and consume a REST service. (madhukar gilla)

Code Samples from TechGate Conference: In case you attended Steve Michelotti’s Azure presentation at the TechGate conference in Reston last weekend, code samples can be found via his blog. (Steve Michelotti)

Most cloud services require you to create a CNAME record for your custom domain in order to direct traffic to the cloud-hosted site. Your example.com site may actually be hosted at example.cloudapp.net. For on-premises hosting you would know the IP address of your server (or the load balancer) and can use an A record, but that is not the case on Azure or AWS: these require that pesky CNAME.

CNAME records don’t support naked domains. Your site has to be at www.example.com, it can’t be at simply example.com, the root, or apex, record of your domain. On the other hand, A records can only support IP addresses.

There are a number of solutions to this problem, so I’ll list some here:

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One day, not so very long ago, Kevin and Tom stopped by for a visit and asked me, “Can we build a low-cost Content Management System (CMS) on .NET that serves up audio and video content? The site also needs to sell access to the A/V content, and oh…the CMS users will be non-technical and it has to work on the iPad too.” I replied that of course we could build such a system and would get back to them with a plan.

Then I thought: What did I just promise?

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