Cloud, Development, ITPro, Product Announcements, USCloud

VMware or Microsoft? – The Complete Series

Some of the guys on my team have created an AMAZING series of blog posts comparing Windows Server and Hyper-V to VMWare’s offerings. Here’s a complete list of the entire series – you should DEFINITELY take a look…

Date Article Author
Aug 12, 2013 Series Introduction Kevin Remde@KevinRemde
Aug 13, 2013 What is a “Purpose-Built Hypervisor? Kevin Remde@KevinRemde
Aug 14, 2013 Simplified Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 Host Patching = Greater Security and More Uptime Chris Avis@ChrisAvis
Aug 15, 2013 Reducing VMware Storage Costs WITH Windows Server 2012 Storage Spaces Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Aug 16, 2013 Does size really matter? Brian Lewis@BrianLewis_
Aug 19, 2013 Let’s talk certifications! Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Aug 20, 2013 Virtual Processor Scheduling Tommy Patterson@Tommy_Patterson
Aug 21, 2013 FREE Zero Downtime Patch Management

Keith Mayer@KeithMayer

Aug 22, 2013 Agentless Protection Chris Avis@ChrisAvis
Aug 23, 2013 Site to Site Disaster Recovery with HRM Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Aug 25, 2013 Destination: VMWorld Jennelle Crothers@jkc137
Aug 26, 2013 Get the “Scoop” on Hyper-V during VMworld Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Aug 27, 2013 VMWorld: Key Keynote Notes Kevin Remde@KevinRemde
Aug 28, 2013 VMWorld: Did you know that there is no extra charge? Kevin Remde@KevinRemde
Aug 29, 2013 VMWorld: A Memo to IT Leadership Yung Chou@YungChou
Aug 30, 2013 Moving Live Virtual Machines, Same But Different Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Sep 2, 2013 Not All Memory Management is Equal Dan Stolts@ITProGuru
Sep 3, 2013 Can I get an app with that? Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Sep 4, 2013 Deploying Naked Servers Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Sep 5, 2013 Automated Server Workload Balancing Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Sep 6, 2013 Thoughts on VMWorld Jennelle Crothers@jkc137
Sep 9, 2013 Shopping for Private Clouds Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Sep 11, 2013 Dynamic Storage Management in Private Clouds Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Sep 12, 2013 Replaceable? or Extensible? What kind of virtual switch do you want? Chris Avis@ChrisAvis
Sep 13, 2013 Offloading your Storage Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Sep 16, 2013 VDI: A Look at Supportability and More! Tommy Patterson@Tommy_Patterson
Sep 17, 2013 Agentless Backup for Virtual Environments Special Guest Chris Henley@ChrisJHenley
Sep 19, 2013 How robust is your availability? Kevin Remde@KevinRemde
Sep 20, 2013 VM Guest Operating System Support Brian Lewis@BrianLewis_
Sep 23, 2013 How to license Windows Server VMs Brian Lewis@BrianLewis_
Sep 24, 2013 Comparing vSphere 5.5 and Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V At-A-Glance Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Sep 25, 2013 Evaluating Hyper-V Network Virtualization as an alternative to VMware NSX Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Sep 26, 2013 Automation is the Key to Happiness Matt Hester@MatthewHester
Sep 27, 2013 Comparing Microsoft’s Public Cloud to VMware’s Public Cloud Blain Barton@BlainBar
Sep 30, 2013 What does AVAILABILITY mean in YOUR cloud? Keith Mayer@KeithMayer
Featured, Product Announcements, WP8

Windows Phone 8 Starter Kit for WordPress

After many emails, and much procrastination, I finally had a chance tonight to update the Windows Phone Starter Kit for WordPress over to Windows Phone 8 and update it to support WordPress 3.5.1.

For those of you running the old WP7 version, the changes you need to make to support WordPress 3.5.1 are pretty simple, but do require a bit of code writing.  To make it as easy as possible, this set of steps *should* work for a simple update:

  1. Open your Starter Kit in Visual Studio 2012 (this is now a Windows Phone 8 project, not a Windows Phone 7 project, so Visual Studio 2012 is now required).
  2. Copy all the code from https://github.com/ChrisKoenig/Windows-Phone-Starter-Kit-for-WordPress/blob/master/Networking/WordPressPlugInReader.cs and paste over the top of the existing code in your Visual Studio project.
  3. Recompile and test locally

Basically what I had to do was add a variable parameter to each of the query strings on the URIs requesting data from the WordPress site as it seems that WP3.5+ is caching the data based on the query string parameters now, which it didn’t used to do before.

