onsdag, maj 29, 2013

My take on Teched EMEA 2013 - Windows Azure style

Teched US is started yesterday and TechEd EMEA is on a couple of weeks away. There is an impressive lineup with speakers on the Windows Azure Application Development track at TechEd EMEA.

Here are some highlights that are on my list:

Build Your First Cloud App: An Introduction to Windows Azure Cloud Services

So you're a Microsoft .NET developer who is ready to see what cloud has to offer. Come take a peek at Windows Azure Cloud Services, the fastest and most productive way to capture the benefits of cloud without leaving .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio—and without calling your IT department!

If you are new to Windows Azure you should start of with this session. David Aiken is a great speaker. It is placed on day 1 so you can take advantage of the other Windows Azure sessions during the week.

Patterns & Practices for Running Large Multi-Tenant SaaS Service on Windows Azure (How It’s Made: MyGet.org)

Ever wonder how some applications are built, or how to combine some components of the Windows Azure platform? Stop wondering and learn how we’ve built MyGet.org, a multi-tenant software-as-a-service. In this session we discuss architecture, commands, events, access control, multi-tenancy and how to mix and match those things together in a reliable, cost-effective solution that scales.

I saw Maarten Balliauw speak at Cloud Burst 2012 in Stockholm and it was really good so I have high expectations on this session, even thou it’s a level 200.

Introduction to Windows Azure Active Directory

Windows Azure Active Directory provides easy-to-use, multi-tenant identity management services for applications running in the cloud and on any device and any platform. In this session, developers, administrators, and architects take an end-to-end tour of Windows Azure Active Directory to learn about its capabilities, interfaces and supported scenarios, and understand how it works in concert with Windows Server Active Directory.

I have never seen Athanasios Kladakis speak but a session with an end-to-end tour of Windows Azure Active Directory should be mandatory for everyone!

An Introduction to the Web Workload on Windows Azure

Building, deploying, scaling, and managing resilient web applications has never been easy—there are many moving parts, lots of infrastructure and a number of different software components. Windows Azure aims to make this just really simple, with technologies such as Windows Azure Web Sites, SQL Database and ready-to-use content and digital marketing solutions to pick from. In this session we introduce you to these technologies, as well as others than are relevant to the web workload, and show you how to get started. You will take away immediate knowledge you can use in your first project back home.

What to learn more about running web sites on Windows Azure? This is the session for you!

Developing Connected Windows Store Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services: Overview

Join us for a demo-packed introduction to how Windows Azure Mobile Services can bring your Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 apps to life. We look at Mobile Services end-to-end and how easy it is to add authentication, secure structured storage, and send push notifications to update live tiles. We also cover adding some business logic to CRUD operations through scripts as well as running scripts on a schedule. Also, learn how to point your Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store apps to the same Mobile Service in order to deliver a consistent experience across devices. Gary Pretty of Mando Group will join us on stage to share how TalkTalk Business implements everything we've covered during the session in its MyAccount Mobile app.

If you are building mobile apps and need services like storage, push notifications and authentication this will be a great session.

Windows Azure Web Sites and On-Premises Connectivity

Windows Azure Web Sites is a great platform for hosting web applications and APIs written in Microsoft ASP.NET, Node.js, PHP, and Python. Customers who want to move into cloud technology a step at a time find great success when initiating their move to cloud by standing up their website presence using Windows Azure Web Sites. Many developers who aim to move to the cloud want to do so in phases. For these situations, many questions arise around how to connect a website back to an on-premises enterprise or even to connect to a Microsoft Office 365 site. In this session, various techniques of connecting a Windows Azure Web Site to an on-premises enterprise architecture are discussed. Through a series of deep-dive demonstrations using Service Bus, SignalR, data marts, and Windows Azure Active Directory, you are introduced to the opportunities that enable communication between Windows Azure Web Sites and your enterprise environment. If you've been wanting to get started with Web Sites but have been unable to conceptualize how you can set up a hybrid environment using Windows Azure, this session will clear the air and give you some ideas of what's possible.

This session features another speaker that I met at Cloud Burst in Stockholm. Many times I get the questions from my customers on how you can use Windows Azure Web Sites together with other stuff in Windows Azure as well as thing that you have running on premises. I expect to learn some tricks here!

Take Control of the Cloud with the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets

In this session, learn how to tame the simplest to most advanced Windows Azure deployments with the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets. Automate repetitive tasks and learn how build advanced reproducible deployments so you can save time and money while working in the cloud. The presenter covers dev-ops scenarios with Virtual Machines and Cloud Services in this demo-packed session.

I know I need to learn more about PowerShell simply cause its so powerful! I have seen Michael a couple of times on internal conferences and this session will be fully packed with stuff that you can take home and use instantly!

