Episode 31 - Life with Azure in the real world

by Sujit D'Mello June 4, 2014


The guys talks about 2 scenarios where customer have tried to use Azure in interesting ways and discuss some of the best practices in utilizing Azure in each case.


Media File: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Podcast31.mp3






The Virtual Machines Readiness Assessment tool will automatically inspect your on-premises environment, whether it is physical or virtualized, and provide you with a check list and detailed report on steps you need to take to move your environment to the cloud.


Microsoft ACE / Information Security and Risk Management team recommended practices for Azure-related commonly encountered (but tricky to get right) scenarios:


Newest Infiniband offering performance research.

Only AWS & MSFT are shown in the Gartner IaaS Top Quadrant per the latest report








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Episode 30 - Automation, Scheduler & WebJobs (SDK)

by Sujit D'Mello May 29, 2014

Automation is more geared towards Admins for running Windows Workflow-style orchestrations. Used for running complex datacenter jobs.

Scheduler is a generic and robust schedule engine. It can run any workload on schedule and is leveraged by various Azure services.

WebJobs allows running prorams in various languages to do work related to an Azure Website.

.cmd, .bat, .exe (using windows cmd)

.ps1 (using powershell)

.sh (using bash)

.php (using php)

.py (using python)

.js (using node)


Jobs can be run:

  • On Demand
  • Continuously Running
  • Scheduled


It still takes a lot of work to write these programs so the new WebJobs SDK makes this easier. It uses Triggers and Bindings to make the I/O portion of these applications easier.

Still in Preview. Need VS 2013 or 2012 and get it via NuGet. It's also in GitGub if you need to look at the code.


Media File: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode30.mp3


Updates and News:

Microsoft announced a global strategic partnership with SalesForce.com to create new solutions that will connect SalesForce.com's CRM apps and platform to Microsoft Office and Windows


Under the terms of the agreement, we will work with salesforce.com on a number of areas:

New interoperability between Salesforce and Office 365 will give customers access to the content they need to collaborate, sell, service and market from virtually anywhere

We are bringing the Salesforce1 app to Windows devices, phones and PCs


Salesforce also renewed its commitment to use SQL Server as the database for ExactTarget and established a new commitment to use Microsoft Azure for ExactTarget Development and Testing.


Microsoft Buys Mobile App Management Platform Capptain – a startup based out of Paris that provides app developers with analytics and the ability to send push notifications based on customer usage patterns. The service is expected to be integrated into Azure.


SAP on Azure



The book on HDInsight by our colleague Buck Woody is released - and Microsoft Press has decided to make it free: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_press/archive/2014/05/27/free-ebook-introducing-microsoft-azure-hdinsight.aspx  




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Episode 29 - Azure Files

by Cale Teeter May 21, 2014


What is this all about?


SMB 2.1 protocol


VM/Web/Worker on Azure can share files using standard file api (ReadFile/WriteFile)


REST interface as well


Moving existing apps to the cloud (without more integration work)


App Settings




Install share (dev builds)



How do I use this thing 

  • PowerShell cmdlets
  • REST Apis


RDP Drives works!




  • Must be in the same region as the storage account hosting (REST everywhere!)
  • Currently can't copy directly from blob to files or between File Shares
  • Reading GEO copy of Files
  • Using SAS (must use accountname/accountkey)
  • No emulator support currently


Media File: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode29.mp3

VS 2013 Update 2 Azure related enhancements:


Regional Virtual Networks: http://blog.azure.com/2014/05/14/regional-virtual-networks/



Final warning about Guest OS family 1 (2008 based servers) 




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Episode 28 - TechEd 2014 Announcements

by Sujit D'Mello May 14, 2014

Azure ExpressRoute General Availability:

  • Announcing new partnerships with:
    • TelecityGroup and SingTel to expand ExpressRoute’s reach in Europe and APAC
    • Zadara to allows Azure customers to use Zadara storage via ExpressRoute in the U.S. 


Azure Compute-intensive A8 & A9 Virtual Machines General Availability for virtual machines.


Azure Files - Public Preview - enables virtual machines in an Azure datacenter to mount a shared file system using the SMB protocol.   


Azure Import/Export - General Availability


Microsoft Antimalware and security partnership with Trend Micro and Symantec - Public Preview.


  • Deep integration for Trend’s Deep Security™ and SecureCloud™ products in the Azure platform.  Additionally, Microsoft is also working to integrate PortalProtect™ with Azure.  
  • Symantec End Point Protection (SEP) is being supported on Azure. Through deep portal integration, customers have the ability to specify that they intend to use SEP within a VM.


