June, 2012

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Migrating HTML5-based applications to Windows Phone overnight with Apache Cordova and jQuery Mobile

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    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., the Apache Cordova team and the JQueryMobile team recently met with over 20 top PhoneGap/Apache Cordova developers for a Hackathon in San Francisco to gather feedback on building HTML5 applications running on Windows Phone with Apache Cordova and the jQuery Mobile theme for Windows Phone (Metro style). The Windows Phone team also joined the party, asking developers about their HTML5 and Javascript experiences on top of the Windows Phone Web Browser control.

    While some of the developers had backgrounds in start-ups and others were independent developers, every attendee had one thing in common: all of them had PhoneGap/Cordova applications published on Android and/or iPhone platforms. During the event, using Apache Cordova and jQuery Mobile, we helped attendees migrate their HTML5-based applications to Windows Phone. For many of the attendees, this was their first time to work with Windows Phone. The energy at the event was amazing as developers got to experience first-hand the ease of integrating Apache Cordova and jQuery Mobile with Windows Phone.

    You can read the report on the event from Jesse and Steve from the Apache Cordova team here.

    After a few hours of learning Visual Studio Express for Phone, coding and eating pizza, the first demos of HTML5 applications running on Windows Phone started to pop up. Developers saw their applications running on their new Windows Phone devices, which they received as part of the event along with AppHub tokens for them to publish applications on the Windows Phone marketplace.

    Developers from Learnzapp, with no previous experience on Windows Phone development, migrated their Cordova/JQuery Mobile Law School Admission Test application to Windows Phone and applied the jQuery Mobile theme for Windows Phone (Metro style) to their HTML5 controls in only a few hours. Those developers plan to submit the application to the Windows Phone marketplace in the next few days. You can read their own report on the event on their blog. Below is a screenshot of the LSAT application running on an Android device, a Windows Phone and an iPhone.

    image

    Developers from Tiggzi, delivering a cloud based Builder for HTML5, jQuery Mobile and Apache Cordova applications, kicked off the addition of Windows Phone to the list of platforms their tool targets. They announced the added support for Windows Phone earlier this month, only 3 weeks after the event.

    The event was a success not only because developers left the Hackathon with functional HTML5-based Windows Phone applications, after migrating their applications in a single night, but also because experienced developers helped us identify the key aspects of the migration process which will enable making the HTML5 and Javascript development for Windows Phone even better.

    We want to thank everyone who attended the event, and look forward to further engagement with this community. Be sure to take a look at the video below to see a short demo of an HTML5 application development with Apache Cordova, jQuery Mobile and the new jQuery Mobile theme for Windows Phone (Metro style).

    To learn more about HTML5 and JavaScript development for Windows Phone, visit this page where you will find related resource, articles and tutorials.

    Abu Obeida Bakhach
    Program Manager
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
    A subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Windows Azure Command-Line Tool for Mac and Linux

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    Yesterday, Bill Laing of the Windows Azure team announced support for virtual machines running the Windows Server operating system as well as Linux distros such as Ubuntu, CentOS, and OpenSUSE. Now you can run existing Linux payloads on Windows Azure virtual machines, with no need to change any of your code. This capability makes Windows Azure a great platform for IaaS deployment of applications that run on Windows or Linux servers. You can find more information about what's new in Windows Azure on Scott Guthrie's blog post today and the MeetWindowsAzure event that he'll be kicking off this afternoon.

    There are two ways to work with the new virtual machine and web site capabilities of Windows Azure: through the management portal, or at the command line. This article covers the concepts behind the command-line tool, but those who prefer to use a GUI can also provision web sites and deploy Windows or Linux virtual machines from the Windows Azure portal. An easy-to-use GUI takes you through every step of the process.

    Many developers prefer the power and flexibility of command-line tools, however, which can be automated via a scripting language. If you’re working exclusively on Windows machines, the Windows PowerShell cmdlets  are your best option, but for mixed environments, the Windows Azure command-line tool for Mac and Linux provides a consistent experience across Linux, Mac OS, and Windows desktops.

