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  • Blog Post: Successful Cloud Projects Start With The Plumbing

    (Note - I'll add to this post as new information is updated - latest post date is August 8th, 2013) I've been working on cloud projects of all types for over three years now. Along the way, I've learned some basic patterns that make for a successful project - and also the things to avoid. The general...
  • Blog Post: Creating a Windows Azure Virtual Machine - the RIGHT Way

    Windows Azure has added Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), the ability to deploy, run and manage Virtual Machines, to its growing list of services . You can create Virtual Machines from a gallery, upload them from images you create locally on Hyper-V (that's right, you can do that, even from PowerShell...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Virtual Machines - Make Sure You Follow the Documentation

    To create a Windows Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service Virtual Machine you have several options. You can simply select an image from a “Gallery” which includes Windows or Linux operating systems, or even a Windows Server with pre-installed software like SQL Server. One of the advantages...
  • Blog Post: High Availability for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS in the Cloud

    Outages, natural disasters and unforeseen events have proved that even in a distributed architecture, you need to plan for High Availability (HA). In this entry I'll explain a few considerations for HA within Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service ...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Database (SQL Azure) Development Tip

    When you create something in the cloud, it's real, and you're charged for it. There are free offerings, and you even get free resources with your Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscription, but there are limits within those. Creating a 1 GB database - even with nothing in it - is a 1 GB Database...
  • Blog Post: The Importance of Paranoia for the Technical Professional

    I recently read a blog post from a technical professional who’s account had been hacked ( http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/all/ ) – not because he used poor passwords or unsafe practices, but because the hackers used some social engineering to get around...
  • Blog Post: Book Review (Book 11) - Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform

    This is a continuation of the books I challenged myself to read to help my career - one a month, for year. You can read my first book review here , and the entire list is here . The book I chose for April 2012 was: Applied Architecture Patterns on the Microsoft Platform . I was traveling at the end of...
  • Blog Post: Preparation is key to a successful cloud deployment

    If you want to be wise, watch the actions and outcomes of others. Emulate the successful actions, and avoid the actions that cause failure. That’s true in life in general - and in technology projects in specific.  I’ve worked with several clients who have created or migrated an application to “the...
  • Blog Post: I was going to call this post “Windows Azure Best Practices” but I’m not allowed to

    For reasons I don't completely understand, I'm not allowed to call the following advice "Best Practices" - apparently there is some liability or something there. So let's say these are "really good ideas" for developing applications for Windows Azure. (Did you see how I worked it...
  • Blog Post: Pay in the future should make you think in the present

    Distributed Computing - and more importantly “-as-a-Service” models of computing have a different cost model. This is something that sounds obvious on the surface but it’s often forgotten during the design and coding phase of a project. In on-premises computing, we’re used to purchasing a server and...
  • Blog Post: “I could use a little help here” or “I can do it myself, thank you” for Cloud Projects

    Windows Azure allows you to write code in languages within the .NET stack, you can use Java, C++, PHP, NodeJS and others. Code is code - other than keeping things stateless, using a Web or Worker Role in Azure is not all that different from working with an on-premises system. However…. Working in a scalable...
  • Blog Post: Why do I need two Instances in Windows Azure?

    Windows Azure as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) means that there are various components you can use in it to solve a problem: Compute “Roles” - Computers running an OS and optionally IIS - you can have more than one "Instance" of a given Role Storage - Blobs, Tables and Queues for...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Computing Patterns: Using Data Transaction Commitment Models for Design

    There are multiple ways to store data in a cloud provider, specifically around Windows and SQL Azure. As part of a “Data First” architecture design, one decision vector – assuming you’ve already done a data classification of the elements you want to store – is to decide...
  • Blog Post: Application Lifecycle Management Overview for Windows Azure

    Developing in Windows Azure is at once not that much different from what you’re familiar with in on-premises systems, and different in significant ways. Because of these differences, developers often ask about the specific process to develop and deploy a Windows Azure application - more formally called...
  • Blog Post: Bug-Out Bags and Cloud Architecture Considerations

    I served in the U.S. Military for a while, and as part of my training we had to maintain a “Bug-Out Bag”, which was a large duffle-bag full of certain items that we could live on/fight with in an emergency. I’ve carried the spirit of that idea forward with me into civilian life, in Florida and especially...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Best Practices: Affinity Groups

    When you create a Windows Azure application, you’ll pick a subscription to put it under. This is a billing container - underneath that, you’ll deploy a Hosted Service. That holds the Web and Worker Roles that you’ll deploy for your applications. Along side that, you use the Storage...
  • Blog Post: Rip and Replace or Extend and Embrace?

    As most of you know, I don’t like the term “cloud” very much. It isn’t defined, which means it can be anything. I prefer “distributed computing”, which is more technically accurate and describes what you’re doing in more concrete terms. So when you think about...
  • Blog Post: Plan for Diagnostics in Cloud Computing From the Git-Go

    “Git-Go” is something we say in the South that means “right at the start”. I’ve seen several applications for on-premise systems that don’t have much in the way of diagnostics - the developers rely on a debugger, the event logs on the server and client workstation, and most of all, the ability to watch...
  • Blog Post: How I Prepare For Presentations, And My Speaking Schedule For This Quarter

    I do a little speaking here and there and I’ve been asked about the method I use to get ready for a talk. I thought I might share the method I use, although as you read through this remember that not everyone has the same style, processes and procedures they use. As long as you feel prepared when you...
  • Blog Post: Should All Data Be Encrypted By Default?

    Recently several IT industry information outlets have reported that there has been a 10-year concentrated, organized effort on breaking through computer security at some of the largest companies in the world. Government sites have also been attacked in multiple countries. Add to this the regular loss...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Security Review

    Current as of 08/01/2011 - Check the Resources listed below for more up-to-date information on this topic Background: Security for any computing platform involves three primary areas: Principals (users or programmatic access to an asset or other program) Securables (objects, data or programs that can...
  • Blog Post: The Conundrum of Cloud Computing Evidence

    “Who is using Windows Azure? How are they doing it?” I get asked this all the time as I speak to our clients when we mention Windows or SQL Azure as a possible solutions to an architectural problem the company has. I completely understand the question. I’ve worked far longer outside of Microsoft than...
  • Blog Post: Using the @ in SQL Azure Connections

    The other day I was working with a client on an application they were changing to a hybrid architecture – some data on-premise and other data in SQL Azure and Windows Azure Blob storage. I had them make a couple of corrections - the first was that all communications to SQL Azure need to be encrypted...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Computing and the Importance of Code Diagrams

    Most mature development shops use various code diagrams to give a symbolic representation of high-level and database code structures. Standards such as Business Process Model Notation (BPMN), Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD) and the Unified Modeling Language (UML) are a few I use all the time. In the...
  • Blog Post: Testing and Validation – You Really Do Have The Time

    One of the great advantages in my role as a Technical Specialist here at Microsoft is that I get to work with so many great clients. I get to see their environments and how they use them, and the way they work with SQL Server. I’ve been a data professional myself for many years. Over that time I’ve worked...
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