I hope to see many of you tomorrow and Wednesday at the Microsoft Cloud IS Signature Event Series in Dallas and Houston. For those attending, here are some helpful tips on getting ready to attend.
Although we don’t expect that you have a lot of background on Cloud Computing, or Windows Azure specifically, this event is primarily a HANDS-ON event, so it’s important to come physically prepared. You’ll need a computer with at least Windows Vista SP2 pre-loaded with the Windows Azure software. You can get the software from http://aka.ms/GetAzureNow – just click the .NET link from the menu of choices to get started. Any prerequisites for running the Windows Azure Development SDK will be installed automatically for you, thanks to our awesome Web Platform Installer technology. PLEASE do this BEFORE you come to the event as it will save a BUNCH of time getting you ready for the labs.
Azure 90-day Free Trial
You can also get a FREE 90-day Azure Trial to use for this event, and your experimentation in Windows Azure. Just following the following link to get started:
Once you get signed up, navigate over to your Account page and choose the “Preview Features” link at the top. From here you can sign up for Windows Azure Web Sites, Virtual Machines, Mobile Services and more. These requests can take some time to process, so you should sign up sooner rather than later to make sure you’re account is ready to go.
As I mentioned before, this event is primarily a hand-on experience, so you’ll need to get copies of all the labs prior to firing up Visual Studio. The labs are kept in a GitHub repository called WindowsAzure-TrainingKit. The TrainingKit contains a METRIC TON of content, so to make things easy, here are links to the labs so that you can download them without hunting through the entire list.
- HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Cloud Services
- HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure SQL Database
- HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Virtual Machines
- HOL – Introduction to Windows Azure Access Control Service
- HOL – Service Remoting with Windows Azure Service Bus
These links take you to the “home page” for each of the labs. If you’re familiar with GitHub and how to use Git, you can clone these repositories locally and open the assets from there. Alternatively, you can click the big ZIP button on each page and download a ZIP version of each of the HOLs. If you want to start over, you can just download a new ZIP file and be on your way.
For each of the labs, there is a setup.cmd file that you’re supposed to execute to get your machine prepped for the labs with all required dependencies. Unfortunately for some, these labs are still set up to expect Visual Studio 2010, not Visual Studio 2012, so the setup.cmd will FAIL on those. If you’re running VS2010, run setup.cmd and you should be good to go. If you’re running VS2012, here’s how you get your environment updated:
Option 1 – Snippets Only
- Open the Lab folder in Windows Explorer
- Locate the Source\Setup\Scripts\snippets\ folder (if none exists, there are no snippets for that lab)
- Manually run the VSI file to install the snippets.
Option 2 – Major Surgery
- Locate the Source\Setup\Scripts folder
- Edit the installCodeSnippets.ps1 file in Notepad, or your favorite text editor
- Replace all occurrences of “Visual Studio 2010” with “Visual Studio 2012”
- Run the Setup.cmd from the root folder, ignoring errors about the compilation of the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl
- Locate the Source\Assets\SecurityTokenVisualizerControl folder
- Open the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl.sln file
- Rebuild the solution – it *should* compile just fine
- From within this same solution, open the Toolbox window
- Right-click on the empty toolbox area and select “Add Tab…”
- Type in “ACS” into the new tab
- Right click inside the tab and choose “Select Items”
- When the toolbox loads, press the “Browse…” button, and navigate to the bin directory of the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl project folder.
- Select the SecurityTokenVisualizerControl.dll and press “OK” to close.
Additionally, the Identity and Access controls for Visual Studio 2012 are much different than the Add STS Reference controls from Visual Studio 2010. You will have a completely different process for enabling ACS in your VS2012 project than you did in VS2010. To this end, I will probably walk through a sample application in Dallas or omit the session all together. The labs take a lot of time anyway, and feedback from the first 2 events was that we have WAY too much in the agenda already 🙂
I hope this helps you get what you need downloaded and installed for the sessions this week. You can, of course, download everything prior to attending, which would REALLY help move things along during the sessions. In Houston, we’ll have a slightly different schedule in that we’re removing the ACS session in favor of boosting the times for some of the other sessions, but you’re welcome to work on whatever makes sense to you at your own pace. That’s the beauty of the Hands-on Lab approach – you can get hands on with the technology in a semi-structured environment as well as having the ability to go home and work on this stuff at your own pace on your own schedule. I’ve personally learned a lot from these HOLs as I’ve ramped up on Azure over the past few months, and I highly recommend them to you.