    Installation of the command line tool is very simple. If you’re working on a Mac OS X machine, you can use the Mac installer, and for Windows or Linux you’ll just need to install the latest version of Node.js and then type this command.

    npm install azure --global

    That will install the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js, which includes the command-line tool. Alternatively, you can download the command line tools or the Windows PowerShell cmdlets from this download page.

    To verify that you have the tool installed and ready to use, type the command azure --help and you‘ll see the output shown to the right. This screen tells you which version of the tool you’re using, and how to get information about each of the commands.

    The first thing to understand is the basic structure of the commands. In general terms, you type azure followed by a topic (what you’re working with), a verb (what to do), and various optional parameters to provide additional information. Here’s a diagram that provides a general framework for understanding the command-line syntax.

    Some commands have other required command-line parameters in addition to what’s shown here. For more information about specific command syntax, see the reference documentation.

    The command-line tool allows you to provision new web sites and virtual machines, and that activity needs to be associated with a Windows Azure subscription. So before you start using the tool, you’ll need to download a publish settings file from the Windows Azure portal and then import it as a local configuration setting. For more information about how to do this, see the how-to guide How to use the Windows Azure Command-Line Tools for Mac and Linux, which also covers the basics of deploying web sites and virtual machines.

    Let’s take a look at some of the other things you can do with the command-line tool …

     Locations and affinity groups. When you deploy a virtual machine, you must tell Windows Azure the location where you’d like for your virtual machine to be deployed – North Central US, for example. The azure vm location list command provides a list of available locations that you can use.

    You can also use an affinity group to specify the location. You can create your own affinity groups (here’s how) and then use an affinity group instead of a location when you deploy a virtual machine, cloud service, or storage account. The use of an affinity group tells Windows Azure “please host these services as close together as possible,” with a goal of reducing network latency. The azure account affinity-group list command lists your available affinity groups.

    Cloning a customized virtual machine. After you’ve deployed a virtual machine and customized it by installing and configuring software via SSH or other means, you may want to deploy additional instances of that virtual machine that will include your customizations. To do this, stop the virtual machine and use the vm capture <vm-name> <target-image-name> command to capture a cloned copy of it. Then you can deploy new instances of your customized virtual machine through the vm create command.

    Virtual machine data disks. When you deploy a virtual machine, you may want to attach a separate data disk, which is a .vhd file in Windows Azure blob storage that provides additional storage for a virtual machine. The azure vm disk command provides options for creating data disks and attaching them to virtual machines. Use the azure help vm disk command to list the available options.

    Virtual machine endpoints. When you deploy multiple instances of a virtual machine, you need to set up port mapping between the virtual machines and the load balancer. The load balancer uses an internal IP address to route traffic to each virtual machine, and these mappings are defined through the azure vm endpoint create command. In a blog post later this month, we’ll take a hands-on look at the details of configuring multiple virtual machines behind a load balancer.

     Windows Azure cloud services. Although the main focus of the command-line tool is working with virtual machines and web sites (IaaS scenarios), it can also be used to view the cloud services that you have deployed through web roles and worker roles. The azure service list command lists your cloud services, and the azure service delete command deletes a cloud service.

    Working with Linux virtual machines. The command-line tool supports both Linux and Windows operating systems for deployment on virtual machines, and for most of the commands there is no difference between working with Windows and working with Linux. Some differences are inherent in the operating system itself, however. For example, Windows uses RDP whereas Linux uses SSH. The article An Introduction to Linux on Windows Azure provides an overview of what you need to know to take full advantage of Linux virtual machines on Windows Azure.

    Write custom service management tools and workflows in Node.js. You can provision and manage virtual machines from your own code, through the new iassClient module that provides access to the service management API from Node.js. For more information, see the reference documentation.

