Since PaaS and Windows Azure have both been in the news recently, thanks to a favorable report from Gartner, I thought it might be good timing to revisit a whitepaper I wrote on PaaS. 

There’s been a lot of talk about the different cloud-based services available today, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). While each of these services is unique, PaaS stands out from the mix. This is not to suggest that PaaS is somehow better than IaaS; that would be an improper comparison. In fact, as shown in the diagram below, PaaS simply builds on the capabilities offered by IaaS.

But if you are a developer, IT shop or an ISV responsible for building, deploying and maintaining solutions, leveraging PaaS is where you reap the maximum cloud-computing benefits. Read More…

AIS will be presenting a new series of Azure ‘n’ Action Café webinars in early 2014. We will have expert speakers offering new and exciting content in a convenient “lunch and learn” online format, one Wednesday a month, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST.

Our first presentation date is Wednesday, January 29. You won’t want to miss this session, as we’ll cover both updates to Azure and new ways to extend your data center.

In this session we will share an example Platform as a Service (PaaS) Web Role workload in Azure.  This workload will help you understand how Azure constructs can be used in support of different scenarios.

The workload we’ll discuss makes use of the following Constructs:

  • A private data center extended into multiple Azure Regional Data Centers (East Coast / West Coast) with IPSEC tunnels
  • The on-premises AD / DNS infrastructure extended into Azure IaaS
  • An on-premises SQL Server 2012 Server database supporting a High Availability Group (Synchronous) with a local primary and a remote secondary located in Azure IaaS
  • The PaaS Web Role Load Balanced across data centers using Azure Traffic Manager

Click here to register!

Our Windows Azure Media Services Manager (WAMS Manager) is a desktop-based application that makes it easy to upload, tag, encode and publish your media assets. It is designed to bring the benefits of Windows Azure Media Services to end users (typically business users responsible for managing media files) without the need to write any code.

(If you would rather skip the background and a high-level description of the overall architecture and simply get access to an evaluation copy of this tool, please email us directly.)

For everyone else, we are glad that you are taking the time to read this. Let’s start with some quick background…

Read More…

If you have a Web application that will receive even moderate traffic, you should probably perform some load testing. Load testing can help identify what your maximum operating capacity is, as well as any bottlenecks that might prevent you from reaching that capacity. Now I’m not going to do a deep-dive into load testing, but instead I’m going to show you how to use Team Foundation Service to perform that testing in the cloud.

I’m only going to use a couple of tools here. First, I’m using Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate. If you don’t yet have it, you can download a trial here. Second, I’ll be using Team Foundation Service. If you haven’t yet signed up for this, you should. There is a free offering (for up to five users) and the sign-up is quick and painless.

Since I don’t already have a project with load tests, I’m going to quickly step through creating one that we’ll use for our demo. Read More…

Have you ever wanted a fresh SharePoint development environment? Have you ever needed to quickly create a test box, or wanted to prototype something specifically for a customer? In the past, in all of these scenarios, you’d face a very time-consuming process and quite honestly, one that has likely been a deterrent. In this blog post, I’m going to walk you through creating a SharePoint 2013 development environment, on Azure, utilizing the Visual Studio 2013 RC.

Thanks to the good people at Microsoft, there is now a developer image on Azure that comes with SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate RC, already installed. Before we get too far along, I do have to warn you that you’ll need either an Azure or MSDN subscription. If you don’t have an Azure subscription, you can activate your MSDN Azure benefit and receive up to $150 USD in free, monthly Azure credits. If you are careful to shut down your VM at the end of each work day, then you should be able to use this VM as your day-to-day development machine without eating up all of your credits. Read More…

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 to manage on-premises and cloud-based applications.”

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

“We want to move 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.

This free half-day session is for anyone who wants to better understand the Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering. After a brief overview of the Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, we will focus on key IaaS concepts. Additionally, we will walk you through a number of scenarios enabled by Azure IaaS and several demonstrations. Learn about the new generally available features including virtual machines (with more size options), virtual networks, new image types (including SQL Server and BizTalk), lower pricing and much more. Read More…

Windows Azure BizTalk Services is a cloud-based integration service that provides Business-to-Business (B2B) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) capabilities for delivering cloud and hybrid integration solutions. With the latest release of Azure BizTalk Services, only the XML and text content-types are supported.

JSON, on the other hand, is getting ubiquitous, so this blog post describes on how to add support for JSON by extending the Azure BizTalk Bridges using the message inspectors. Some of the use cases might be interacting with a JSON-only endpoint like Azure Mobile Services, or for clients only interested in communicating via a JSON payload. Read More…

Let’s face it: Technology is migrating toward the cloud. Unless you have sensitive or secret data you can’t share with third parties, then you have no reason not to embrace it. In short, the cloud is affordable, effective, 99.9% available anywhere, has almost unlimited storage, and allows you to focus on matters other than keeping your network up-to-date — and all you need is an internet connection. Industry experts say that cloud computing will only continue to grow and expand over the next few years, which means companies will need to keep up, or get left behind.

The “Mobile Worker” (like you, maybe), is growing more dependent on answering emails and working on the go with a smartphone, tablet and laptop both outside and inside the office. With so many efficient devices and capabilities allowing coworkers to touch base at once, it would only make sense to have all of your data stored in one centralized location. Additionally, most cloud services, such as Windows Azure, provide a web interface. This means you can access your data on any device or platform that has internet capabilities. Read More…

The recent announcement about the general availability of Windows Azure IaaS comes with the following key enhancements:

  1. Remote PowerShell is enabled by default when deploying Virtual Machine using PowerShell.
  2. Availability of trial images such as SharePoint in the image gallery.

These enhancements make it easy to deploy a SharePoint Farm in an automated manner using PowerShell scripts.

The goal of this blog post is to walk you through such a script. Read More…

It was great fun presenting at Windows AzureConf 2013. I would like to thank the entire AzureConf team (Cory Fowler and Brady Gaster in particular) and my fellow speakers for their valuable feedback.

Click here to watch the video recording of my session on channel 9.

You can find recordings to all other sessions (including Scott Guthrie’s keynote) via this link.

Many of you asked me for a copy of the code I used during my session. You can find all my code snippets and slides here. (Of course this is just sample code so please treat it as such!)

Additionally, Pluralsight has graciously offered to make my newly-released Windows Azure IaaS Course for Developers available for FREE beginning Monday, April 29 at 9:00 a.m. MDT, and keep it freely available for 48 hours (ending 9:00 a.m. MDT on Wednesday, May 1). This is a three-hour course that goes in much more detail on the Windows Azure IaaS topics:

Windows Azure IaaS Course for Developers

Please feel free to send me additional questions via my Twitter account. Thanks!