You’re seeing lots of buzz this week of about TechDays 2011. Why? Simple. It is going to be great! So far this week, you’ve heard about the keynotes, as well as about the Windows Client and Phone and Developer Tools, Languages, and Frameworks tracks. Today, I’d like to introduce you to my personal favourite track (obviously, being the Cloud Guy), Cloud Computing and Online Services.

The Cloud Computing and Online Services track is all about making sense of what the “Cloud” actually means and how you get onboard.

The Cloud Computing and Online Services Track Teaser

With sessions like the ones below, you'll leave TechDays knowing and understanding the fundamentals of Windows and SQL Azure - how to build solutions that leverage Windows Azure in the most optimized and cost-effective ways, how to address security and privacy concerns of the Cloud, how to migrate existing applications to the Cloud, and lastly, how to extend the features of Office and Office 365 into the Cloud. Flipping to the other side of the equation, you’ll also have sessions that look at the Cloud from an infrastructure perspective. You’ll learn how to best deploy applications to the Cloud and ways to manage them in a production environment.

The Cloud Computing and Online Services Sessions

CLD301 - Migrating Applications to the Cloud
Migrating applications to Windows Azure has the potential to help lower costs, reduce management overhead and dramatically improve scalability. This session will give you insights into choosing which applications are suitable for migration, how to map existing technologies to their Cloud equivalents, and how to overcome common migration challenges.

CLD302 - Windows Azure Storage: Getting Started and Best Practices
Windows Azure Storage provides a scalable and reliable storage service in the Cloud for BLOBs, tables, queues, and drives. In this session, you will learn when to use and how to use each Windows Azure Storage service and how you can utilize the services whether your applications are running in Windows Azure or elsewhere. Best practices for optimizing Windows Azure Storage will also be discussed.

CLD303 - Deploying and Managing Applications on the Windows Azure Platform
This session takes a look at the Windows Azure Platform from an Operations Management perspective and is suitable for infrastructure pros as well as developers. You will be given a brief overview the Windows Azure Platform and then deep dive into the operations management of production Windows Azure-based application. If you have wondered about facets of Windows Azure-based applications such as how to know if a deployed application is healthy, how many instances are needed and when, when to scale up, will auto-patching break the application, etc., this session is for you. Getting an application into Windows Azure is the first step, running it efficiently for the next X years is another.

CLD304 - Building Office 365 Solutions with Windows Azure
Windows Azure, along with Office 365, is redefining business applications by moving them to the Cloud. However, the transition cannot happen overnight. With so many options available as part of the Windows Azure Platform (AppFabric Service Bus, Azure Connect, VM roles, etc.) many are trying to figure out the best strategy to bridge both worlds. This session provides an overview of the different technologies and will show you, through various demos of SharePoint Online, how you can use them to transition your business applications to the Cloud.

CLD305 - SQL Azure: Key Features, Migration, and Synchronization Strategies
Jam-packed with hands-on demos, this session will get you familiar with the key features of SQL Azure and the tools you will use to work with it. Then, you will learn about the fundamentals of migrating data back and forth from on-premises and the Cloud. You will go over scenarios that easily enable data migration and synchronization between SQL Azure and SQL Server.

CLD306 – To Cloud or Not to Cloud
To Cloud or Not to Cloud…that is the question. Are you an IT Administrator, IT Service Provider, or ISV faced with making a strategic decision about cloud adoption? Are you overwhelmed by all the cloud jargon and implementation choices? In this session, we will examine public and private cloud computing solutions across the industry, in the context of the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) definition. We'll look at the technical and business elements that factor into the private/public/hybrid cloud decision. We'll discuss the strengths of the Microsoft platform, focusing on Windows Azure and virtualization with Hyper-V. This session will include a case study of a 13-year managed service provider that made the decision to offer a public cloud solution on Azure, and a live demo of the resulting solution.

CLD307 - Windows Azure Security, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud
Security is one of the biggest concerns organizations have with consuming services or hosting their systems in the cloud. In this session we will look at some of the security risks involved when considering cloud computing, as well as how you, as a developer, can mitigate these risks in Windows Azure.

CLD210 - Office 365 versus Google Apps - The Elephant in the Room
Attend this session to learn how Google Apps compares to Microsoft Office 365. This session is a no-nonsense comparison that showcases the pros and cons of each offering. Walk away with knowledge on how you can migrate from Google Apps for Business to Microsoft Office 365 with relative ease. This session will also provide tips and tricks to make the migration smoother.

Next Steps

Hopefully, by now, you’re intrigued. Here’s what you need to do. First, head over to the TechDays site and register to attend TechDays in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal. Make sure to do so today so that you can take advantage of the Early Bird prices in effect until October 11, 25, and November 8 respectively.

Then, to get the most out of the Cloud Computing and Online Services track:

  1. Sign up for a FREE Windows Azure account beforehand. Once your account is setup, you’ll be able to follow along with the demos and fully participate in the instructor-led and self-paced hands-on labs.
  2. Download the Windows Azure SDK and prepare your development environment on your laptop. Make sure to bring your laptop with you.
  3. Download the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit and review the presentation content if you’d like to get a head start on the basics.

There are many conversations happening right now around TechDays in the Canadian Developer Connection LinkedIn group. Join the conversation.

I look forward to seeing you at TechDays in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Online (starting December 2011).