Tag Archives: Azure

New Windows Azure Features and Services for spring

8 Jun

Yesterday, Microsoft announced previews of new Windows Azure services that help developers build applications that connect data to users across public and private clouds, take advantage of VHDs and deploy scalable websites quickly and cheaply.

Today, Scott Guthrie will host “Meet Windows Azure” to introduce these new services.  And on Monday, as part of TechEd North America and broadcast live online, Scott, along with Mark Russinovich, Quentin Clark, and Bill Staples will host “Learn Windows Azure” to provide deeper demonstration of the latest Windows Azure features and services to build, deploy, and manage applications in the cloud.

Among the highlights of the announcements made yesterday:

  • Windows Azure Virtual Machines enable the moving of workloads on virtual hard disks (VHDs) between on-premises environments and the cloud.  Windows Azure supports both Windows and Linux VHD images, which can be customized or chosen from a pre-populated gallery.  With the commonly supported VHD format, developers and IT Pros can move existing workloads like a SQL Server database or an existing line-of-business application into Windows Azure to create greater scale, lower cost or deploy to new users.  It has never been easier to move your applications to the cloud and boost them with virtually unlimited power, flexibility and reliability.
  • Windows Azure Virtual Network enables the creation, extension and management of virtual private networks into Windows Azure.  Organizations can now more effectively and securely extend their corporate networks into the cloud.  Did you ever wish you had an extra couple of servers for running a calculation job or to deal with a peak in user demand?  Now you can seamlessly add and remove computing resources to your network, as your need them.
  • Windows Azure Web Sites makes building .NET, Node.js, Java and PHP web experiences easier and cheaper than ever while supporting deployment techniques like Git and FTP and framework applications like WordPress, Joomla!, DotNetNuke, Umbraco and Drupal that web developers already know and trust. Why should it be hard to setup a website that can scale with user demand, that is always up and running, regardless of the technology you’re using?
  • Python support, new Tools  The new Windows Azure SDK (June 2012) includes updated support for Java, PHP and .NET and adds Python support, while providing 100% command line support for developers using a Windows PC or a Mac.  No matter what your development flavor is, you can build applications that take advantage of Windows Azure and all its building blocks – experience the openness and interoperability of Windows Azure.


To discover, learn and get started building applications on the Windows Azure platform, I encourage you to:

image Follow the live stream of “Meet Windows Azure” and discover the new Windows Azure services.
image Tune into Learn Windows Azure on Monday June 11 for a deeper demonstration of what’s new.
image Set up a trial account for getting free access to Windows Azure.
image Of course you want to play with these new features! How can you host your own virtual machine in Azure? What is needed to create a PHP web site using MySQL on Azure?
As of Monday June 11, the Azure Training Kit will be updated and guide you step-by-step through a series of hands-on labs.Download the tools now and get started!

How do I build multi-tenant SaaS solutions?

10 May

Software as a Service (SaaS) is, simply put, software deployed as a hosted service and accessed over the Internet.  As an ISV, providing your software as a service to your customers has a great number of benefits for both you and your customers. 

One important benefit of SaaS comes from the potential to increase your addressable market by lowering the cost of providing your software per customer (“catching the long tail”).  Line-of-business software tends to be custom-tailored to meet individual customers’ needs—potentially including on-site installation and service visits from vendor service teams—and often requires dedicated server hardware, and support staff to manage it. The cost of providing this kind of dedicated attention contributes to the minimum price at which you can afford to sell the software. But for every large enterprise that purchases a line-of-business solution, there are dozens of smaller and medium-sized businesses that could benefit from such a solution, but that cannot afford the expense.  By providing your software as a service, the total cost of providing your software to your customers can be lowered significantly.

Cost of providing software per customerIncrease your addressable market

For a more detailed overview of architecture strategies to catch the long tail, there is a great MSDN article here (it dates from 2006 but is still very valid).

Of course, when thinking about software as a service, the concept of cloud computing comes to mind: being able to allocate compute and storage resources flexibly, in a matter of minutes, and paying only for the resources that you need.  To maximize the newly addressable market, you are looking at lowering the cost per customer.  One way to achieve this is to build a multi-tenant solution.

But wait, haven’t always been told that building multi-tenant applications is a really difficult thing to do?  On top of all the application business logic complexity, you have to invest in automated provisioning and scaling of the infrastructure, tenant metering and billing, identity federation, etcetera.  This is where the Windows Azure platform and the Cloud Ninja & Cloud Samurai projects can accelerate building multi-tenant cloud-based SaaS solutions.

CloudNinja - Windows Azure Multi-tenant Sample 

The Cloud Ninja Project is a Windows Azure multi-tenant sample application demonstrating metering and automated scaling concepts, as well as some common multi-tenant features such as automated provisioning and federated identity.  Key features of this project are: metering and metering charts, automated scaling, and federated identity.