    As you can see, the Windows Azure command-line tool for Mac and Linux opens a whole new world of possibilities for developers. Working from a Linux or Mac desktop, you can now deploy and manage virtual machines and web sites on Windows Azure. You can also migrate an existing Linux application to Windows Azure without changing a line of code, and then begin taking advantage of powerful Windows Azure services at any time. It’s all about developer choice: your choice of client operating system, server operating system, programming language, frameworks, and tools – all supported by Windows Azure!

    Doug Mahugh
    Senior Technical Evangelist
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
    A subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Solr and LucidWorks: enterprise search for Windows Azure

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    Last week’s Windows Azure release delivered a host of new services for developers, ranging from hybrid cloud capabilities and Linux virtual machine support to OSS technologies delivered as a service from many vendors. Gianugo Rabellino covered the high-level view of all the exciting new offerings, and in this post I’d like to take a closer look at a service that’s likely to become very popular: LucidWorks Cloud for Windows Azure.

    Lucid Imagination, the leading experts in Lucene/Solr technology, has packaged their LucidWorks Enterprise search service in a cloud-friendly way that requires only four quick and simple steps: select a plan, sign up, log in, and start using it. LucidWorks Enterprise is based on Apache Solr, the open-source search platform from the Apache Lucene project, and it includes a variety of enhancements from the search experts at Lucid that make it easy to use Lucene/Solr functionality while preserving the purity of the open source code base and open APIs. There’s a comprehensive REST API for integrating it into your applications and services, and you get all of the functionality that has made Solr and LucidWorks Enterprise so popular: high-performance indexing for a wide range of data sources, flexible searching and faceting, and user-oriented features like auto-complete, spell-checking, and click scoring.

    As covered on the Lucid Imagination web site, there are four levels of service available for LucidWorks Cloud: Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Pick the level that meets your needs, sign up for the service, and you’re ready to start creating collections and searching your content. You can currently search content in web sites, Windows shares, Microsoft SharePoint sites, FTP, and other sources, with Windows Azure blob storage support coming soon. You can even index and search your data from Hadoop if desired. All index data is stored on Windows Azure drives, which offer high availability and reliability, and the Lucid dev operations engineering team can provide expert support for your LucidWorks Cloud environment.

     If you’re new to Solr, check out the free white paper available for download from the Lucid web site, which covers the basics of LucidWorks Enterprise and shows how to use the indexing and searching functionality through the LucidWorks dashboard. Most developers will want to study the API and integrate search tightly into their own software, but you can learn all of the key concepts through the dashboard UI without writing a single line of code.

    One concept worth pointing out here is that Solr isn’t just about searching web sites and HTTP documents. Sure, it does a great job of that, but it can also index content stored in database tables, local file systems, and other sources. There is also an XML-based Solr document format that you can use for importing data directly into the Solr engine, giving developers flexibility for indexing any type of content from any source.

    This new service from Lucid Imagination is great for those who want to get up and running quickly, but there are also developers who will want to take responsibility for all of the details and host Solr or LucidWorks Enterprise themselves. You can download LucidWorks Enterprise and install it, or you can take advantage of the simple Solr installer for Windows Azure that helps you deploy your own Solr instances as Windows Azure cloud services.

    As you can see, there are many options for getting up and running with Solr and LucidWorks. For a simple overview of how easy it is to start using the new LucidWorks Cloud service, check out this Getting Started video that covers how to create a collection, index a web site, and then search that website using the Lucidworks Cloud dashboard. Lucid continues to evolve and invest in supporting the most popular Solr clients, so there will surely be more good news for Lucene/Solr users going forward.

    In a future blog post, we’ll be covering how to use LucidWorks Cloud with popular content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Symfony on Windows Azure, a powerful combination for PHP developers

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    Symfony, the popular open source web application framework for PHP developers, is now even easier to use on Windows Azure thanks to Benjamin Eberlei’s Azure Distribution Bundle project. You can find the source code and documentation on the project’s GitHub repo.

    Symfony is a model-view-controller (MVC) framework that takes advantage of other open-source projects including Doctrine (ORM and database abstraction layer), PHP Data Objects (PDO), the PHPUnit unit testing framework, Twig template engine, and others. It eliminates common repetitive coding tasks so that PHP developers can build robust web apps quickly.

