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  • Blog Post: Cloud Computing Architecture Patterns: Don’t Focus on the Client

    Normally I try to put topics in the positive in other words "Do this" not "Don't do that". Sometimes its clearer to focus on what *not* to do. Popular development processes often start with screen mockups, or user input descriptions. In a scale-out pattern like Cloud Computing on Windows Azure, that...
  • Blog Post: Cloud Computing - just get started already!

    OK - you've been hearing about "cloud" (I really dislike that term, but whatever) for over two years. You've equated it with just throwing some VM's in some vendor's datacenter - which is certainly part of it, but not the whole story. There's a whole world of - wait for it - *coding* out there that you...
  • 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Creating a Distributed Computing System Using a Windows Azure Queue

    The Windows Azure Queue component, like all Windows Azure components (Roles, Storage, App Fabric, SQL Azure) can be used by itself or with other Windows Azure components. That’s why I refer to Windows Azure as “Distributed Computing” rather than “cloud”. Having a distributed off premise queue has a lot...
  • 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: 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: SQL Azure Use Case: Web-based Applications

    This is one in a series of posts on when and where to use a distributed architecture design in your organization's computing needs. You can find the main post here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/buckwoody/archive/2011/01/18/windows-azure-and-sql-azure-use-cases.aspx Description: Some applications lend themselves...
  • Blog Post: The Top-Five Most Valuable Development Team Positions

    In many organizations, there’s a push to save cost. “Cost” is an integral part of a profit-and-loss statement in the organization. Even if you work in a non-profit organization, cost control is central. Of course, you can take cost-control too far. You could, for instance, remove the...
  • Blog Post: Performance-Driven Development

    I was reading a blog yesterday about the evils of SELECT * . The author pointed out that it's almost always a bad idea to use SELECT * for a query, but in the case of SQL Azure (or any cloud database, for that matter) it's especially bad, since you're paying for each transmission that comes down the...
  • Blog Post: Agile isn’t always Agile

    I want to make a disclaimer before I dive into this topic – At Microsoft we use all kinds of development methodologies, and I’ve worked in lots of other shops using lots of methodologies. This is one of those “religious” topics like which programming language or database is best, and is bound to generate...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell PowerPack Download

    I read Jeffery Hicks’ article in this month’s Redmond Magazine on a new add-in for Windows PowerShell 2.0. It’s called the PowerShell Pack and it has a some great new features that I plan to put into place on my production systems as soon as I finished learning and testing them. You can download the...
  • Blog Post: Using linked servers, OPENROWSET and OPENQUERY

    SQL Server has a few mechanisms to reach out to another server (even another server type) and query data from within a Transact-SQL statement. Among them are a set of stored credentials and information (called a Linked Server ), a statement that uses a linked server called called OPENQUERY , another...
  • Blog Post: It’s OK to take a Shortcut Sometimes

    I was working this weekend with a fairly simple Excel spreadsheet, and I had to decompose one cell in it out to three columns in a SQL Server table. There are tools within SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) that should be able to do that, but I just couldn’t find my way around them properly. I’m...
  • Blog Post: Lessons from Volunteering

    Saturday I volunteered at a work-day at our church. Our building is one of the first buildings built in this area of Washington, so it’s a beautiful old structure, which of course means there’s lots of maintenance. I’m fairly decent with tools, I’ve done some woodworking in my day, and I’ve even rebuilt...
  • Blog Post: Code that Writes Code - A Good Idea or Not?

    I’m a big fan of code that writes code – most of the time. For instance, whenever you use the “templates” feature in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) or the Maintenance Wizard, you’re using code that writes other code. There’s even a trick of writing Transact-SQL (T-SQL) code that in turn creates...
  • Blog Post: Tools and Processes for “Fitting it all in”

    Most data professionals I’ve met work in two modes: we plan for our day, and we react to the situations around us. I’m staring at my list of things that I need to do today right now, which is my planned work. Of course, I have no idea how much of that will really get done – it’s optimistic to be sure...
  • Blog Post: The Database Design Process

    I need your help. I know how I create databases, and I’ve watched a lot of other data professionals follow their own processes for that, but I want to know how YOU do it. I’ve written about the process I follow for a complete database design on InformIT (use the "Next" button at the bottom of these...
  • Blog Post: Know Your Product Specifications

    As the Data Professional in your organization, the rest of the org looks to you to ensure that the system can handle what the business requires. To do that, you need to know two things: what the business requires, and what SQL Server can do. But of course there’s a bit more to it than that. Knowing the...
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