Building Elastic, Autoscalable Solutions with Windows Azure

In this session, learn how to implement true elasticity for your Windows Azure solutions. See how to automate the scaling of your Worker/Web Role instances depending on predictable usage patterns. Whether you expect high load during business hours and low load during the nights, or have different resource allocation needs, this session on using the Enterprise Library Integration Pack for the Windows Azure Autoscale Application Block shows you how your Windows Azure solutions can achieve higher levels of elasticity.

If this session delivers what it promises its like the pandoras box of cloud computing. Level 400 and high expectations!

Windows Azure Internals

Mark Russinovich goes under the hood of the Microsoft datacenter operating system. Intended for developers who have already gotten their hands dirty with Windows Azure and understand its basic concepts, this session gives an inside look at the architectural design of the Windows Azure compute platform. Learn about Microsoft’s data center architecture, what goes on behind the scenes when you deploy and update a Windows Azure app and how it monitors and responds to the health of machines, its own components, and the apps it hosts.

Windows Azure from the horses mouth! Mark Russinovich – say no more! Don’t miss this session if you want to know more about Windows Azure and probably stuff that you can’t read in the books.

Continuous Integration with Team Foundation Services and Windows Azure Websites

Windows Azure Websites and Team Foundation Services are a match made in heaven. In this demo-heavy session, learn how to connect your Azure Website with Team Foundation Services and setup continuous integration. Rainer Stropek, Azure MVP, shows how you customize your build process in the cloud. Get practical tips for how continuous integration in the cloud will work in your team.

75 minutes of how to automate and get more efficient in your dev/ops process. Another session where I expect to get a lot of tips and tricks to bring home.

Build Real-World Modern Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services on Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS, or Android

Join us for and in-depth walkthrough of everything you need to know to build an engaging and dynamic app with Mobile Services. See how to work with geo-fencing, multiple auth providers (including custom identity), periodic push notifications, and your favorite APIs through scripts. We begin with a Windows Store app then point Windows Phone, iOS, and Android apps to the same Mobile Service in order to ensure a consistent experience across devices. We finish up with unit testing, debugging, and the the other app lifecycle goodness you need in a real-world app.

Kristofer Liljeblad, my main man, closest co-worker and good friend. This is my number one pick at TechEd this year! I know that he will be well prepared, I know that he will deliver a great session and I know that he has a lot of ground to cover to live up to the session abstract! Good luck my friend!

Designing and Building Disaster Recovery Enabled Solutions in Windows Azure

One of the biggest problems we have in an application and its data is the fact that we need it to be able to survive a disaster of any kind, from a Natural Disaster to a Vendor Disaster. In the cloud this is even more important because we need to understand how to prepare ourselves for that, since in some cases we "seem" not to have the same control over the data, and so in this session we talk about some of the Windows Azure capabilities and features that help us be prepared for disasters, and also to better prepare our apps and data to survive them.

Nuno Godinho is another great speaker that I had the pleasure to work with at TechEd and at Cloud Burst. His topic about disaster recovery is often overlooked and but still much needed in many cases.

Getting the Most out of Windows Azure Storage

In a world increasingly dominated by mobile and cloud computing, application developers require durable, scalable, reliable, and fast storage solutions like Windows Azure Storage.  In this session, learn how to get the most out of storage, patterns and best practices for developing performant solutions on storage that optimize for cost, latency, and throughput. Find out how to best develop mobile apps using storage, how to monitor, analyze and improve your storage apps. You don't want to miss this session, which is heavy on code and real-world examples that you can leverage.

Windows Azure Storage is service that have always been close to me. I love the things you can do with the services and knowing how to use them efficiently is crucial. I have never seen Joe Giardino present but he is Senior Development Lead on the Windows Azure Storage team so I expect to get to learn great stuff here!

Building Media Workflows in the Cloud with Windows Azure Media Services

Come and learn how to build media workflows for encoding, encrypting, and delivering media to multiple formats and devices. Learn how to ingest content securely into the cloud using the Media Services SDK for .NET and partner applications from Aspera. Watch as the Media Services team encodes content in the cloud and delivers to multiple devices including your own! Get insight into the roadmap for Windows Azure Media Services features including PlayReady DRM protection, License Delivery, and Live Streaming.

Windows Azure Media Services will be huge in a lot of solutions in the future (future meaning not today but tomorrow and beyond). This is a session I will watch as soon as I get the opportunity.

Lap Around Monitoring, Management and DevOps Solutions in Windows Azure

Windows Azure has made a great deal of improvements in the area of management and monitoring of cloud applications since the first release early last year. In this session, you will get a preview of the exciting, new monitoring and management capabilities that gives you insights into your running application and troubleshooting your applications end-to-end across all Azure workloads. Learn about the new management capabilities for Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks, Service Bus, SQL Azure and your other business critical workloads running on Windows Azure.

Sessions that promise “preview of the exciting, new” is always interesting if you want to be on the edge! Don’t miss this one!