Cloud Ninja architecture

To further assist you with the metering of tenant resource usage in a multi-tenant solution on the Windows Azure platform, there is now the Cloud Ninja Metering Block.  The need to meter and monitor resource usage at the tenant level is a common requirement for multi-tenant solutions. This metering data is commonly used to enforce quotas, set pricing, understand solution cost breakdown by tenant, generate alerts, or identify tenants which may be abusing the solution.  The metering block ships as a hostable runtime component that can be deployed and hosted in an on-premise windows services, console application; or to Windows Azure either in it’s own role or as part of another role for an existing solution. The metering block comes with a number of providers for collecting metering data from existing logs, and can be extended with custom providers for collecting metering data from other sources, such as custom logs, views, etc…


Cloud SamuraiWhen looking at the Cloud Ninja sample application, you may think: “I already have an application, do I really have to redesign my entire application? Isn’t there an easier way for existing applications?”.  Enter the Cloud Samurai project!  This complete code sample demonstrates a hosted multi-tenant approach on Windows Azure for existing web applications that leverages the IIS Application Request Routing (ARR) extension.

Cloud Samurai architecture

Did I already mention that the Windows Azure platform embraces not only .NET developers but is an open platform?  For ISVs or developers that are building Java-based applications and want to leverage the power of the Windows Azure platform, the people at Persistent Systems have developed multi-tenant sample application, called CloudNinja for Java, written in Java which would help the Java community to develop Java applications for Windows Azure. The CloudNinja for Java application will empower Java developers to implement best practices and design patterns required for Java multi-tenant applications on Windows Azure.


Are you already providing your software as a service on the Windows Azure platform? Get started now.

1. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the free trial from http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/.

2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/overview/

IT Innovation with Windows Azure and Vidyano

17 Apr

Definitely an event from one of our top partners you don’t want to miss…


Thu, 3rd May 2012


Windows Azure / Vidyano


2sky / Vidyano (Rhea)

As a successful company you continuously look for ways to increase your business productivity. This requires constant innovation on your products and services to stay ahead of the competition. Often existing IT infrastructure and applications tend to be a bottleneck when adapting to these changing initiatives. In order to tackle this problem, Microsoft and 2sky have joined forces to offer your company a solid and flexible foundation for future growth.


During this seminar you will learn how you can refactor your business information and how this will help you to convince your peers for making the move to the cloud. You will also receive a one month access login to the live developed application for further analysis of the benefits that Windows Azure and Vidyano will bring your company.


Microsoft Belgium
Corporate Village
Leonardo Da Vincilaan 3
1935 Zaventem [Route]


14:00 – 14:15
Why customers are choosing Vidyano
(Gunther Clauwaert – 2sky Business Developer)

Learn why customers have adopted Vidyano in their day-to-day ICT development

14:15 – 14:30
The 5 reasons why Windows Azure makes so much sense for you
(Christophe Van Mollekot – Microsoft Business Evangelist)

Discover the 5 top reasons why companies are adopting Windows Azure,
and how this could help your business

14:30 – 15:30
Your business data as an application in no time with Vidyano
(David Sleeckx – Managing Partner 2sky)

During this first hour we will show you how you can build a full blown application using your existing data infrastructure with little effort

15:30 – 15:45
Short break

15:45 – 16:30
Moving your Vidyano application to the Cloud
(David Sleeckx – Managing Partner 2sky)

During this part of the presentation we will show you how you can deploy your application on Windows Azure without writing a single line of code and have your application available anytime, anywhere, anyhow
“Don’t forget to bring your smartphone or tablet”


Register here

How to get free access to the cloud?

10 Apr

By 2012, 80% of Fortune 1000 enterprises will be using some form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Delivering software-as-a-service to thousands of customers is challenging. Hey, even delivering software to just dozens of customers is not a straightforward task.

Using Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, as your SaaS application platform will enable you to innovate quickly and respond to changing customer needs.  But how do you get started? Is it hard to do and will this invalidate all my existing development investments?

The best way to find out is of course to try it for yourself!  Remember the old adage ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’.  All good and well, but what is this going to cost me?  This is the good part: nothing and you have probably been missing out on thousands of dollars of Azure benefits.

Let me clarify things.  As a member of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN), you are entitled to a series of software benefits.  Especially if you have a Silver of Gold competency, you are a number of free MSDN Premium subscriptions, which in turn give you free access to Windows Azure. And this benefit is there for each MSDN subscription that you have.  So if you have 10 developers with an MSDN subscription, each one has free access to the Windows Azure platform.

MSDN Azure benefits

Now, what if you are not a Microsoft Partner or you don’t have any MSDN subscriptions? In this case, you can still try out the Windows Azure platform by registering for the free trial offer.

For a complete overview of the Windows Azure pricing and how you can get started, check out the pricing details, the different purchasing options and free offers.

So, don’t let cost withhold you from trying out the cloud and providing your software as a service.  Activate those free Azure benefits right now and reap the benefits of cloud computing.

How does Windows Azure handle security, privacy & compliance?

2 Apr

Windows Azure LogoIn talking with ISVs, I very often get questions about security and data protection and data privacy when hosting an application in the cloud. For example, ‘What happens to my data once if my subscription ends? Is it physically destroyed from all media and backups?”.  These questions and concerns are all very relevant and valid, and not always easy to answer.  Until now…

Microsoft has published a document, ‘Standard Response to Request for Information – Privacy & Security’, in which we provide our customers with a detailed overview of how Windows Azure core services fulfills the security, privacy, compliance, and risk management requirements as defined in the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Cloud Control Matrix (CCM).