Internal Load balancing - Public Preview.  Provides the ability to load balance Azure virtual machines with private IP addresses.


Virtual Networking features - General Availability of multiple site-to-site VPN and VNET-to-VNET connectivity. 


IP Reservation for VIPs and Instance-level public IP’s for Virtual Machines – General Availability:


  • Customers can now reserve public IP addresses and use them as virtual IP (VIP) addresses for their applications.
  • With Instance-level Public IPs for VMs, customers can now assign public IP addresses to their virtual machines, so they become directly addressable without having to map an endpoint.


Azure Site Recovery (formerly Hyper-V Recovery Manager) – New features announced:


  • Today, Windows Azure Hyper-V Recovery Manager provides a disaster recovery solution for customers which helps protect the availability of System Center private clouds. 
  • In June a public preview of new features will enable customers to replicate virtual machines from their primary site directly to Azure, instead of a second customer site. 


Azure RemoteApp: New service delivering remote applications from the Azure cloud - business applications run on Windows Server in the Azure cloud where they’re easier to scale and update. Employees install Microsoft Remote Desktop clients on their Internet-connected laptop, tablet, or phone—and can then access applications as if they were running locally. 


API Management - Public preview - new service enabling organizations to publish APIs to developers, partners and employees securely and at scale. 


Azure Cache Services:


  •  General Availability for Azure Managed Cache service.
  • Azure Redis Cache service is available in Public Preview. 
  • Azure Shared Caching Service will be retired in September 2014 and with it the Microsoft’s Silverlight-based portal. 


Azure Traffic Manager - General Availability - supports both Azure endpoints and external endpoints.


BizTalk Hybrid Connections- Public Preview of BizTalk Hybrid Connections – this new Azure service enables cloud services to more securely, quickly, and easily integrate Azure cloud solutions with on-premises applications. With no custom code required, Hybrid Connections enables customers to connect to any on-premises TCP or HTTP resource—such as Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, or any web service—from Azure Web Sites.


Windows Client VMs for MSDN Subscribers: Virtual machine images for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are now available in the Azure virtual machine gallery for MSDN subscribers.



Media File: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode28.mp3




VM Depot is a community-driven catalog of preconfigured operating systems, applications, and development stacks that can easily be deployed on Windows Azure. Find your favorite software and deploy it in minutes, or join the community, build a virtual machine image, and share it with others.



VM Depot is brought to you by Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation. The virtual machine images on this site are provided and licensed to you by community members. Microsoft Open Technologies does not screen these images for security, compatibility or performance, and does not provide any license rights or support for them.






RemoteApp demo: https://www.remoteapp.windowsazure.com/ClientDownload/WindowsDemo.aspx



Filed Under: Podcast

Episode 27 - Azure Automation

by Sujit D'Mello May 7, 2014


Automate (resource on Azure environment)


  • Creation
  • Deployment
  • Monitoring
  • Maintenance




Frequent or time-consuming jobs 


  • WebSites
  • Cloud Services
  • Virtual Machines
  • Storage
  • SQL Server




Extend by importing a PowerShell module or writing in C#




Write runbooks in PowerShell Workflow syntax


Extensible Workflows






Logs processing


Command line tools





Media: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode27.mp3 


Azure Datacenter in Brazil:  http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2014/04/17/microsoft-azure-brazil-region-now-in-public-preview.aspx



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Episode 26 - Intelligent Systems Service

by Sujit D'Mello April 30, 2014

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Episode 25 - Notification Hubs

by Sujit D'Mello April 23, 2014


Notification Hubs provide a push infrastructure with the following advantages:


  • Multiple platforms : iOS, Android and Windows
  • Works with any back-end. Cloud or on-premises, .NET, PHP, Java, Node, etc.
  • Scale. Notification Hubs scale to millions of devices without the need of re-architecting or sharding. Available in all regions.
  • Rich set of delivery patterns. Associate devices with tags, representing logical users or interest groups.
  • Personalization. Each device can have one or more templates, to achieve per-device localization and personalization without affecting back-end code.
  • Security. Shared Access Secret (SAS) or federated authentication.
  • Rich telemetry. Available in the portal and programmatically.




Media file: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode25.mp3


Device APIs


Device APIs are only used to register devices from mobile apps (for security reasons, they do not expose Send methods). They automate the management of Notification Hubs-related information in the device local storage, and they support registration for a single PNS (for example, the Windows Store device APIs only register Windows devices).


Notification Hubs currently provides the following device API sets:





Back-end APIs


Back-end APIs are used to send notifications and for registration management from the back-end for all platforms.


