Chef is an open source DevOps tool built to address hard IT infrastructure challenges. The team at Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. (MS Open Tech) has been hard at work collaborating with Chef the company to enhance Windows Azure resource management capabilities. The latest knife-azure release (v1.2.2) brings a number of bug fixes and some important new features to Chef that focus on provisioning and managing optimized clusters of virtual machines and other Windows Azure resources.
Knife is a Chef command line tool that provides an interface between a local Chef repository (which holds various data objects that describe resources) and a Chef server (which acts as a hub for configuration management). With Knife, you can manage many aspects of your infrastructure. The latest 1.2.2 update of knife-azure adds support for Windows Azure virtual networks and affinity groups to Knife.
Virtual networks make it possible to create logically isolated sections of Windows Azure which can then be securely connected to on premise clients and servers. A virtual network makes it easy for you to take advantage of Windows Azure’s scalable, on-demand infrastructure while providing connectivity to data and applications on-premises. For example, you could use a virtual network to:
Extend your datacenter in the same way that you would set up and connect to a remote branch office. You retain control over the network topology and configuration, and manage it in the same way you would your on-premises infrastructure.
Build distributed applications hosted in a hybrid environment, maintaining secure connections with on-premises infrastructure without the creation of custom codes. For example, a web application hosted in Windows Azure can securely access an on premise database server or authenticate users against an on premise directory service.
Remotely debug your applications by creating a direct connection between your local development machine and virtual machines hosted in Windows Azure. This allows you to troubleshoot and debug them using the same tools you would use for on-premises applications.
The second major addition in this knife-azure release is the ability to manage affinity groups. Affinity groups enable you to configure your infrastructure so that there is a higher degree of co-location within a datacenter. This ensures there is minimal latency between servers and thus optimize performance.
Full details of the supported Azure functionality in knife-azure (along with installation and configuration notes) can be found on the knife-azure GitHub project pages. It can also be retrieved as a Ruby Gem.
To learn more about Chef and Knife Azure check out this interview and demo on Channel 9 (Chef section starts at 7m 28s).
Why not take Chef and Windows Azure for a spin? You can sign up for a free trial subscription of Windows Azure, if you don't already have one.
Let us know what you think!
For users of VM Depot, our repository of community managed Virtual Machines for Azure, we have added significant enhancements to the search feature of the website. With this expanded search capability, it is now easier than ever to find an open source, Linux-based, virtual machine for Windows Azure.
Basic search functionality has not changed. You can still type into the search box on VM Depot and hit return. The results will include all virtual machines that contain your search term in their description, title, tags or other common fields.
Using the sorting options available you can make the most interesting images rise to the top of the list as described in the table below.
This approach works well if you know precisely what you are looking for. However, with over 900 images to choose from it can be difficult to find what you need. For this reason we have added a new search language to the site. This feature allows you to conduct much more targeted searches.
The new search features of VM Depot allow you to use a number of qualifiers (see table below) to construct more specific queries. This makes it possible to target specific information stored alongside each VM Depot virtual machine image.
The available qualifiers include:
As an example, to search for an image that includes the python language you would use the search term "package:python". To limit results to ones using the CentOS operating system you would use "package:python platform:centos".
In addition to the various qualifiers available we also provide two different operators. The one used in the example above (':') means “contains”, that is, if the identified qualifier contains the string then it is considered a match. For example, “package:python” means “return all VMs that contain any package with the string ‘python’ within its name”. This search will match “python” as well as “python1.7”. You can also use the operator ':=' which looks for an exact match, rather than a partial match.
VM Depot has a huge range of images available for easy deployment to Windows Azure. We invite you to use the new search feature the next time to wish to access and deploy an image from the repository.
Today, Microsoft Open Technologies is releasing a SignalR software development kit for Android/Java developers. This SDK, available to the open source community on GitHub will give Java and Android developers the opportunity to add real-time functionality to their Java and Android client apps.
To learn more, read MS Open Tech’s post.
Our code providing Hyper-V support to Vagrant has been included in the latest Vagrant 1.5 release, and so users need not install Hyper-V support separately.