Download the document from the Microsoft Download Center or from the Cloud Security Alliance’s Security, Trust & Assurance Registry.

By the way, did you know that on November 29, 2011, Windows Azure obtained ISO 27001 certification for its core services following a successful audit by the British Standards Institute (BSI). You can view details of the ISO certificate here.

Are you ready to get started with Windows Azure?  Here are a few easy steps:

1. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the free trial from http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/.

2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/overview/

3. Attend one of our free Azure events:

Get hands-on overview of the entire platform during a two-day Azure Camp at the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Brussels. Or get an introduction on how Azure can be beneficial for your ISV business in one of our Azure business sessions (mail us).

Team Foundation Service: now with cloud-based build service

1 Apr

Visual Studio 11 Beta LogoAs you may or may not know, at the BUILD conference last September, Microsoft announced the availability of a preview of Team Foundation Service.  With Team Foundation Service Microsoft provides you world class ALM as a service, entirely hosted on the Windows Azure platform.

This means that you can benefit from all the great features and functionality of Team Foundation Server, without having to setup a server infrastructure for it.  In only a few minutes you can have an account and be productive with your team, regardless of where you are around the world!  It takes away the time and hassle of arranging for hardware, installing software, providing network infrastructure, etc. The service takes care of all of that for you and lets you focus on your project.

We are continuously adding new functionality to Team Foundation Service Preview and one notable feature that was missing up to now, and which people were often asking for, was being able to run your team builds in the cloud, rather than on local build servers.  Up to now…

Earlier this week Brian Harry, Technical Fellow at Microsoft, announced and demonstrated a new cloud-based build service for Team Foundation Service on Azure.  With this new service, we’ve made it possible to skip installing and managing build machines and just use a pool of build machines that we manage in the cloud. And, of course, you can do more than just build – like with on-premises TFS, you can run a default workflow that includes, compilation, testing, etc or you can create a custom workflow that does whatever you like.

Note that Team Foundation Service is still a pre-release offering. We’re working very hard on it and you should stay tuned to a lot more improvements in the coming months. We are releasing new capabilities to the service about every 3 weeks. In one of our recent updates, we changed our Terms of Service to more clearly express that the service can be used to “go-live” production projects and not just test and experimentation.

Team Foundation Service is a great, real life example of providing software as a service.  Are you ready to provide your software as a service to your customers, where they can get started in a matter of minutes, without having to go through provisioning, installing and configuring an entire infrastructure?

Here’s is how you can get started with the Windows Azure Platform:

1. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the free trial from http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/.
Note: With the new spending limit functionality available you are assured that no charging is happening once your trial offer has expired.

2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/overview/

3. Attend one of our free Azure events:

Get hands-on overview of the entire platform during a two-day Azure Camp at the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Brussels.  Or get an introduction on how Azure can be beneficial for your ISV business in one of our Azure business sessions ().

Did you know that for Microsoft Partners with the Silver or Gold ISV competency, you are entitled to software benefits. Included in these benefits is Visual Studio Premium with MSDN, which entitles you to use Team Foundation Server.

Azure business and technical events.

28 Feb

We see many Belgian ISV’s (both traditional software houses and new web startups) interested in the Cloud to implement a Software as a Service application delivery model on the Windows Azure Platform.

To answer the questions they have we decided to organize an informational event at the Microsoft offices in Zaventem. These events are free and you’re hereby kindly invited to join. There are two tracks: a business oriented and a technical one


  • March 6th, 14-16h (Business, register here)
  • March 20th, 14-16h (Business, register here)
  • March 13th, 14-18h (Technical, register here)
  • March 27th, 14-18h (Technical, register here)

Business sessions: Why Software and Services makes so much sense for ISV’s.

Delivering your application in a SAAS model brings you many advantages. In this business focused session we let you discover what those reasons are … Software as a Service allows you to deploy and sell your application with less investment on infrastructure, you’re more agile to handle growing loads and you can monetize with less sales effort. Think of your application being available as a service which customers can easily find, use and pay for on a recurring base. This idea is a shift from your traditional business model. But it really makes sense. Azure is an application platform that supports you in hosting and running your application as a service. In this session we explain why and show key reference cases (Belgian and international) of companies that are running on Azure.

Technical Sessions: Getting Stared on Azure and optimize your application for the Cloud.

Azure has a lot of technology in place to build cloud applications. These sessions are targeted to the software architects and developers looking for more technical details. We explain the cloud computing concepts and dive in into the different components of the Windows Azure platform from an architectural point of view. You’ll see how the technology allows you to build an application as a service fast and easy and how Azure supports the hosting, storage, database, connectivity and scalability you need. This afternoon has two sessions:

–          How to get started …, learn the basic concepts and the high level architecture of Azure.
–          A more detailed session on how to develop, migrate, deploy and monitor the applications.

Both sessions will discuss useful best practices learned from the field.

Feel free to register (see links above) or mail me at kurt.claeys@microsoft.com for more information.

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