Messaging with Windows Azure Service Bus

Windows Azure Service Bus offers a rich set of messaging capabilities in the cloud as well as on-premises. This session discusses some of the advanced messaging capabilities in Service Bus. Join us to learn about publish-subscribe patterns, Using the Service Bus sessions, interoperability with AMQP, scaling with Service Bus, and messaging strategies for server to cloud federation.

If you want to know more about Windows Azure Services Bus, Clemens Vasters is the guy. He will be able to answer any question you have, explain any feature there is and know about any issue that you might have experienced. This I know from my own experiences from working with Clemens with customers. As always, I expect an entertaining session!

And wait, there is even more!

Apart from these session there is even more. There are sessions on BizSpark in the Cloud, more on Windows Azure Media Services, more on Windows Azure Active Directory, more on Windows Azure Service Bus and more and more and more… Make no mistake – Windows Azure will rule TechEd!

How to delete a VM in Windows Azure and not incur any charges

When you want to delete a Virtual Machine and make it not incur any charges to your credit card anymore there are a couple of steps that you need to go thru.

Short story

  1. Delete the Virtual Machine
  2. Wait until the disk is detached from the Virtual Machine
  3. Delete the disk and delete the associated VHD
  4. Delete the Cloud Service
  5. Delete the Storage Account

Long Story

First of all you need to delete the Virtual Machine. This is the easy part and many think that this is enough. One thing that might be confusing is that when you delete a Virtual Machine a Cloud Service appears!

Look at the picture below. It has one VM deployed and zero Cloud Services. This will change when we delete the VM.Now click on Delete at the bottom of the screen with the Virtual Machine selected.


Deleting the VM takes a couple of seconds and after this is done you see that you have 0 Virtual Machines but 1 Cloud Service. Where did that come from?


If you now click on the Cloud Service link you will see that the Cloud Service you have has the same name as the VM that you used to have. So this is just a trick that we do in the portal to not confuse you but the effect when you delete is somewhat confusing. When you create a Virtual Machine if is actually contained in a Cloud Service but in the portal we hide this for you. If you instead list your Cloud Services in PowerShell you will see all the Cloud Services, including the once that have Virtual Machines connected to them. Just having a Cloud Service with nothing deployed to it does not incur any cost so for now we can just ignore it.

Next step is to delete the disk. Every disk for your Virtual Machines are stored in one of your own Windows Azure Storage Accounts. Storing data in a storage account incur cost so we need to delete this.

Click on the DISKS tab in Virtual Machines and note that before you can delete the disk the ATTACHED TO must be empty. It takes a couple of minutes between you deleting the Virtual Machine and the disk getting detached from that Virtual Machine.


So be patient, what until the disk is released and then click on DELETE with the disk selected. When clicking on DELETE you are presented with two options. Either you Delete the associated VHD or you Retain the associated VHD. If you want to achieve zero cost you have to delete the VHD. But please remember that this will not be a reversible action and the VHD will be delete from your account.


With the Virtual Machine deleted and with the VHD associated with the disk attached to the Virtual Machine you are now down to zero in cost for you account. If you want you can now also delete the Cloud Service and the Storage Account by just selecting the corresponding tabs and select delete.

tisdag, maj 28, 2013

Using Live Writer again

Today I decided to start using Live Writer again for my blog and here are some easy steps to set it up. At the moment I run my blog on Blogger.com. Using Blogger is mainly of historical reasons and yes I know, I should move it to Windows Azure and run it on a Windows Azure Web Site!

Live Essentials

First of all you need to install Live Writer which is a part of Live Essentials. Download it and install it but make sure that you don’t install the apps that you don’t need. Live Essentials also include things like Messenger and some other apps.

Code Snippet Manager

While being a developer and blogging every once in a while you need to post code. Or at least you should! To post code PreCode Code Snippet Manager is a great plugin and also a desktop client.

PreCode Code Snippet Plugin

Drafts folder

To be able to sync drafts between different computers you can add an easy registry hack to change the posts folder.

Open regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Writer and add a new string value named PostsDirectory. Create a new folder on your computer in a SkyDrive or Dropbox folder and set the path to that folder in the string value PostsDirectory. Live Writer will create two folders named Drafts and Recent Posts. So, now its easy to start writing a post on one computer and continue on another.

Adding possibility to open older posts

To be able to open posts from your blog that you haven’t written with Live Writer you can use this excellent guide: http://www.technize.net/open-and-edit-any-post-in-windows-live-writer-2012/

fredag, maj 17, 2013

How much Windows Azure resorces am I using?

To check how much resources you are using in Windows Azure is really simple but might be tricky to find and understand. The only account that can access the account information is the account owner. That is the account used to sign up for Windows Azure the first time. If you are a co admin on an account you can not access this information.