Notification Hubs currently provides the following back-end API sets:







All Notification Hubs functionality is available using REST APIs. For more information, see Notification Hubs REST APIs.



The Build video on Notification Hubs is at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014/2-616.



Filed Under: Podcast

Episode 24 - Mobile Services

by Sujit D'Mello April 17, 2014

Evan and Cale talk about Azure Mobile Services which allows app developers on any platform to spin up a quick 'n easy back-end for storing data ad do authentication.


Media file: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode24.mp3



SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure Blob Storage Service: Better Together


Summary: SQL Server 2014 introduces significant new features toward a deeper integration with Microsoft Azure, thus unlocking new scenarios and provide more flexibility in the database space for IaaS data models. This technical article will cover in depth SQL Server 2014 Data Files on Azure Blob storage service, starting from step-by-step configuration, then providing guidance on scenarios, benefits and limitations, best practices and lessons learned from early testing and adoption. Additionally, a fully featured example of a new (Windows Server Failover Clustering) - like feature will be introduced to demonstrate the power of Microsoft Azure and SQL Server 2014 when combined together. 


SQL Server 2014 and Windows Azure Blob Storage Service: Better Together




Script Browser for Windows PowerShell ISE


Script Browser for Windows PowerShell ISE enables you to search for over 9000 script samples in the TechNet Script Center from within the scripting environment.


Script Browser for Windows PowerShell ISE




Microsoft Analytics Platform System


The Microsoft Analytics Platform System is your turnkey big data analytics appliance combining a high performance MPP SQL Server data warehouse with Hadoop into a single solution that offers seamless integration for of all of your data.






Microsoft Azure Intelligent System Service


Built on Windows Azure, the Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service (ISS) makes it easier for enterprises to securely connect, manage, capture and transform machine-generated data from Line of Business (LoB) assets, such as industry devices and sensors, regardless of OS platform.  When enterprises use ISS to harness machine-generated data, they can drive improvements in operations and unlock new business opportunities by leveraging Microsoft assets like Power Business Intelligence (BI) and HD Insight for analytics to produce meaningful insights.


Link to request preview




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Episode 23 - More BUILD Goodness

by Sujit D'Mello April 9, 2014


Express Route


Dynamic Gateway / P2S


Basic Instances


IoT - Orleans - Framework for massive scale




Media file: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode23.mp3


Azure SDK 2.3 for .NET is available.

The new Azure SDK 2.3 for .NET supports the following additional features:

  • Virtual Machines: Remote debug native or managed code [Article] and create virtual machines from Server Explorer [Article]
  • Web Sites: View and edit remote files and logs [Article] and easily publish Web apps using the improved Publish Web experience [Article]
  • Cloud Services: General availability of Emulator Express [Article] with Run as Normal User support & Remote debugging for native code [Article]
  • Storage: Updated Storage Emulator & Storage Client 3.0 now included in new projects [Storage Dev Center]
  • PowerShell, X-Plat CLI and .NET Automation (separate downloads from Azure SDK 2.3): Support for using Resource Manager [PowerShell ArticleX-Plat CLI Article], and lots of new commands for automating Web Sites, Cloud Services, VMs and more [PowerShell ArticleX-Plat CLI Article]

The Azure SDK 2.3 can be downloaded from the Azure .NET Developer Center




A selection of Microsoft Azure Active Directory Samples on github


Process automation capability to simplify Azure cloud management

Use runbooks (in a form of a PowerShell script) to automate the manual, long-running, error-prone, and frequently repeated tasks that are commonly performed in a cloud environment.






Internet of Things with Azure Service Bus


A nice video on the advent of the Internet of things and how connected devices are presenting numerous integration and messaging challenges, which can be tackled with Service Bus. In this session, Todd Holmquist-Sutherland & Paolo Salvatori  demonstrates how to use queues and topics to enable a variety of M2M scenarios--everything from command/control to telemetry.



Filed Under: Podcast

Episode 22 - BUILD Announcements

by Sujit D'Mello April 3, 2014

At the Build 2014 conference, we introduced the new Microsoft Azure Preview portal and the new Basic tier of compute instances.

We also announced the general availability of the Web Sites Basic tier along with enhancements to the Web Sites Standard tier, Active Directory Premium, Scheduler, RA-GRS, Dynamic Routing Gateways and Point-to-Site, AutoScale, and Visual Studio Online.

In addition, Azure Automation public preview was announced and Azure Backup pricing was reduced

Media file: http://azpodcast.blob.core.windows.net/episodes/Episode22.mp3










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