In the last several years NoSQL database stores have emerged as viable and useful alternatives to traditional relational databases. While relational technologies like SQL Server will likely always have a place in the enterprise, the means to store data as documents or connected graphs vs. classic “rows and columns” is powerful and should occupy a first-class position in any modern enterprise developer’s toolbox.
Click on the video above to view, and post your feedback in the comments.… Read more
Azure Container Services is one of the hottest implementations of Containers-as-a-Service for many reasons. Unlike many other CaaS implentations, ACS is pure Docker, yet it is fully backed and supported by many popular tools for Azure administration. When deployed, it is production ready, secure, and easily scaled.
This one-hour webinar will demonstrate the power and efficiency of ACS and how you can use it for your applications. Click on the video above to view, and give us your feedback in the comments.… Read more
I’m preparing some material for a webinar on Azure IoT in mid-October (you are signed up, aren’t you?) and thought I’d do a quick intro to the basic concepts and moving parts.
Azure IoT Hub is a cloud-scale service for managing and securely communicating with large numbers of field devices (potentially millions at once); communication can occur from device to cloud, and also from cloud to device (for issuing commands or queries to devices). It’s standards-based so it works with many device types, a number of communications protocols and guest operating systems, and supports various network topologies. It also supports custom gateways for edge analytics, traffic optimization, etc. Finally, it integrates with a number of existing Azure services like Stream Analytics, Machine Learning, and Event Hubs to maximize scale and minimize time to insight.
Let’s walk through a sample Azure IoT Hub-based solution and see it in action. I live in Atlanta, GA USA and our public transit system provides geolocation and other metadata about buses and trains; we’ll use the bus data to simulate device activity in the field (each bus == a device) and use IoT Hubs, Stream Analytics, Azure Storage, DocumentDB, and some custom code to collect and present that data in a meaningful way.… Read more
Microsoft plans to drop its Azure RemoteApp service over the next year, instead partnering with Citrix to develop new solutions for allowing remote access to Windows apps from a variety of devices.
Azure RemoteApp has given businesses the ability to deploy apps from the cloud to employees who are using PC and mobile devices running Windows, Mac OSX, iOS or Android.
Microsoft says its partnership with Citrix represents the next generation of such services, which it’s calling XenApp express:
“Customers have provided us consistent feedback that they want a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution for delivering Windows apps. The best way for us to deliver this is with Citrix through XenApp “express”, currently under development. XenApp “express” combines the simplicity of application remoting and the scalability of Azure with the security, management, and performance benefits of XenApp, to deliver Windows applications to any employee on any device.”
Microsoft will continue to sell Azure RemoteApp through September 2016, but all support for the service will end September 1, 2017. Meanwhile, Citrix will release a technical preview of XenApp express in Q4 of this year, with a general release set for early 2017, according to the company’s website.
The two companies will provide more details on XenApp express at a live virtual event on August 23.… Read more
‘Tis the season for year-in-review stories, and the techie blogosphere is sounding off on Microsoft’s performance in 2015. It was a banner year for Redmond, most observers agree, despite a few stumbles. Microsoft made bold forays into newer areas like virtual reality and hardware, while leveraging its strong enterprise customer base to build its cloud business, and releasing an operating system that people actually were excited to use. Or as the headline of a recent Business Insider piece put it, “Everybody suddenly loves Microsoft–but the turnaround’s not over yet.”
By far the biggest success was Windows 10, now running on more than 120 million machines. With a seamless user experience on desktop and mobile, the new operating system “has for the most part erased any lingering bad memories” from “the disaster that was Windows 8” as Paul Thurrott writes on Petri. Heavy hitters from Netflix to Pandora have recently announced apps built on the Universal Windows Platform, which allows developers to create for multiple devices at once. (There’s even a BB-8 app that lets you control an on-screen droid with voice commands. Merry Christmas, Star Wars fans!)
Critics have slammed Microsoft for failing to address privacy concerns about user data collected by Cortana, Windows 10’s virtual assistant, and for a pushy rollout that had Windows 7 and 8.1 users facing a barrage of prompts to update.… Read more
Microsoft, Hackster.io, and Arduino have launched a new contest they are calling “The World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge” with prizes for the best combination of Arduino, Windows 10, and Windows Azure. With more than 1,000 winners receiving a new Arduino MKR1000 board there seems to be plenty of prizes to go around. The top 3 winners will receive a trip to Maker Faire in Shenzen, New York, the Bay Area, or Rome (whichever you can get to for $1500) along with a $500 gift card and a platform to present your work at the Microsoft and Arduino booths.
The contest requires you to use either the Arduino UNO or MKR1000 to host a Windows 10 based Universal Windows App that utilizes the Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino API or Windows Remote Arduino. Bonus points go to those who integrate their IoT device into Azure’s IoT stack using IoT Hub, Stream Analytics, or Machine Learning.
Want to learn more about Azure’s Service Fabric? Now you can host your apps for free on Microsoft’s new “Party” clusters. These free public clusters are short lived instances that offer developers a chance to try out their apps on Azure before being blown away every 2 hours.
Each party cluster is the same and has a time limit. It runs for two hours, then it’s automatically taken down and a fresh new one comes up. At that point, all your applications will be removed and you’ll have to connect to a new cluster to keep partying. You can only connect to one party cluster at a time, but you can come back as many times as you like. — Azure Service Fabric Party Cluster page
After registering to join a cluster you’ll receive an email with the cluster connection address, application port, and expiration date. You can even view the cluster with the online Service Fabric Explorer.
Microsoft is looking to make building Windows 10 Apps that leverage Azure services easier for business users with the release of PowerApps. Using a tool that you download from the Windows Store, users can create apps from prebuilt templates, from an existing data source, or from scratch using step-by-step templates.
Apps can be built from pre-existing data sources including Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, MS Dynamics, and SQL Databases. Connections can also be made to Azure Logic Apps and Azure API apps as well. There are a number of prebuilt templates to choose from also including Event Signup, Opportunity Tracking, Service Desk, and Surveys.
For more information or to sign up for access to PowerApps, visit the PowerApps site. Scott Hanselman also has a good blog post geared more toward professional developers showing how to combine Azure App Service with PowerApps.… Read more
Microsoft has released the 1.0 version of the Azure PowerShell cmdlets for automating processes with Azure including better support for Resource Manager, VM disk encryption with Azure Vault, and inclusion of Azure Data Lake and Notification Hub cmdlets. Also released were new user experience improvements in the Azure Preview Portal such as notification enhancements and adding Marketplace access directly in the New menu.
Azure PowerShell 1.0 includes the following items from the Azure Blog.
Microsoft’s Connect() conference last week included not only the keynote with the announcements but more than 60 individual breakout sessions on technologies from Azure to Office365. Those videos are available now for streaming on Channel 9. The format for the videos include several Q&A sessions with the keynote speakers such as Scott Guthrie, Anders Hejlsberg, and Kevin Gallo as well as customers and also several panel discussions with the product teams. And of course there are the more traditional educational webinars. Here are a few that we think you’ll find particularly informative.