    Azure Distribution BundleSymfony and Windows Azure are a powerful combination for building highly scalable PHP applications and services, and the Azure Distribution Bundle is a free set of tools, code, and documentation that makes it very easy to work with Symfony on Windows Azure. It includes functionality for streamlining the development experience, as well as tools to simplify deployment to Windows Azure.

    Features that help streamline the Symfony development experience for Windows Azure include changes to allow use of the Symfony Sandbox on Windows Azure, functionality for distributed session management, and a REST API that gives Symfony developers access to Windows Azure services using the tools they already know best. On the deployment side, the Azure Distribution Bundle adds some new commands that are specific to Windows Azure to Symfony’s PHP app/console that make it easier to deploy Symfony applications to Windows Azure:

    • windowsazure:init – initializes scaffolding for a Symfony application to be deployed on Windows Azure
    • windowsazure:package – packages the Symfony application for deployment on Windows Azure

    Benjamin Eberlei, lead developer on the project, has posted a quick-start video that shows how to install and work with the Azure Distribution Bundle. His video takes you through prerequisites, installation, and deployment of a simple sample application that takes advantage of the SQL Database Federations sharding capability built into the SQL Database feature of Windows Azure:

    Whether you’re a Symfony developer already, or a PHP developer looking to get started on Windows Azure, you’ll find the Azure Distribution Bundle to be easy to use and flexible enough for a wide variety of applications and architectures. Download the package today – it includes all of the documentation and scaffolding you’ll need to get started. If you have ideas for making Symfony development on Windows Azure even easier, you can join the project and make contributions to the source code, or you can provide feedback through the project site or right here.

    Symfony and Doctrine are often used in combination, as shown in the sample application mentioned above. For more information about working with Doctrine on Windows Azure, see the blog post Doctrine supports SQL Database Federations for massive scalability on Windows Azure.

    Symfony and Doctrine have a rich history in the open source and PHP communities, and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with these communities to make Windows Azure a big part of the Symfony/Doctrine story going forward!

    Doug Mahugh
    Senior Technical Evangelist
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    MongoDB Experts video series

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    MS Open Tech is pleased to announce a new series of videos on Channel 9 that covers MongoDB topics for developers working on Windows Azure and Windows. Each video in the series features insights from one of the MongoDB experts at 10gen, the leader in MongoDB development, support, training and consulting.

    The first three videos in the series have been posted, and more are coming soon. Here’s what has been covered in the first videos in the series …

    imageMongoDB Overview with Jared Rosoff provides a high-level overview of the approach that MongoDB takes for delivering highly scalable read and write operations. If you’re entirely new to MongoDB, this is the place to start. MongoDB is one of many database platforms that are often grouped together as “NoSQL databases,” but each NoSQL database has its own unique philosophy and personality. In this video, you’ll get a feel for MongoDB’s personality.

    imageMongoDB Replica Sets with Sridhar Nanjundeswaran covers the key concept at the heart of MongoDB scalability: replica sets, which are groups of MongoDB servers that can provide high availability and performance even in the face of failures at the network and hardware level. MongoDB replica sets are easy to set up and deploy, and Sridhar sets up a simple replica set from scratch and then shows how it gracefully handles various failover scenarios

    imageMongoDB C#/.NET Driver with Robert Stam is a hands-on look at how to do common database operations in C# through use of the C#/.NET driver from 10gen. Robert is the developer of the driver, and in this video he shows how to create, read, update and delete documents in MongoDB collections.

    MS Open Tech has been working closely with 10gen to improve the MongoDB experience on Windows Azure, and we’re working together on a variety of new initiatives to continue on that path. Future videos will cover the results of that work, as well as advanced topics related to the current videos (for example, Linq support in the C#/.NET driver) and other topics of interest to developers who are working with MongoDB on Windows Azure.