If this doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll try to help walk you through it.

Azure, Cloud, Development, Featured, ITPro, Product Announcements, USCloud, Windows

Rock Paper Azure Redux

Have you heard the news? We’ve recently raised the stakes with Rock Paper Azure game. This cloud-based coding challenge is back for just six weeks – and anyone can win! Simply get your Windows Azure account, and build and upload a bot (or re-boot your existing bot if you’ve already built one). Tweet about it with #AzureRPS to @RockPaperAzure and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of five weekly prizes. When the dust settles, we’ll enter each week’s top 10 bots (60 total) in a random draw for one of three grand prizes.

  • 1st Prize: A Surface tablet.
  • 2nd Prize: A 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect.
  • 3rd Prize: A Kinect Sensor for Xbox 360.

Don’t have an azure account? Get a FREE 90-day trial at http://aka.ms/thecloud.

Don’t have an existing bot? Build a new one by visiting the Getting Started page on the Rock Paper Azure website.

Full details can be found at the Rock Paper Azure website, located at http://www.rockpaperazure.com/

Azure, Cloud, Development, Events, Product Announcements

Windows Azure Fast!

Enter to win a trip to Las Vegas for you and a friend plus track time with some of the world’s fastest cars! Just upload a short video telling us how Windows Azure made your apps or development faster.

This is how we do it:

  1. Visit www.meetwindowsazure.com/fast and check out some of the videos on how people are going fast using Windows Azure
  2. Grab a flipcam, video camera, phone or whatever is in front of you and record a short video discussing (or showing) how you are doing something fast using Windows Azure (5 minutes or less)
  3. Upload your video to the site
  4. Spread the word to the rest of the community, and encourage people to vote for your video.  Blog with pointer to campaign site (http://bit.ly/AzureFast1) and tweet using #AzureFast (case sensitive)

To get your eukaryotic cells separating the chromosomes in their nuclei into two identical sets, check out the worlds fastest rapper laying down an awesome Windows Azure groove:

Azure, Cloud, Development, Product Announcements

New Azure SDK and Services Updates

Some AMAZING new updates to Windows Azure were announced yesterday. I LOVE the rate at which new and improved features are being added to the Windows Azure platform, and I think you’ll find these updates particularly compelling. In a nutshell, here’s what was announced:

iOS Support for Windows Azure Mobile Services

The team released a native iOS SDK is for developers programming in Objective-C on the iPhone and iPad platforms. Included in the SDK are support for all the same features you get with the Windows 8 around data storage, dynamic schematization and authentication. Each Mobile Service can actually support *all* available clients, which now includes iOS, and it does NOT require a separate Mobile Services project for each different client. You can get sample code for each platform from the Mobile Service simply by toggling a switch:

While the release is still in development, and should not be considered a “final product”, the bits are pretty solid and the sample app worked for me without issue. I’m looking forward to them adding support for Notifications, which is missing from this current release, but should be coming out soon.

New Authentication Providers

Supported in both the Windows Store and new iOS bits, a set of new authentication providers have been added to the Mobile Services SDK. New providers include Google,  Twitter and Facebook, to augment the already existing Microsoft Account capacity.  Using the new provider model is really simple – first, you update the Mobile Services portal with the API keys that correspond to the types of authentication your application supports:

Then, you add code similar to the following, to process the login with the selected authentication provider:

private MobileServiceUser user;

private async System.Threading.Tasks.Task Authenticate()
{
    while (user == null)
    {
        string message;
        try
        {
            user = await App.MobileService
                LoginAsync(MobileServiceAuthenticationProvider.Facebook);
            message = 
                string.Format("You are now logged in - {0}", user.UserId);
        }
        catch (InvalidOperationException)
        {
            message = "You must log in. Login Required";
        }

        var dialog = new Windows.UI.Popups.MessageDialog(message);
        dialog.Commands.Add(new UICommand("OK"));
        await dialog.ShowAsync();
    }

}

Pretty simple!

Service Scripts Update

Some great new functionality is now available in the Mobile Service script layer.  These scripts are triggered off of any CRUD operation on a Mobile Service’s table and can already handle doing data and query validation, filtering, web requests and more.  The update now brings script access to blob storage, service bus, table storage, and more.  In addition, SendGrid and Twilio are now modules that can be called from the scripts, giving developers the ability to send emails (SendGrid) or SMS text messages (Twilio) whenever a script is fired.

