Today I decided to work through some of the Virtual Labs that we have for our internal technical employees and chose one on Cloud Services.   I know what these are, but in the role I’ve been in for the past few years I’ve been pitching them at a higher level but never actually got my hands dirty which I feel is the only way to really understand what some of the lower level terminology is and conceptually map them to something familiar.  For example, I’ve known of Web and Worker roles for a number of years, but wanted to understand them more, as well as to polish up the coding chops which have been a bit neglected of late.

By coincidence I found an internet version of the lab tweaked for wider consumption here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brunoterkaly/archive/2014/03/01/introduction-to-cloud-services-the-platform-as-a-service-lab.aspx

I went through the examples they gave which were straightforward and all worked, and finished my session by creating a complete local cloud service from scratch with a Web Role (with Web Form frontend) and a Worker Role that did a little static counter thing.  I used Visual Studio Express for Web 2013.  After building my project locally, I went through some similar steps to those in the article to actually publish it to my Azure account on a staging environment, then swapped it into production which was all very easy with the management portal.