    Stay tuned, and if there are MongoDB/Azure topics you’d be interested in seeing covered in this series please let us know!

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Eclipse Plugin for Java Developers on Windows Azure

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    I’m pleased to announce the availability of the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java (by Microsoft Open Technologies), June 2012 CTP.

    This has been the most ambitious and technically complex update we’ve had, focusing on improving the ease of creating projects, deploying apps to the cloud, and simplifying developers’ programmatic access to various services provided by Windows Azure. This update also includes a set of other enhancements driven by user feedback.

    These are the main additions:

    - New Windows Azure Deployment Project wizard – enables you to select your JDK, Java server, and Java apps right in the improved wizard UI. The list of out-of-the-box server configurations to choose from now includes Tomcat 6, Tomcat 7, GlassFish OSE 3, Jetty 7, Jetty 8, JBoss 6, and JBoss 7 (stand-alone), and it is user-customizable. (This UI improvement is an alternative to dragging and dropping compressed files and copying over startup scripts, which was previously the main approach. That method still works fine but will likely be preferred only for more advanced scenarios now.)

    - Server Configuration role property page – enables you to easily switch the servers and applications associated with your deployment after you create the project, as part of the Role Propertiesdialog box.

    - “Publish to cloud” wizard – an easy way to deploy your project to the Windows Azure cloud directly from Eclipse, automating all the heavy lifting of fetching credentials, signing in, uploading, and so on. (This is a contribution from our Java partner GigaSpaces Technologies Ltd.)

    - Widows Azure Toolbar – provides easy access to several commonly used actions: Run in emulator, Reset emulator, Create cloud package, New Windows Azure Project, Publish to Windows Azure cloud, Unpublish.

    - Componentsproperty page makes it easier for advanced users to set up project dependencies between individual Windows Azure roles in the project and other external resources such as Java application projects, as well as to describe their deployment logic.

    - Package for Windows Azure Libraries for Java (by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc) consists of all the JAR files needed for programming the Windows Azure APIs, including the Windows Azure Libraries fo Java. It is installed by default when you install the main plugin. You add a reference to just this one Eclipse library from your Java project. You can now also easily embed the entire library in your WAR file at the same time with just a single check box (no need to configure the deployment assembly separately). This package is for users who do not use Maven and would rather not have to download all the JAR files on their own.

    - Instance input endpoint configuration UI– helps enable remote debugging and JMX diagnostics for specific compute instances running in the cloud in scenarios with multi-instance deployments. Users can do this by configuring this new type of Windows Azure endpoint. (Previously, remote debugging could be made to work reliably only for single-instance deployments.)

    - Windows Azure Access Control Services Filter (by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc) – enables your Java application to seamlessly take advantage of Windows Azure Active Directory Access Control (ACS) authentication using various identity providers (such as Google, Live.com, and Yahoo). You don’t have to write authentication logic yourself, just configure a few options and let the filter do the heavy lifting of enabling users to sign in using ACS. Then just write the code that gives users access to resources based on their identity, as returned to your app by the filter inside the Request object.

    Martin Sawicki

    Principal Program Manager

    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    A subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Doctrine supports SQL Database Federations for massive scalability on Windows Azure

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    Symfony and Doctrine are a popular combination for PHP developers, and now you can take full advantage of these open source frameworks on Windows Azure. We covered in a separate post the basics of getting started with Symfony on Windows Azure, and in this post we’ll take a look at Doctrine’s support for sharding via SQL Database Federations, which is the result of ongoing collaboration between Microsoft Open Technologies and members of the Symfony/Doctrine community.

    SQL Database Federations

    My colleague Ram Jeyaraman covered in a blog post last December the availability of the SQL Database Federations specification.  This specification covers a set of commands for managing federations as objects in a database. Just as you can use SQL commands to create a table or a stored procedure within a database, the SQL Database Federations spec covers how to create, use, or alter federations with simple commands such as CREATE FEDERATION, USE FEDERATION, or ALTER FEDERATION.

