Enterprise Library Integration Pack for Windows Azure

Read the announcement here.

ELAzure_logo_smallFor years the Enterprise Library application blocks have helped developers address the typical cross-cutting concerns of enterprise development (such as diagnostic logging, data validation, and exception handing). With over 3.5 million downloads, they take a prominent place in the toolbox of a modern .NET developer. The good news is that most of the Enterprise Library 5.0 application blocks simply work on Windows Azure. However, developing for the Windows Azure platform presents new challenges, including how to make applications more elastic (via autoscaling), and more stable and resilient to transient failures. The Enterprise Library Integration Pack for Windows Azure focuses on addressing these challenges. It provides reusable components and developer’s guidance designed to encapsulate recommended practices which facilitate consistency, ease of use, integration, extensibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness. Developers and IT professionals familiar with other Enterprise Library application blocks as well as those who are new to Enterprise Library will be able to benefit from the comprehensive set of content we are shipping today. You can pick and choose what matters to you and to your app, and adopt only those particular blocks/features.

Highlights

This release includes a comprehensive set of technical content, including:

  • Two new application blocks:
    • Autoscaling Application Block ("Wasabi") to help you to automatically scale both web and worker roles in Windows Azure by dynamically provisioning/decommissioning roles or throttling. These scaling actions are based on timetables or on metrics collected from the application and/or Windows Azure Diagnostics.
    • Transient Fault Handling Application Block ("Topaz") to help you make your Windows Azure application more resilient to transient errors when you are using these cloud services: SQL Azure, Windows Azure Storage, Windows Azure Caching, and Windows Azure Service Bus.
  • One new configuration source:
    • Blob configuration source to load configuration information from a blob in your Azure Storage account so that you can modify it without having to redeploy your application to Windows Azure.
  • Windows PowerShell cmdlets to browse and manipulate the Autoscaling Application Block settings directly from Windows PowerShell.
  • Protected configuration provider to allow you to encrypt sections of your configuration files in Windows Azure.
  • Updated database creation scripts so that you can migrate your code using the database trace listeners of the Logging Application Block and the Caching Application Block.
  • A substantial collection of experience guidance help you ramp up quickly, including:

For detailed change log from Beta to Final and installation instructions, see Release Notes.

How to Get it?

The recommended way to obtain the Enterprise Library Integration Pack for Windows Azure is as NuGet packages. Alternatively, you can download self-extracting zip files with binaries, sources (including tests) and the reference implementation from MSDN. The configuration tool is available as a Visual Studio extension package (VSIX) from the Visual Studio Gallery.

Improved Developer Experience, Interoperability, and Scalability on Windows Azure

The Windows Azure team has announced multiple updates to Windows Azure that improve ease of use, interoperability, and overall value.

From the post:

Key Highlights:

  • New Developer Experience and Enhanced Interoperability—Access to Windows Azure libraries for .NET, Java, and Node.js is now available under Apache 2 open source license and hosted on GitHub, a new Windows Azure SDK for Node.js makes Windows Azure a first-class environment for Node applications, and a limited preview of an Apache Hadoop based service for Windows Azure enables Hadoop apps to be deployed in hours instead of days.
  • Easier to Get Started and Simplified Subscription Management—Revamped Dev Centers for multiple languages with helpful content and tutorials, a new sign-up process with spending caps makes sign-up simple, fast and ensures a completely free 90 day trial. View real-time usage and billing details directly from the Windows Azure Management Portal and see expected costs with a simplified pricing calculator.
  • Improved Database Scale—Three times the maximum database size for SQL Azure (at no additional cost—details below), and SQL Azure Federation, a new sharding pattern that simplifies elastic scale-out.
  • Better Overall Value—New price cap for the largest SQL Azure databases reduces effective price per gigabyte by 67 percent, Data Transfer prices in North America and Europe have been reduced by 25 percent, and Service Bus usage is now free through March 2012.