The place to start is the Windows Azure Account Center located at https://account.windowsazure.com If you are not signed in you need to do so with the Microsoft Account from the account owner. Once you are signed in you click on link to Account Center marked below:

This will take you to an overview of all the subscriptions you have. As you see in the picture below I only have one subscription called "3-Month Free Trial". The name of the subscription is actually a button taking you to the page with the interesting stuff! So lets click on it! The exact layout of the picture below might vary. In this case I have removed the spending limit and the text on the orange bar below is telling me that I have 89 days left of my trial. If you have an account with the spending limit still there it would have said something like: "This account have a spending limit. Click here to remove it."

On the following page can now see how much resources you have and how much of the included resources that you have spent.

Here I would like to point out some important things:
  • You will only see bars for the resources that you have used in the current billing period. So in this example I have NOT created any Windows Azure SQL Databases and hence that bar will not show up in the overview.
  • In my account I have 50 hours of Compute Hours of A7 VM included and I have used 28. This is indicated with the blue bar at the top.
  • My next bill is estimated to kr0.00 since I'm only using the resources that are included in my current subscription.
  • You can see the dates for the current billing period on the right side. Once I reach the end of the billing period I will get new resources on my account and all the bars will be reset.
  • If you click on the "Change payment method" you can change the credit card that gets charged and you can also add multiple credit cards.
  • "Download usage details" lets your download a csv-file containing all the information about what services you have used that led to your bill. Great for running BI reports in Excel!
  • If you click on "Edit subscription details" you can change the name of the subscription. This is really good if you are co admin on multiple subscriptions.
  • The data on this page is not live. I think it has a 13 hour delay.
  • Note that the amount on the right hand side is only an estimate. So this number might be higher than your actual current value since we are using previous consumption to estimate your month total.

I think this is the most important thing you need to know about the Windows Azure Account Summary page.

Create a VM of the new High Memory instances (A7) in Windows Azure

When we launched Windows Azure Infrastructure Services in mid April we also introduced two new Virtual Machine sizes. These are called A6 and A7. The A6 corresponds to a Large VM with four cpu cores but with 28 GB RAM instead of the standard 7 GB. The A7 corresponds to a Extra Large VM with eight cpu cores and with 56 GB RAM instead of the standard 14 GB.

This VMs are perfect for workloads that require a lot of memory. This could for instance be running a SQL Server on a VM. The new VM sizes are now also available for Cloud Services with the release or Windows Azure SDK 2.0.

To create a new VM based on the new size is really easy and can be done directly in the Windows Azure Management Portal.

Click on New in the left hand corner and select Compute – Virtual Machine – Quick Create:

Here you can now see the new VM sizes. Select A7, enter a DNS name, username and password and you are good to go! You can also select the Location where you VM should be placed. Microsoft have data centers in eight locations today. After you have entered these settions, click on CREATE A VIRTUAL MACHINE, take a cup of coffee and enjoy.

When you VM is running you can now easily connect to it via Remote Desktop. Click on the link to Virtual Machines in the menu on the left side and then Connect at the bottom of the page with you Virtual Machine selected:

This will open a RDP session and you can sign in with the credentials that you chose earlier.

Windows Azure Benefits in BizSpark

As a member of Microsoft's program for startups BizSpark you have a lot of Windows Azure resources for free each month! Each BizSpark company gets up to eight MSDN Ultimate and each MSDN Ultimate have Windows Azure resources at a value of $6500 annually.

This post will guide you in how to maximize the usage of your Windows Azure benefits in BizSpark!

To activate your BizSpark Windows Azure benefits you need only three things. You need your Microsoft Account (aka Live Id) that is associated with BizSpark, you need a credit card to verify your credentials and you need this url: http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/Azure/Default.aspx

The url above will take you to this page:

Here you can read more about Windows Azure and also click on the big orange button saying “Activate Windows Azure now“.

If you are signed in with the Microsoft Account connected to BizSpark you will get to this page:

Here you can see what Windows Azure resources that are included in BizSpark and continue with the sign up process. As I mentioned above you will need a credit card to sign up. This is primarily used to prevent fraud.

If you already have created a Windows Azure account for your main BizSpark account you can create a new MSDN Subscription for another Microsoft Account (Live Id). Each BizSpark membership can have up to eight MSDN Accounts.

To add a new MSDN Account to your BizSpark membership you sign in to the BizSpark Portal at http://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/ Click on the link to My BizSpark and on the left hand side click on Members under the Manage headline. This will take you to this page:

Here you can now add a new member to you BizSpark team. This member with a Microsoft Account will be awarded a MSDN Ultimate Subscription. Sign in to http://www.windowsazure.com with this newly added account and you will have even more Windows Azure resources at your disposal.
And if you are a Swedish startup and thinks BizSpark sounds cool, ping me on beriksen@microsoft.com and I will hook you up with the right person!