    If you’ve never worked with federations before, the concept is actually quite simple. Your database is partitioned into a set of federation members, each of which contains a set of related data (typically group by a range of values for a specified federation distribution key):

     

    This architecture can provide for massive scalability in the data tier of an application, because each federation member only handles a subset of the traffic and new federation members can be added at any time to increase capacity. And with the approach used by SQL Database Federations, developers don’t need to keep track of how the database is partitioned (sharded) across the federation members – the developer just needs to do a USE FEDERATION command and the data layer handles those details without any need to complicate the application code with sharding logic.

    You can find a detailed explanation of sharding in the SQL Database Federations specification, which is a free download covered by the Microsoft Open Specification Promise. Questions or feedback on the specification are welcome on the MSDN forum for SQL Database.

    Doctrine support for SQL Database Federations

    The Doctrine Project is a set of open-source libraries that help ease database development and persistence logic for PHP developers. Doctrine includes a database abstraction layer (DBAL), object relational mapping (ORM) layer, and related services and APIs.

    As of version 2.3 the Doctrine DBAL includes support for sharding, including a custom implementation of SQL Database Federations that’s ready to use with SQL Databases in Windows Azure. Instead of having to create Federations and schema separately, Doctrine does it all in one step. Furthermore, the combination of Symfony and Doctrine gives PHP developers seamless access to blob storage, Windows Azure Tables, Windows Azure queues, and other Windows Azure services.

    The online documentation on the Doctrine site shows how easy it is to instantiate a ShardManager interface (the Doctrine API for sharding functionality) for a SQL Database:

    The Doctrine site also has an end-to-end tutorial on how to do Doctrine sharding on Windows Azure, which covers creation of a federation, inserting data, repartitioning the federation members, and querying the data.

    Doctrine’s sharding support gives PHP developers a simple option for building massively scalable applications and services on Windows Azure. You get the ease and flexibility of Doctrine Query Language (DQL) combined with the performance and durability of SQL Databases on Windows Azure, as well as access to Windows Azure services such as blob storage, table storage, queues, and others.

    Doug Mahugh
    Senior Technical Evangelist
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Windows Azure SDK for PHP available, including support for Service Bus

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    Good news for all you PHP developers out there: I am happy to share with you the availability of Windows Azure SDK for PHP, which provides PHP-based access to the functionality exposed via the REST API in Windows Azure Service Bus. The SDK is available as open source and you can download it here.

    This is an early step as we continue to make Windows Azure a great cloud platform for many languages, including .NET, Java, and PHP. If you’re using Windows Azure Service Bus from PHP, please let us know your feedback on how this SDK is working for you and how we can improve them. Your feedback is very important to us!

    You may refer to Windows Azure PHP Developer Center for related information.

    Openness and interoperability are important to Microsoft, our customers, partners, and developers. We believe this SDK will enable PHP applications to more easily connect to Windows Azure making it easier for applications written on any platform to interoperate with one another through Windows Azure.

    Thanks,
    Ram Jeyaraman
    Senior Program Manager
    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Gigaspaces Working with MS Open Tech on Java Tools for Windows Azure

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    We’re pleased to announce that GigaSpaces Technologies Ltd, an established leader in helping enterprises move their Java applications to the cloud, has joined Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. and Persistent Systems Ltd. in the the development work behind the latest version of the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java (by Microsoft Open Technologies) - June 2012 CTP.

    GigaSpaces has contributed the “Publish to cloud”wizard to the plugin, enabling Java developers to easily deploy their projects to the Windows Azure cloud directly from within Eclipse, thus eliminating the need for manual uploads via the Windows Azure portal. GigaSpaces has also contributed other new capabilities for Java developers, including:

    • the ability to view the progress of the deployment in an Windows Azure Activity Log view in Eclipse
    • the ability to reconfigure remote desktop access as part of the deployment process
    • the ability to delete previously published deployments

    You can read more about the latest plugin update here, and you can learn how to use the “Publish to cloud” feature here.

