Announcing Windows Infrastructure Services General Availability

This is a major milestone for Windows Azure! We are excited to announce that Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Windows Azure Virtual Network now are generally available. These new services make it possible for you to move your applications into the cloud as is.

One point holds true in every discussion – the cloud should be an enabler for innovation, and an extension of your organization’s IT, not just a fancier way to describe cheap infrastructure and application hosting. This brief video shows what you can do with Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.

You’ve also told us that you want best-in-class performance at a low price. That’s why today we are also announcing a commitment to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth. This starts with reducing our GA prices on Virtual Machines and Cloud Services by 21-33%.

You can find the general availability announcement and the price reduction details at Windows Azure Blog.

Learn more about Windows Azure at www.windowsazure.com. Explore common scenarios where Windows Azure Infrastructure Services can help your business by visiting our Infrastructure Services page. Finally, get going by signing up for a free trial today

Django now available on Windows Azure

Django is a high-level Python Web framework that encourages rapid development and clean, pragmatic design. Django is now available in the Windows Azure Web Application Gallery.

Once you are logged into the Management portal, you will need to create a new site “from gallery” as shown below

Django 1

Django 2

You can find the entire tutorial here.

Enjoy!

Eight Reasons C# is the Best Language for Mobile Development

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The statisticians behind the Popularity of Programming Languages (PYPL) index have named C# the language of the year for 2012. Their data shows that C# popularity grew by 2.3 percent in 2012, more than any other programming language during the same period.

What accounts for the growth of C# in 2012? Well, the launch of Windows 8 has probably played a role — C# remains the dominant language of third-party application development on Windows devices.

But we think there’s more to it than that. Here are eight reasons why C# is increasingly the programming language of choice for mobile development:

Read the entire post here: http://blog.xamarin.com/eight-reasons-c-sharp-is-the-best-language-for-mobile-development/

Series of Posts on Azure Security

My colleague Bruce Kyle has put together a view into how you can secure your application in Windows Azure. He’s pulled together information from hundreds of pages to provide you with a how-to guide on developing your application in a secure way on Windows Azure.

This six-part series describes the threats, how you can respond, what processes you can put into place for the lifecycle of your application, and prescribes a way for you to implement best practices around the requirements of your application. I’ll also show ways for you to incorporate user identity and some of services Azure provides that will enable your users to access your cloud applications in new says.

At first, the steps may seem lengthy. But as you will find, Windows Azure shares the responsibility to help secure your application. By using Windows Azure platform, you are able to take a deeper look into your application and take steps to make your application more secure.

Here are the links to each part in this series:

Part 1: The Challenges, Defense in Depth. This post describes the threat landscape and introduces the plan for your application to employ defense in depth in partnership with Windows Azure.

Part 2: What Azure Provides Out-of-the-Box.This is an overview that security with Windows Azure is a shared responsibility, and Windows Azure provides your application with important security features. But then again, it also exposes other vulnerabilities that you should consider. In addition, I’ll explore how Microsoft approaches compliance.

Part 3: Identifying Your Security Frame. This post explores how you can examine your application and identify attack surfaces. The idea of a Security Frame is a way for you to look at your application to determine treats and your responses, before you even begin coding. He point you to checklists that you can use when you are architecting your application.

Part 4: What Else You Need to Do. In addition to protecting your application from threats, there are additional steps you should take when you deploy your application. We provide a list of mitigations that you should employ in your application development and deployment.

Part 5: Claims-Based Identity, Single Sign On. User identification represents the keys to accessing data and business processes in your application. In this section, I describe how you can separate user identity and the roles of your user out of your application and make it easier to create single sign on applications.

Part 6: How Azure Services Extends Your App Security. Finally, he shows how other services in Windows Azure provide secure identity mapping, messaging, and connection to on premises application. This section suggests how you can use Windows Azure Active Directory, Windows Azure Connect, and Service Bus for your cloud applications, on premises applications, and hybrid applications.

Part 7: Tips, Tools, Coding Best Practices. here are a few more items you should consider in securing your Windows Azure application. Here are some tools, coding tips, and best practices: running on the operating system, error handling, and how to access to Azure Storage

The intent of this series is to provide a context for you to learn more and empower you to write great applications for the public cloud.

Learn more at Global Foundation Services Online Security. The Global Foundation Services team delivers trustworthy, available online services that create a competitive advantage for you and for Microsoft’s Windows Azure.

