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  • Blog Post: Declarative Architectures in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

    I deal with computing architectures by first laying out requirements, and then laying in any constraints for it's success. Only then do I bring in computing elements to apply to the system. As an example, a requirement might be "world-side availability" and a constraint might be "with less than 80ms...
  • Blog Post: The Windows Azure Software Development Kit (SDK) and the Windows Azure Training Kit (WATK)

    Windows Azure is a platform that allows you to write software, run software, or use software that we've already written. We provide lots of resources to help you do that - many can be found right here in this blog series. There are two primary resources you can use, and it's important to understand what...
  • 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: Windows Azure Visio Shapes

    Normally when I diagram a solution for a customer, I use whatever they are comfortable with. I do most of my work these days in OneNote, especially when it’s an Architecture Design Session (ADS), since I can capture notes, handwriting, drawings, web pages, whiteboards, camera shots and even voice. In...
  • Blog Post: In the Cloud, Everything Costs Money

    I’ve been teaching my daughter about budgeting. I’ve explained that most of the time the money coming in is from only one or two sources – and you can only change that from time to time. The money going out, however, is to many locations, and it changes all the time. She’s made a simple debits and credits...
  • Blog Post: Creating a Corporate Data Hub

    The Windows Azure Marketplace has a rich assortment of data and software offerings for you to use – a type of Software as a Service (SaaS) for IT workers, not necessarily for end-users. Among those offerings is the “Data Hub” – a  codename for a project that ironically actually does what the codename...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure – Write, Run or Use Software

    Windows Azure is a platform that has you covered, whether you need to write software, run software that is already written, or Install and use “canned” software whether you or someone else wrote it. Like any platform, it’s a set of tools you can use where it makes sense to solve a problem...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure End to End Examples

    I’m fascinated by the way people learn. I’m told there are several methods people use to understand new information, from reading to watching, from experiencing to exploring. Personally, I use multiple methods of learning when I encounter a new topic, usually starting with reading a bit about the concepts...
  • 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: 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: Java Resources for Windows Azure

    Windows Azure is a Platform as a Service – a PaaS – that runs code you write. That code doesn’t just mean the languages on the .NET platform – you can run code from multiple languages, including Java. In fact, you can develop for Windows and SQL Azure using not only Visual Studio...
  • Blog Post: Big Data - A Microsoft Tools Approach

    (As with all of these types of posts, check the date of the latest update I’ve made here. Anything older than 6 months is probably out of date, given the speed with which we release new features into Windows and SQL Azure) I don’t normally like to discuss things in terms of tools. I find...
  • 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: Team Foundation Server (TFS) in the Cloud - My Experience So Far

    I recently joined a software development project that involves not only myself and other internal Microsoft employees, but a partner and a customer as well. We are building a hybrid solution that uses assets on premises as well as Windows Azure for processing. When we put the team together we picked...
  • 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: Cloud Computing In Action: How I work with Live Mesh, SkyDrive, and Office Live Workspace

    Recently I had an tweetversation with a couple of friends on some confusion around two of our products: SkyDrive and Live Mesh . Like most of our software, there’s no single way to do things. That can be a strength or it can cause that confusion. They asked if I would blog how I work with these two products...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Storage (WAS) Internals - Achieving Consistency

    Windows Azure Storage has three primary components - a Queue, a Binary Large Object (BLOB) store (two types of these), and Table Storage. Storage of data on-premises is fairly well understood - but there components of it that you may not consider. When you move to a distributed architecture, certain...
  • Blog Post: How Microsoft helps you NOT break your Windows Azure Application: Storage Services Versioning

    One of the advantages of using Windows Azure to run your code is that you don’t have to constantly manage upgrades on your platform. While that’s a big advantage indeed, it immediately brings up the question - how do the upgrades happen? Microsoft upgrades the Azure platform in periodic increments, and...
  • Blog Post: Developing a Cost Model for Cloud Applications

    Note - please pay attention to the date of this post. As much as I attempt to make the information below accurate, the nature of distributed computing means that components, units and pricing will change over time. The definitive costs for Microsoft Windows Azure and SQL Azure are located here, and are...
  • Blog Post: Windows Azure Use Case: Supplementing Infrastructure

    I’ve explained before that Windows Azure is a Platform as a Service - at its simplest, that means that you write software and Azure runs it for you. But what if you are a shop that normally buys “off the shelf” software, and the only software you write is an internal utility here and there - can you...
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