26 June 2012

Windows Cloud Day: Windows Azure Conference

Virtual Machines
Cloud Services
Big Data
Windows Azure opening talks - Scott Guthrie Blog
Nord.js - Mark Rendell
iOS Devices with Azure - Chris Risner
Provision and Customise Azure Virtual Machines - Michael Washam
Social Gaming - Nate Totten
Windows Azure Storage and Service Bus - Scott Klein
Android Device with Azure - Chris Risner
Java Applications with Azure - Satish Nikram
Team Foundation Server use of Azure components - Richard Fennel
Building PHP Applications on Windows Azure - Cory Fowler
Tracks at the presentation 

Being a part of the Canary Wharf .Net User Group I normally get emails regarding any talks or conferences on new technology as well as updates on the current. So when I got an email a month ago about an up coming Windows Azure conference, I immediately signed up to go. The intro promised a full day of talks on just how flexible Azure is with cross platform integration. Talks on integration with Linux, use with Java and PHP as well as mobile applications which I have been keen to get into. Attending the conference meant leaving Peterborough a day earlier than usual, which off course means I get to spend an extra day in my own bed in addition to the weekend. (Always grateful for the little things!) 

The talks were opened by none other than Mr Scott Guthrie from Microsoft, who comedically presented a product the relies heavily on the Internet, without the Internet!  A difficult task! It doesn't help when the conference is held in a movie theatre, a place known for its uninviting approach to mobile comms usage. So of course the cinema's wireless Internet connection goes down while trying to demo just how super easy it is to create a website with Windows Azure. No easy task when your ability to connect to the Cloud requires connection to the Internet. A room filled with programmers, engineers and technologist from all over and and still riddled with technical difficulties.

An unflustered Guthrie(albeit jet-lagged) took questions while cinema stuff frantically tried to save Guthrie from every presenter's nightmare. The solution came via a long cable that run from the hole in the wall near the projector, all the way down to the screen where Scott was. What do you know, the connection is weak because the cable has gone past the limit an Ethernet cable allows. Off course more failed attempts from the audience to volunteer their wireless connections. Half an hour later and we were under way again.

Leaving the Internet woes behind scott presented just how intelligent Windows Azure was in recognising Java, PHP and .Net applications  without explicitly specifying when loading on to Azure platform. Also showcased was the easy access to a Silverlight interface dashboard data showing usage, cost incurred of services used.

Windows Azure Features:

Microsoft have gone to great strengths in ensure flexibility with many platforms as well as having the ability to load balance data and distribute across virtual machines to minimise data loss and a promise of to 99.95% SLAs. Microsoft has also apparently cut the cost of Azure platform services meaning that services that may have cost you $50p/m now cost you about $5p/m (within certain usage limits of course).


Having only recently started playing with SQL Azure with Windows Phone application development. I had an inkling of it's capabilities. SQL Azure allows you to set up a trial account which also provides 90 days free use and there after you only pay for what you use. If you have an MSDN account, check your subscription you may be entitled to 10 free websites plus storage bandwidth on Azure and use of SQL Azure(I believe its worth about $3,700).

There were also talks on the following:

Windows Phone Application Development with Windows Azure

I am currently working through Beginning Windows Phone 7 Development Book in which tutorials utilise Cloud Services as data store via the use of SQL Azure.  A great book if you want to get into WP7 development as well as learn how to configure SQL Azure for use with mobile applications.

More Windows Azure Resources:

Please email me if you have any questions.

Addendum: Thanks to Richard Conway from Elastacloud, who sent me the details below.

•             Speaker Slides: We have placed some of the slides available for download at http://www.elastacloud.com/Community/Details/2 ; keep checking as more will be added (mp3s will be available shortly)
•             Microsoft demos: The Microsoft material presented (and much more) is available for download at http://www.devcamps.ms/windowsazure/downloads
•             Upcoming Azure Bootcamps: For newcomers there will be sets of one-day Microsoft and Elastacloud/user group run bootcamps which will showcase the material in-depth and interactively, (Check the UKMSDN blog or @ukwaug)
•             Get the 90 Day free Azure Subscriptions Trial: Try Azure for free if you haven’t already http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/?WT.mc_id=Z3583848



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