Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

It's all about community!

June, 2012

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Learn Azure and Save a Life


    Folding@Home is a Stanford University research project into Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and many forms of cancer. Essentially it’s a distributed computing project (it probably could be classified as a useful SETI) where small units of work are farmed out to available computing resources.

    This kind of problem is one that’s ideally suited to Windows Azure (and other cloud platforms), so if you’d like to learn about the new Windows Azure Portal and potentially contribute to some life-saving research here’s all you need to do:

    1. Sign up for a 90-day trial at (you’ll need a credit card to prove who you are, but we won’t charge it unless you specifically give us permission to)
    2. Download the package from - extract the two files somewhere on your machine
    3. Create a storage account in the new portal called something unique
    4. Quick-Create a cloud service account in the new portal
    5. Add a new production deployment, call it something useful (for later reference) and upload the cspkg and cscfg files you extracted in (2) above
    6. Go to storage in the portal and click on your new storage account. Click the manage keys button in the app bar at the bottom and copy one of the keys to the clipboard
    7. Go to cloud services in the portal and click on your new cloud service. Click on the configure tab
    8. Scroll down to the athomewebrole settings. Update the dataconnectionstring setting, replace {name} with your storage account name (from (3)) and {key} with the key you copied in (6). Save.
    9. Wait a couple of minutes (probably about 120 sec)
    10. Go to cloud services in the portal and click on your cloud service’s url
    11. You should see something like this:
    12. Click start folding and you’re away.
    13. After about 10 minutes check back at your folding url and you should see some progress:

    Look at you - saving the world.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    DDD Melbourne Announced for 28 July plus Call for Speakers


    DDD Melbourne 2012 has been announced and the call for speakers has opened. If you’re a developer in Melbourne (or are happy to travel for an excellent event), check it out.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Windows Azure - When do I use What?



    At this week’s Azure Dev Camp in Sydney, I showed a slide with suggestions as to when you’d use Windows Azure Web Sites, when you’d use Windows Azure Cloud Services, and when you’d use Windows Azure Virtual Machines. I pinched the slide from Yochay Kiriaty and Craig Kitterman’s TechEd US Session “Windows Azure Websites: Under The Hood (AZR305)”, which is well worth a watch by the way.

    I’ve had a few questions and a couple of requests to post the slide, so here it is (reformatted for the blog format)

    Windows Azure Web Sites are ideal for

    • Modern web apps
      Perfect if your app consists of client side markup and scripting, server side scripting and a database. Powerful capability to scale out and up as needed.
    • Continuous development
      Deploy directly from your source code repository, using Git or Team Foundation Service.
    • Popular open source apps
      Launch a professional looking site with a few clicks using apps like WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, DotNetNuke and Umbraco

    Windows Azure Cloud Services (Web Role) are ideal for

    • Multi-tier applications
      Cloud-based applications that separate application logic into multiple tiers (i.e. caching middle tier, asynchronous background processes like order processing) using both Web and Worker Roles  
    • Apps that require advanced administration
      Cloud-based applications that require admin access, remote desktop access or elevated permissions
    • Apps that require advanced networking
      Cloud-based applications that require network isolation for use with Windows Azure Connect or Windows Azure Virtual Network

    Windows Azure Virtual Machines are ideal for

    • Enterprise server applications
      Run your existing enterprise applications in the cloud, such as SQL Server, SharePoint Server or Active Directory.
    • Porting existing line of business apps
      Choose an image from the library or upload your own VHD.
    • Windows or Linux operating system
      Support for Windows Server, along with community and commercial versions of Linux. Connect virtual machines with cloud services to take full advantage of PaaS services.
  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Windows Azure Platform Training Kit Updated



    The June 2012 update of the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit is now available for download.

    From the download page:

    The June 2012 update of the Windows Azure Training Kit includes over 42 hands-on labs and 18 presentations. Some of the updates in this version include:

    • 12 new hands-on labs for Windows Azure Virtual Machines
    • 11 new hands-on labs for Windows Azure Web Sites
    • 2 new hands-on labs demonstrating Windows Azure with Windows 8 Metro-style applications
    • Several new hands-on labs for Node.js and PHP using Mac OS X
    • Updated content for the latest Windows Azure SDKs, tools, and new Windows Azure Management Portal
    • New and updated presentations designed to support individual sessions to a full 3 day training workshops

    Grab it now!

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Win a Nokia 710 while Learning Windows Azure


    In addition to the Windows Azure Meetups in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth this month, the folk at Lifehacker are running a competition in which you can win one of four Nokia 710 Windows Phones between now and June 26, and you get to dip your toe in the Azure water as well. Of course, if you're already a gun Azure developer, then the challenges will be even easier.

    You have to be an Australian resident to enter. Full details here.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Excellent Windows Azure Intro Videos


    I just stumbled across some excellent introductory videos which Steve Marx did while he was at Microsoft. They provide a short explanation behind some of the Azure concepts including:

    What is Windows Azure?

    What is SQL Azure?

    What are the Access Control and Service Bus?

    What is the Windows Azure Platform?

    Check them out.

  • Andrew Coates ::: MSFT

    Cool Azure InfoGraphic


    The Azure marketing folk here in Australia have produced this cool infographic talking about how the cloud is changing the job market and how to take advantage of the opportunities the cloud provides with Windows Azure.

    Check out the graphic below, and sign up for a trial of Windows Azure. Of course, if you want to have a project to work towards as well, you could try the Windows Azure Challenges (and, if you’re an Australian resident, go in the running to win one of four Nokia 710 Windows Phones).

    Windows Azure Jobs and Revenue Growth 

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