Brian Hitney

developing on the microsoft stack

Posts
  • Brian Hitney

    Debugging and Troubleshooting in the Cloud

    Thursday, April 5th, at noon, we’ll be having our second from the last @home webcast , this time focusing on debugging and diagnostics in the cloud.   While a lot of what we show is in the context of our @home app… … much of what we’ll be doing is fairly general in nature, especially some of the diagnostics material we’ll be covering this week.  From this week’s abstract: In this third webcast episode, we talk about debugging your application. We look at debugging locally and how the emulator...
  • Brian Hitney

    Getting Started with the Windows Azure Cache

    Windows Azure has a great caching service that allows applications (whether or not they are hosted in Azure) to share in-memory cache as a middle tier service.  If you’ve followed the ol’ Velocity project , then you’re likely aware this was a distributed cache service you could install on Windows Server to build out a middle tier cache.  This was ultimately rolled into the Windows Server AppFabric , and is (with a few exceptions) the same that is offered in Windows Azure. The problem with a traditional...
  • Brian Hitney

    Antimalware in the Windows Azure

    On most (or perhaps even all?) of the production servers I’ve worked on, antivirus/antimalware detection apps are often not installed for a variety of reasons – performance, risk of false positives or certain processes getting closed down unexpectedly, or the simple fact most production machines are under strict access control and deployment restrictions. Still, it’s a nice option to have, and it’s now possible to set this up easily in Windows Azure roles.   Somewhat quietly, the team released a CTP...
  • Brian Hitney

    Webcast: Intro to @home with Windows Azure

    Tomorrow (Thursday, 3/15/2012) at noon ET or 9am PT, we have our first screencast in the @home series:  an introduction to the @home distributed computing project ! This is the first in a series where we’ll dive into various aspects of Windows Azure – in this first webcast, we’ll keep it 100 level, discussing the platform, how to get started, and what the project is about.  From the abstract page: In this 100-level webcast, we introduce Windows Azure. We look at signing up a new account, evaluate the...
  • Brian Hitney

    Launching “Learn the Cloud, Make a Difference” DC Effort

    Two years ago, Jim O’neil and I developed a quick Azure training program called “@home with Windows Azure” – a way to learn Windows Azure and have some fun contributing to a well known distributed computing effort, Folding@home .  A few months later, Peter Laudati joined the cloud team and we developed the game RockPaperAzure .   RockPaperAzure was a lot of fun and is still active, but we decided to re-launch the @home with Windows Azure project because of all of the changes in the cloud since...
  • Brian Hitney

    SQL Azure Pricing Changes

    SQL Azure just got some better pricing!  Here are the details: Database Size Price Per Database Per Month 0 to 100 MB Flat $4.995 Greater than 100 MB to 1 GB Flat $9.99 Greater than 1 GB to 10 GB $9.99 for first GB, $3.996 for each additional GB Greater than 10 GB to 50 GB $45.954 for first 10 GB, $1.998 for each additional GB Great than 50 GB to 150 GB $125.874 for first 50 GB, $0.999 for each additional GB Notice the new 0 to 100 MB tier – finally, a good option for small databases, utility databases...
  • Brian Hitney

    One Azure Web Role, Multiple Websites

    Windows Azure has been capable of running multiple websites in a single web role for some time now, but I found myself recently in a situation with 2 separate Azure solutions and was looking to combine them to create a single deployment.   Just like in IIS, this is most often done via host headers, so requests coming in can be forwarded to the correct site. The Goal The fine folks at infragistics created a really cool Silverlight-based reporting dashboard for Worldmaps .  Until now, each was running...
  • Brian Hitney

    Funniest Slide Header I’ve Seen in a Long Time…

    Credit to a colleague for this slide, but for those who follow Microsoft’s cloud platform might get this reference:
  • Brian Hitney

    Just One More Week To Enter The Rock Paper Azure Fall Sweepstakes!

    Week #3 of the Rock Paper Azure Challenge ended at 6pm EST on 12/9/2011. That means another five contestants just won $50 Best Buy gift cards! Congratulations to the following players for having the Top 5 bots for Week #3: AmpaT choi Protist RockMeister porterhouse Just a reminder to folks in the contest, be sure to catch Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, and Mark Russinovich live online next Tuesday, 12/13/2011, for the Learn Windows Azure event ! Does your bot have what it takes to win? There is one more week...
  • Brian Hitney

    Music Library Synchronization, Sonos Tips

    I love Windows Home Server.   I’ve been using Windows Home Server for years, and just purchased a Windows Home Server 2011 (WHS) box from Newegg (great deal on a HP Proliant micro server).  Many have asked me why I like WHS so much – it’s NAS, it’s a media server, it’s backup.   It’s a step up from a simple NAS device (although, admittedly, not as plug and play), offers more flexibility and is more cost effective than a Drobo.  A small backup agent can take snapshots of your PC...
  • Brian Hitney

    Azure Camps Coming Soon!