Updates to the Windows Azure Training Kit

Along with all the updates to the SDK, there are also some updates to the Windows Azure Training Kit.   With this latest refresh, the kit now contains 38 presentations, 24 demos and 47 Hands-on Labs.  Speaker notes have been added to may of the presentations, and man of the labs have been updated to reference Visual Studio 2012.

SO GO GET IT ALREADY!

If you don’t already have a Windows Azure account, sign up today for a FREE 90-Day Trial at http://aka.ms/thecloud and get to work trying out some of these cool new features! You’ll get access to all the Windows Azure services for 90-days with a “spending limit” cap put in place once the trial expires to make sure that your credit card is not charged for any services without your explicit permission.  It’s a no-risk offer that you should jump on ASAP!

Azure, Development, Open Source, Product Announcements, Videos, Web

Announcing TypeScript Preview for Visual Studio

Today, Soma announced on his blog the preview release of a new, open source project called TypeScript.  TypeScript adds optional types, classes and modules to JavaScript so that developer can make better tooling for large-scale JavaScript applications.  TypeScript comes with a cross-platform compiler that allows developers to code in TypeScript and output standards-based JavaScript for any browser or host.

Along with the language features of TypeScript itself, Microsoft is also announcing the release of an extension for Visual Studio 2012 which provides a cool tooling experience with Intellisense, refactoring support and as-you-type error reporting, just like you’d expect from Visual Studio.

You can learn more about TypeScript via the following links:

Go get it – it looks really cool!

Design, Development, Product Announcements, Web, Windows, Windows 8

GameSalad Embraces Windows 8

I know this has been in the oven for some time now, but I just got the email confirmation this morning that GameSalad – creators of the popular “no coding required” game development environment – now support publishing to the Windows Store!  I’ve used the GameSalad environment a bit, and although I’m a far cry from ready to publish a game, will say that it is crazy easy to build games with this platform.  All the stuff I was always concerned about keeping up with on an XNA-based game simply goes away as you dive into the GameSalad Creator product.

Game development is basically a set of drag-and-drop operations that you perform against a set of objects in your environment. You drag in images, videos, sounds and other assets and wire them up to “actors” that do activities within your game. You can use a simple rules engine to assign different behaviors to the actors and make them perform in your game in any way you can imagine.

And, as they say – that’s not all!

In addition to being able to publish your game to the Windows Store, GameSalad also allows you to publish to iOS (iPhone an iPad), Android and HTML5 as well – making your single investment in game development pay off with 5 separate targets! Awesome!

Download your copy of GameSalad Creator today and get busy building some amazing games!

Development, Featured, Product Announcements, Windows, Windows 8

Windows 8 Store is Open for Business

Starting immediately, Windows Store app submission is open to all registered Windows Store developers including individuals and companies. Join the excitement and become part of the vibrant community of app and game developers for Windows 8.

I am starting tonight to migrate a few of the Windows Phone apps I’ve already built, as well as a few ideas I have for some new content, like the Mastermind Game I’ve been playing around with.  My teammate Jared Bienz has done a lot of work around migrating from Windows Phone to Windows 8 – his blog posts on the subject would be valuable to all Windows 8 developers who have spent any time with Windows Phone.

So – create your Store developer account today and start submitint your apps and games at https://appdev.microsoft.com/StorePortals

Registration is quick and easy, so go do it!

Azure, Cloud, Development, Product Announcements, Web

WebMatrix 2 + Windows Azure

WebMatrix 2 shipped this week with some new Windows Azure-related features!

For all the details, visit http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windowsazure/archive/2012/09/06/webmatrix-2-is-released-new-windows-azure-features.aspx

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Download Windows Azure Web Site applications to WebMatrix
    Windows Azure allows you to download your existing Windows Azure Website project into WebMatrix to work on locally or help you create a new project from the Application Gallery, or from a set of pretty cool templates.
  • Publish to Windows Azure
    Once you have an application downloaded, created from template or application gallery, or created from scratch, you can use WebMatrix to publish right back up to Windows Azure. You can import publish settings as downloaded from your Windows Azure Website dashboard, and publish right back up to the cloud. It’s really simple to use, and WebMatrix, like Visual Studio, is smart enough to only push the changed bits back to the cloud, optimizing the upload performance and getting your changes up and running as fast as possible.
  • Publish your Database
    Your application have a database with it? No problem! In addition to your published code, WebMatrix can also publish the scheme or database with your application

Congrats to the guys on the WebMatrix team! WebMatrix does more, of course, than just support Windows Azure applications, but you can learn more about that on the Web Matrix website as well as the new release announcement.