Hopefully you were able to attend the Windows Phone Firestarters and have already signed up for the ASP.NET Firestarters (coming to Farmington on Nov. 2nd and Waltham on Nov. 4th). 

Location Date
Tampa, FL Nov. 8
Alpharetta, GA Nov. 10
Charlotte, NC Nov 11
Rochester, NY Nov. 16
Waltham, MA Nov. 30
New York, NY Dec. 1
Malvern, PA Dec. 7
Chevy Chase, MD Dec. 9

Completing the trifecta, I’m happy to announce a third round of Firestarters, focused on cloud computing and specifically Windows Azure.  My colleagues Brian Hitney and Peter Laudati and I will be presenting a combination of presentations and hands-on exercises at a number of venues on the East Coast beginning in early November. 

Windows Azure Firestarter

Event Overview

Is cloud computing still a foggy concept for you? Have you heard of Windows Azure, but aren’t quite sure of how it applies to you and the projects you’re working on? Join your Microsoft Developer Evangelists for this free, all-day event combining presentations and hands-on exercises to demystify the latest disruptive (and over-hyped!) technology and to provide some clarity as to where the cloud and Windows Azure can take you.

8:00 a.m. - Registration

8:30 a.m. - Morning Sessions:

Getting Your Head into the Cloud

Ask ten people to define “Cloud Computing,” and you’ll get a dozen responses. To establish some common ground, we’ll kick off the event by delving into what cloud computing means, not just by presenting an array of acronyms like SaaS and IaaS , but by focusing on the scenarios that cloud computing enables and the opportunities it provides. We’ll use this session to introduce the building blocks of the Windows Azure Platform and set the stage for the two questions most pertinent to you: “how do I take my existing applications to the cloud?” and “how do I design specifically for the cloud?”

Migrating Applications to Windows Azure

How difficult is it to migrate your applications to the cloud? What about designing your applications to be flexible inside and outside of cloud environments? These are common questions, and in this session, we’ll specifically focus on migration strategies and adapting your applications to be “cloud ready.”

We’ll examine how Azure VMs differ from a typical server – covering everything from CPU and memory, to profiling performance, load balancing considerations, and deployment strategies such as dealing with breaking changes in schemas and contracts. We’ll also cover SQL Azure migration strategies and how the forthcoming VM and Admin Roles can aid in migrating to the cloud.

Creating Applications for Windows Azure

Windows Azure enables you to leverage a great deal of your Visual Studio and .NET expertise on an ‘infinitely scalable’ platform, but it’s important to realize the cloud is a different environment from traditional on-premises or hosted applications. Windows Azure provides new capabilities and features – like Azure storage and the AppFabric – that differentiate an application translated to Azure from one built for Azure. We’ll look at many of these platform features and examine tradeoffs in complexity, performance, and costs.

12:15 p.m. - Lunch

1:00 p.m. - Cloud Play

Enough talk! Bring your laptop or pair with a friend, as we spend the afternoon with our heads (and laptops) in the cloud. Each attendee will receive a two-week “unlimited” Azure account to use during (and after) our instructor-led hands-on lab. During the lab you’ll reinforce the very concepts we discussed in the morning as you develop and deploy a compelling distributed computing application to Windows Azure.

4:00 p.m. - The Silver Lining: Evaluations and Giveaways