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Windows Azure Platform Training Kit–September 2010 Update

October 5, 2010 jamescon Leave a comment

Last week my team put the finishing touches on some updates to the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit that we’ve had in the works for a few months.  The release went live on the Microsoft download center today.

You can download the updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kits from here.


If you’re not familiar with the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit, it is essentially a collection of hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Windows Azure platform including Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and the Windows Azure AppFabric.  Our Technical Evangelism team at Microsoft builds training kits for almost every key technology including Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4, Windows Phone 7, Silverlight 4, SQL Server 2008 R2, and so on. 


What’s new in this release?

With this release of the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit we first decided to split up the training kit into two separate versions – one for Visual Studio 2010 and another for Visual Studio 2008.   We actually branched the kit back in mid August.  Moving forward we will only be updating content and building new content for Visual Studio 2010.   This decision was based on several factors including the size of the kits (combined they’re over 331MB compressed) and the test surface (we were testing 4 different combinations of languages, frameworks, and tools).

The September release is a huge update.   Here’s what’s new in the training kit:

  • Updated all of the presentations to provide content for delivering a 3 day training workshop on the Windows Azure Platform.
  • Updated all hands-on labs and demo scripts for Visual Studio 2010, the .NET Framework 4, and the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio version 1.2 release.
  • Added three new hands-on labs including:
    • Introduction to the AppFabric Access Control Service (September 2010 Labs Release)
    • Debugging Applications in Windows Azure
    • Asynchronous Workload Handling
  • Added a new exercise to the "Deploying Applications in Windows Azure" hands-on lab to show how to use the new tools to directly deploy from Visual Studio 2010.
  • Added a new exercise to the "Introduction to the AppFabric Service Bus" hands-on lab to show how to connect a WCF Service in IIS 7.5 to the Service Bus
  • Updated the "Introduction to AppFabric Service Bus" hands-on lab based on feedback and split the lab into 2 parts
  • Updated the training kit navigation pages to include a 3 day agenda, a change log, and an improved setup process for hands-on labs.


    I hope you find this release helpful.  Is there someone else you would like to see in the training kit?  Are you using the training kit today to learn how to use the Windows Azure Platform?  Do you have other suggestions for improving the content?  We would love to hear from you.  Just leave me a comment or drop the team an email with your feedback.

Windows Azure Application Monitoring Management Pack–now available

October 4, 2010 jamescon Leave a comment

At the PDC conference last year we first announced that the System Center team was working on a management pack for Windows Azure.  On Friday they released the first version of the management pack to the download center.  You can download the management pack from here.

Having the ability to monitor Windows Azure applications from System Center Operations Manager is a key requirement that I’ve heard from many customers.  I haven’t played with the MP since we included it in the TechEd North America keynote demo.  It looks like the team added several key features to give more insight into the applications running in Windows Azure.   Here are the key features described in the readme:

  • Discover Windows Azure applications.
  • View the status of each role instance.
  • Collect and monitor performance information.
  • Collect and monitor Windows events.
  • Collect and monitor the .NET Framework trace messages from each role instance.
  • View performance, event, and the .NET Framework trace data from Windows Azure storage account.
  • Change the number of role instances.

I also encourage you to check out the Windows Azure MMC management tool and the Windows Azure Powershell cmdlets that Ryan Dunn created.  These are designed primarily for configuration instead of monitoring, however, they can be very helpful for automating and simplifying the management of your Windows Azure applications.

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Hello Again

September 4, 2010 jamescon 1 comment

Welcome to my new blog.  After being repeatedly asked “why don’t you blog”, I’ve finally decided to move off and start a new blog after going silent for a few years. 

So who am I?  I’m a Senior Director at Microsoft in the corporate Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) group.  I lead a team of technical evangelist that focus on several key technologies including the Windows Azure Platform, SQL Server, Visual Studio, and the .NET Framework.  Basically my team is responsible for helping developers understand how to use new developer tools and technologies.  So if you’re going to PDC, downloading a training kit, or watching a Channel9 video for one of these technologies – chances our someone on my team is involved.  Over the last 2.5 years I’ve been focusing most of my time defining Microsoft’s technical strategy for the cloud, which has surfaced in keynotes at some of Microsoft’s major conferences such as PDC, TechEd, and Mix.  I plan to use this new blog to share more about the above technologies and to highlight some of the new resources coming from the evangelism team.  Stay tuned.

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