Just Released: Windows Phone 7 Guidance – patterns & practices

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Microsoft patterns & practices is excited to announce the release of:

  • A case study for Building Advanced Windows Phone Applications
  • Building Testable Windows Phone Applications
  • Developing a Windows Phone Application using the MVVM Pattern
Resources:
>> Go to Patterns & Practices: Windows Phone Guidance Home on MSDN
>> On Codeplex:
http://wp7guide.codeplex.com

Openness Update for Windows Azure

windows_azure_smallWhat an exiting release it is! The December release of Windows Azure brings many cool new features including extensive support of open source libraries like Node.js, MongoDB, Hadoop, Solr, Memcached.

You can find an overview of the support was announced on Port 25 on Openness Update for Windows Azure.

We understand that there are many different technologies that developers may want to use to build applications in the cloud. Developers want to use the tools that best fit their experience, skills, and application requirements, and our goal is to enable that choice.

In keeping with that goal, we are extremely happy to be delivering new and improved experiences for Node.js, MongoDB, Hadoop, Solr and Memcached on Windows Azure.

 

Here are the highlights of the announcements:

    • We are releasing the Windows Azure SDK for Node.js as open source, available immediately on Github. These libraries are the perfect complement to our recently announced contributions to Node.js and provide a better Node.js experience on Windows Azure. Head to the Windows Azure Developer Center for documentation, tutorial, samples and how-to guides to get you started with Node.js on Windows Azure.
    • We will also be delivering the Node package manager for Windows (npm) code to allow use of npm on Windows for simpler and faster Node.js configuration and development. Windows developers can now use NPM to install Node modules and take advantage of its automated handling of module dependencies and other details.
    • To build on our recent announcement about Apache Hadoop, we are making available a limited preview of the Apache Hadoop based distribution service on Windows Azure.  This enables Hadoop apps to be deployed in hours instead of days, and includes Hadoop Javascript libraries and powerful insights on data through the ODBC driver and Excel plugin for Hive. Read more about this on the Windows Azure team blog. If you are interested in trying this preview, please complete the form herewith details of your Big Data scenario.  Microsoft will issue an access code to select customers based on usage scenarios.
    • For all of you NoSQL fans, we have been working closely with 10Gen and theMongoDB community in the past few months, and if you were at at MongoSV last week you have already seen MongoDB running on Windows Azure. Head out to the10Gen website to find downloads, documentation and other document-oriented goodies. If you’re using the popular combination of Node.js and MongoDB, a simple straightforward install process will get you started on Windows Azure. Learn morehere.
    • For Java developers, take a look at the updated Java support, including a new and revamped Eclipse plugin. The new features are too many to list for this post, but you can count on a much better experience thanks to new and exciting functionality such as support for sticky sessions and configuration of remote Java debugging. Head over to the Windows Azure Developer Center to learn more.
    • Does your application need advanced search capabilities? If so, the chances are you either use or are evaluating Solr, and so the good news for you is that we just released a set of code tools and configuration guidelines to get the most out of Solr running on Windows Azure.

Windows Azure 12/12/11 Announcement

windows_azure_smallEarlier yesterday, Microsoft announced a number of updates and improvements to Windows Azure that will help developers to more easily access Windows Azure and unlock the value of cloud computing as a development platform.

Additionally, today, senior Microsoft leaders will participate in a broadcast event: Learn Windows Azure to demonstrate how easy it is for developers to get started with Windows Azure and show how to build scalable cloud applications using Visual Studio.  The event includes a number of great hands-on demos as well.

In this release, we really focused on ease of use and creating more value for .NET developers as well as opening up new opportunities for open source developer to take advantage of Windows Azure.  Among the highlights:

  • New and Enhanced Open Source Software Experience-Windows Azure SDK for Node.JS makes Windows Azure a first-class environment for Node.JS developers that support hosting, storage, and service bus.
  • A new Hadoop Service Preview for Windows Azure brings Hadoop Big Data capabilities to Windows Azure and enables Hadoop apps to be deployed in hours instead of days.  To gain greater insights on data (structured, semi-structured and unstructured data), Hadoop on Windows Azure will enable customers to analyze data through familiar tools such as Excel and Microsoft BI tools such as Power View and PowerPivot.
  • Increased SQL Azure maximum database sizes in SQL Azure (at no additional cost) and a new sharding pattern to simplifies elastic scale-out.
  • Price reductions per gigabyte SQL Azure databases storage

You can find more details on the announcement here.

WHY DOES THIS RELEASE MATTER TO YOU? 

About one year ago, I was working with an ISV who wanted to migrate their commercial application to Windows Azure but was concerned that SQL Server database schema they relied on was not available in SQL Azure at the time.  With new SQL Azure sharding patterns, this partner’s concerns are being satisfied.  I’ll look forward to following with that partner and talking and showing off our new capabilities.

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