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Azure Firestarter Fall 2010 - Session 3 (of 3)

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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?

Windows Azure was first announced at the Microsoft PDC in 2008.  A year later, shortly after PDC 09, Windows Azure went into production.  At PDC 2010 in Redmond, a whole slew of new features for the Windows Azure platform were announced.

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In November & December 2010, the Microsoft US Cloud team hosted a series of Windows Azure Firestarter events in several US East Coast cities.  Brian Hitney, Jim O’Neil, and Peter Laudati combined presentations and hands-on exercises to demystify this disruptive (and super-hyped!) technology and to provide clarity as to where the cloud and Windows Azure can take you.

We recorded the last event on December 9th in the Washington, DC area, and now it is here for your learning pleasure!  So, pop on some headphones and listen & learn at your own pace! 

There are three recorded sessions:

Session 1: Getting Your Head Into the Cloud by Peter Laudati (presented by Brian Hitney)

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?”

Session 2: Migrating Your Applications to the Cloud by Brian Hitney

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.

Session 3: Creating (and Adapting) Applications for the Cloud by Jim O’Neil

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.

Note: There was an instructor-led hands-on lab at the Firestarter events.  However, we did not record this portion. The lab is based on the Azure @Home application, and features a fun exercise using distributed computing to help with medical research.  You can view previous screencasts about the lab, and follow along at home by visiting:

You can find all of the Firestarter session slides at the resource page on the US Cloud Connection site.  US Cloud Connection is our site for staying connected with the Microsoft Evangelists in the US focused on Windows Azure.



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