Mitchell Hashimoto, creator of Vagrant and Founder of HashiCorp, said “This is an example of why Vagrant is open source. Our users asked for Hyper-V support and MS Open Tech stepped up to provide it. Including Hyper-V support in the Vagrant 1.5 release was a no-brainer once MS Open Tech had released their code as open source.”
Full details on the MS Open Tech blog.
Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc, is pleased to share the news that select Oracle Software is now Generally Available on Windows Azure and Windows Server Hyper-V.
This means that Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. and Oracle now provide best in class, end to end support for customers running Oracle software on Windows Azure and Windows Server Hyper-V. You can now use one of Windows Azure’s license-included Oracle images for Windows with full support, and you can still use your existing licenses to run Oracle software on Windows Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) in either Windows or Linux.
Microsoft Windows Server has long been an important Oracle supported platform. Last September at Oracle Open World, Oracle and Microsoft extended that support by providing certification and support for Oracle applications, middleware, Database, Java and Oracle Linux on Windows Server Hyper-V and Windows Azure.
For more information, please have a look at the following resources:
Overview and Licensing Information at windowsazure.com
Overview and Licensing Information at oracle.com
A list of Oracle Virtual Machine Images for Windows
Support Policy for Oracle Images Provided by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
Oracle Cloud Licensing Policy at oracle.com (PDF)
Oracle Self Service Kit
How to use Oracle images on Windows Azure
We’re excited that we’re providing this important service with Oracle’s partnership. We’d like to hear what you have to say! Please share comments here.
Corona SDK, the popular mobile 2D platform made by Corona Labs, now offers closed beta support for Windows Phone 8. Microsoft Open Technologies helped the Corona Labs team integrate the ANGLE project into Corona SDK to add support for Windows Phone 8. This allows the more than 300,000 developers using Corona SDK today to easily port their apps to Windows Phone 8 with minimum effort, extending their reach to millions of new users.
Learn more on the MS Open Tech blog.
In January of last year, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. (MS Open Tech) launched VM Depot- a community-managed repository of open source virtual machine images for deployment on Microsoft Azure. The vision we articulated for this repository is that it be a place where "the community can build, deploy and share their favorite Linux configuration, create custom open source stacks, work with others and build new architectures for the cloud that leverage the openness and flexibility of the Windows Azure platform."
Today, I am happy to report that VM Depot crossed the threshold of 1,000 images!
MS Open Tech's success in attracting image publishers to VM Depot has encouraged us to turn our attention to making the site and its images even easier to use. Whatever it is you are looking for, there is a good change that you will find it on VM Depot and thus can deploy it to Azure. Earlier this week, we announced a new search feature to help you more quickly hone in on the right image for your needs. We will continue to work on improving integration with the Azure Management Portal to make it easier to deploy VM Depot images using a web browser.
For those who prefer to use the command line for deployment and management, we support that, too. We continue to make improvements to the Microsoft Azure Node.js SDK, as we wish to ensure that developers will continue to have full access to VM Depot and Azure regardless of which operating system they are working on.
For those just getting started with VM Depot, we have created a Site Walkthrough. Keep an eye out for a set of materials and documentation in the coming weeks which will help you make the most of this repository as it continues to expand.
And let us know if there are specific areas that need more attention or support.
Ram Jeyaraman, co-Chair of the OASIS OData Technical Committee, and Senior Standards Professional, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
Brian Benz, Senior Technical Evangelist, Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.
I am excited and proud to share the news that Open Data Protocol (OData) version 4.0 and OData JSON Format version 4.0 have been approved as OASIS Standards by OASIS (an open standards consortium). Congratulations to the OASIS OData Technical Committee for achieving this important milestone. Here’s the official announcement <link> from OASIS.
This is the result of the collective handiwork of many talented people across many organizations (Axway Software, Blackberry, CA Technologies, Citrix Systems, IBM, Microsoft, Progress Software, Red Hat, SAP AG, SDL, and many others) who cooperated in a truly remarkable fashion to accomplish the common goal of creating a standard open data protocol to create and consume data services on the Web.
Read the full post at msopentech.com