    Jim , Peter , and I are gearing up for another road trip to spread the goodness that is Windows Azure! The Windows Azure DevCamp series launched recently with a two-day event in Silicon Valley, and we’re jumping on the bandwagon for the East Region. We have five stops planned in December, and we’re doing things a bit differently this go-round. Most of the events will begin at 2 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. – with dinner in between of course. The first part will be a traditional presentation format and then we’re bringing...
  • Brian Hitney

    Rock, Paper, Azure is back…

    Rock, Paper, Azure (RPA) is back!   For those of you who have played before, be sure to get back in the game !  If you haven’t heard of RPA, check out my past posts on the subject .   In short, RPA is a game that we built in Windows Azure.  You build a bot that plays a modified version of rock, paper, scissors on your behalf, and you try to outsmart the competition.  Over the summer, we ran a Grand Tournament where the first place prize was $5,000!   This time, we...
  • Brian Hitney

    Geo-Load Balancing with the Azure Traffic Manager

    One of the great new features of the Windows Azure platform is the Azure Traffic Manager, a geo load balancer and durability solution for your cloud solutions.  For any large website, managing traffic globally is critical to the architecture for both disaster recovery and load balancing. When you deploy a typical web role in Azure, each instance is automatically load balanced at the datacenter level.   The Azure Fabric Controller manages upgrades and maintenance of those instances to ensure uptime...
  • Brian Hitney

    CodeMastery This Weekend in Atlanta

    Chris Williams just let me know about an event happening in Atlanta this Saturday, Oct 8 … and it’s free!  Free is good.   Check it out here: http://codemastery.eventbrite.com/ Sessions: 1. CSLA .NET intro - Rocky Lhotka Topic will give attendees a high level overview of CSLA as an application framework. Key moving parts of CSLA will be covered, along with answering the most important question: Why use CSLA? Roles of business objects, data portal, rules, authentication and authorization will be...
  • Brian Hitney

    Use the Windows Azure CDN for Assets

    The most common response to running stuff in the cloud (Azure, Amazon in particular) is the that it’s too expensive for the little guy.   And generally, hosting VMs when a small shared site of something similar will suffice is a tough argument. There are aspects to Azure, though, that are very cost effective as they do “micro-scale” very well.  A good example of this is the Azure CDN, or more simply, Azure Blob Storage.   It’s effective to exchange files, it’s effective at fast delivery...
  • Brian Hitney

    Azure and Phone … Better Together

    We had an excellent time presenting today’s Windows Phone Camp in Charlotte. Thank you to everyone who attended. Here are some resources and major points of today’s “To the cloud…” session. First, here is the slide deck for the presentation.  To The Cloud... Next, download the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone . This contains both the sending notifications sample, and the Babelcam application. Note that there are quite a few setup steps – using the Web Platform Installer is a great way to make all...
  • Brian Hitney

    Summer of Sound

    Once or twice a year, I try to take on a project around the house and bring it to a full 80% completion before abandoning for a few years.  In this case, I decided to install some sound around the home.  It was frustrating me to not be able to listen to my favorite music around the home (without dragging around gear), particularly when experiencing nice whole-home audio solutions at some friends’ homes.  The big problem is that there are very few good audio systems for retrofit installations. ...
  • Brian Hitney

    Windows PhoneCamps

    From MSDN events, to roadshows, to firestarters … Now on to Camps … and just got word about the upcoming Windows Phone camps… What’s a Windows Phone Camp? For those who went to our "Windows Phone Garage" series last year, its one of those. For those new to the scene, its a free, full day event chocked full of everything you need to know to develop a Windows Phone application. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just getting started with phone app development this full-day event is for you. Interested...
  • Brian Hitney

    RPA Grand Tournament Complete!

    We had a GREAT time running the RockPaperAzure Grand Tournament Wednesday.  We had a total of 302 players from around the world, and the top players in the finals were: We saw some amazing strategies, and learned a lot along the way.  We intend to keep the site running with more contests along the way – if you have any interest in running a competition for a user group, conference, or other activity, we’d be happy to create a round for you on the site.  Contact us for info. Server Load Nothing...
  • Brian Hitney

    Top Reasons for Bot Rejection

    Just a quick tip for those in the Grand Tournament.  There are 2 very common reasons we’re seeing bots get rejected – we’ll call it the red text of death that appears when you submit a bot, but it fails code analysis.  If all you see is “ Bot Successfully Uploaded,” then move along, nothing to see here. The most common are coders adding debugging statements into their code.  We do block the Diagnostics namespace (among a few others), so it’s quite likely any debugging code will trigger a failure...
  • Brian Hitney

    Folding@home with the SMP Client in Windows Azure

    Want to run @home with Azure for another team or use a more powerful CPU? For the true geeks out there, running the Folding@home client involves tweaking, high performance computing, and knowing the difference between the GPU and CPU clients.  We heard from a couple of folks about maximizing their Windows Azure usage, and Jim made some changes to the client piece to accommodate.  In truth, we did a little of this last time we ran @home, but we didn’t draw much attention to it for fear it would just...
  • Brian Hitney

    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...
  • Brian Hitney

    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...
  • Brian Hitney

    Getting an App in the Windows Store: What, Why, and How

    My colleague Andrew put together a great post on the Windows Store, developing for Windows 8, and what you need to know to get started – including some great ways to get hands on experience.  By now, most developers are aware that Windows 8 is available in a consumer preview , with a new release coming in early June.  Windows 8 not only presents developers with a new environment, it also presents a new distribution channel via the Windows Store.   Let’s dive into things: What The "What"...
  • Brian Hitney

    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...
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