In our next Azure ‘n’ Action session, we will explore how many companies are leveraging Software as a Service (SaaS) and Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to lower their operational costs. Did you know that by extending your on-premises Active Directory into Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD), your users can authenticate to Exchange, Lync and SharePoint SaaS by using Windows Azure Active Directory managed accounts, and stop requiring federation back to your on-premises data center by leveraging DirSync with password sync? This allows you to take advantage of Microsoft’s facilities, […]

Since PaaS and Windows Azure have both been in the news recently, thanks to a favorable report from Gartner, I thought it might be good timing to revisit a whitepaper I wrote on PaaS.  There’s been a lot of talk about the different cloud-based services available today, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). While each of these services is unique, PaaS stands out from the mix. This is not […]

If you have found yourself thinking… “We want the cloud to be a seamless extension of our data center, not a walled garden. We want to use our existing IT setup and tools to manage on-premises and cloud-based applications.” “We want to seamlessly move virtual machines from on-premises to the cloud and back.” “We want to move existing applications to the cloud without the need to change the applications in any way.” …then our upcoming Introduction to Windows Azure IaaS session is […]

I’ve been reading a lot about the sweeping organizational changes at Microsoft. It’s always interesting to analyze and attempt to interpret their strategy and internal politics. (For example, why is the Dynamics business still separate? Is it being positioned to be sold? Probably not, but fun to consider.) However, I am more drawn to the larger changes the re-org is enabling. The external press always seems to be negative about the actions of Microsoft’s executive leadership ever since Bill Gates left.  […]

Introduction by Vishwas Lele: Amazon Web Services (AWS) CTO Werner Vogels offers this great piece of cloud advice: “Treat everything as a programmable resource, including data centers, networks, compute, storage and load balancers.” In other words, automate every aspect of your (cloud-based) infrastructure. There are significant benefits in following Werner Vogels’ advice: You can build systems that are cost aware by only keeping the parts of the system that are needed and turning off everything else . Capacity planning is hard. […]

The recent announcement about the general availability of Windows Azure IaaS comes with the following key enhancements: Remote PowerShell is enabled by default when deploying Virtual Machine using PowerShell. Availability of trial images such as SharePoint in the image gallery. These enhancements make it easy to deploy a SharePoint Farm in an automated manner using PowerShell scripts. The goal of this blog post is to walk you through such a script.

It was great fun presenting at Windows AzureConf 2013. I would like to thank the entire AzureConf team (Cory Fowler and Brady Gaster in particular) and my fellow speakers for their valuable feedback. Click here to watch the video recording of my session on channel 9. You can find recordings to all other sessions (including Scott Guthrie’s keynote) via this link. Many of you asked me for a copy of the code I used during my session. You can find […]

Yesterday, Microsoft announced the general availability of its offering of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). They join an already-crowded market of IaaS providers, but this offering gives all companies the ability to offload workloads that have traditionally run in a company data center to the cloud. Welcome, Microsoft — the water is fine. This announcement also represents a major chunk of Microsoft’s family of Azure offerings…and in my opinion, a stepping stone many companies simply must take in moving out […]

We recently deployed a five-node CRM 2011 topology using Windows Azure IaaS with the following objectives: Understand how a multiple node CRM setup can be provisioned using Windows Azure IaaS. Specifically, how the networking capabilities offered by the Windows Azure platform (i.e. stateless load balancing) map to the CRM requirements. Develop an automated way to provision and de-provision a CRM setup. This is not only useful for dev and test scenarios, but also for production scenarios where it is notoriously […]

Please be our guest at the next Azure ‘n’ Action Café online session on April 10th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. This is a jump-start overview session, including demos and best practices focusing on Windows Azure Virtual Machines: IaaS “On Your Terms.” You will experience how easy it is to bring your own customized virtual machine images — or select from a gallery and retain full control of your images — and maintain them as your business requires. You’ll […]