Windows Azure is always evolving based on your feedback. We encourage you to take look at today’s updates and our pricing changes, attend tomorrow’s Learn Windows Azure event online, and let us know what you think by posting a comment on this post or talking to us on Twitter @WindowsAzure. These are just a few of the highlights. See below for additional details

Silverlight 5 Released

Silverlight 5 has been released.

Silverlight 5 adds a ton of new features over what we had with Silverlight 4. Silverlight is part of a rich offering of technologies from Microsoft helping developers deliver applications for the web, desktop and mobile devices. Download Silverlight 5, a free plug-in less than 7 MB in size that can be installed in less than 10 seconds.

New features in Silverlight 5 include Hardware Decode of H.264 media, which provides a significant performance improvement with decoding of unprotected content using the GPU; Postscript Vector Printing to improve output quality and file size; and an improved graphics stack with 3D support that uses the XNA API on the Windows platform to gain low-level access to the GPU for drawing vertex shaders and low-level 3D primitives.

In addition, Silverlight 5 extends the ‘Trusted Application’ model to the browser for the first time. These features, when enabled via a group policy registry key and an application certificate, mean users won’t need to leave the browser to perform complex tasks such as multiple window support, full trust support in browser including COM and file system access, in browser HTML hosting within Silverlight, and P/Invoke support for existing native code to be run directly from Silverlight.

For more information, visit the Microsoft Silverlight site. For additional information on support policy, visit Microsoft Silverlight Support Lifecycle Policy.

Learn Windows Azure Event

Join us LIVE from the Microsoft Redmond Campus to learn how to get started building applications for the cloud from Microsoft technical leaders Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, and Mark Russinovich.

The entire event is being streamed live by Channel 9. The event begins at 9 am Pacific (noon Eastern) on December 13.

Register for Learn Windows Azure Event.

The entire event will be streamed LIVE by Channel 9!

Updated Windows Azure SDK & Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK Available

You can read the official Windows Azure Blog post for full details.

we are simplifying the development experience on Windows Azure with three updates—a new version of the Windows Azure SDK, a new Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK, and an updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kit.  Whether you are already using Windows Azure or looking for the right moment to get started, these updates make it easier than ever to build applications on Windows Azure.

Highlights:

  • Windows Azure SDK (November 2011)—Multiple updates to the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 that simplify development, deployment, and management on Windows Azure. The full Windows Azure SDK can be downloaded via the Web Platform installer here.
  • Windows Azure HPC Scheduler SDK— Works in conjunction with the Windows Azure SDK and includes modules and features to author high performance computing (HPC) applications that use large amounts of compute resources in parallel to complete work.  The SDK is available here for download.
  • Windows Azure Platform Training Kit—Includes hands-on labs, demos, and presentations to help you learn how to build applications that use Windows Azure. Compatible with the new Windows Azure SDK and Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010. The training kit can be downloaded here.

You can start building your application on it in 3 simple and easy to do steps:

1. Download the Tools:

Get Visual Studio Express and the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio to start building and debugging applications for the Windows Azure Platform athttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/sdk/
If you have already Visual Studio installed you can download the tools directly fromhttp://tinyurl.com/toolsforazure.

2. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Windows Azure AppFabric. You can learn more about the accounts athttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/learn/get-started/ or you can sign up directly and get the trial http://tinyurl.com/getazurefreetrial.

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

First learn how to create a simple ASP.NET application in Visual Studio for Windows Azure and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/learn/tutorials/getting-started-web-tutorial/

When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform.

Kinect for Windows Is Live

The new website is now live: http://www.kinectforwindows.org

Silverlight 5 RC Available for Download

silverlight_logoThe release candidate for Silverlight 5 is now available to developers on the Silverlight developer site. You can get the release itself and additional details on Silverlight Downloads.

New Features Announced for Silverlight 5

Silverlight delivers the richest set of capabilities available to developers today through a Web‐browser plug‐in. Announced last December and shipping later this year, Silverlight 5 makes further advances in media, application development and user experience, adding over 40 new features.

The Silverlight 5 RC provides developers their first opportunity to start exploring these new capabilities. More information on the Silverlight 5 announcements is available at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/future .

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