    Known for its industry-leading scalable application platforms, GigaSpaces Technologies is the creator of Cloudify, an innovative Open PaaS stack solution that enables on-boarding of mission-critical and big-data applications to the cloud without any code or architectural changes. Cloudify's recipe-based approach provides the flexibility and control required to manage the deployment, scaling, management and high availability of all the tiers of your application. Hundreds of tier-1 organizations worldwide use GigaSpaces technology to enhance IT efficiency and performance, among which are Fortune Global 500 enterprises and ISVs, from many industries spanning financial services, e-commerce, Telco, healthcare, and more.

    Thanks to the team at GigaSpaces for all they’ve done to help streamline and improve the Windows Azure development and deployment experience for Java developers! We look forward to continued collaboration with Gigaspaces in the future.

    Martin Sawicki

    Principal Program Manager

    Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.

    A subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Interoperability Goodness at TechEd 2012

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    I know there was a flurry of news at the recent TechEd 2012 conference in Orlando, so I wanted to point you to a piece of Interoperability goodness that might have gone unnoticed in the mix: the release of the System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) OVF Export/Importtool.

    I recently chatted with my colleague Monica Martin, who is involved in the DTMF work around OVF for MS Open Tech. She gave me a lot of insight into the tool, which uses the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF)’s Open Virtualization Format (OVF 1.1) standard, enables Interoperability between System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) and VMware vCenter and Citrix Xen Server.

    The tool allows Microsoft’s System Center 2012 VMM users to import and export a virtual machine in an OVF 1.1 format from VMware’s vCenter and Citrix’s Xen Server.

    The OVF Import/Export tool is a set of cmdlets for use with VMM. Use of OVF promotes portability and interoperability of a virtual machine across Microsoft, VMware and Citrix hypervisors. We’ve gained valuable implementation experience with Citrix and VMware using OVF and successfully tested with vCenter and Xen Server.

    Adding OVF and the OVF Import/Export tool to the cache of advanced infrastructure, configuration and service management capabilities to SC 2012 is another milestone in Microsoft’s plans to deliver ongoing value to our customers and partners.

    The Open Virtualization Format (OVF) is an open standard for packaging and distribution of virtual appliances to run in virtual machines developed in the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF), Inc. Microsoft and other industry partners are focused on the development of OVF. Microsoft has been involved in OVF development from the outset.

    OVF 1.1 is an international standard important to customers and partners, who are looking for strategies to effectively enable and speed their on-ramp of virtualization technologies in an interoperable way.

    This is another example of how Microsoft is committed to interoperability and openness in the products and services we provide, including our multi-hypervisor and standard-based storage management features in SC 2012.

    We have now taken this even further with the release of the System Center 2012 – Virtual Machine Manager (VMM) OVF Export/Import tool, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center. More information can be found on TechNet.

    For more information about this tool and other System Center products and solutions, please visit the System Center website.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    How to make your site faster: use web standards!

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    Justin Garret from the IE team published a post on the Exploring IE blog late last week that explains how web standards not only help reduce the cost of development and the complexity of testing across browsers and devices, but also achieves noticeable performance benefits.

    Justin’s post describes results of performance tests run on sites before and after upgrading them to web standards, demonstrating an average of 30% better page load time in IE10. Developers can also read in Justin’s post recommendation on how to upgrade their sites.

    Microsoft’s commitment to web standards involves not just implementing all the stable specifications edited by W3C, but also in actively participating in the definition of these standards by co-chairing the W3C HTML Working Group, proposing specs, sharing early implementations of the spec proposals on HTML5 Labs, demonstrating early implementations in the upcoming products on IE test drive. These are then delivered in release products after getting feedback from developers and users from HTML5 Labs and IE Test drive.

    We at Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. actively participate in the open standards process, are deeply engaged with the industry in the W3C, are developing and publishing prototypes in collaboration with the IE team, and engage with the community to gather input and feedback.

    Check out Justin's post on the Exploring IE blog to learn more about how to make your site faster using web standards.

     

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