Notes from the MEET Windows Azure Keynote

Excellent keynote today by Scott Guthrie and the Windows Azure team! I don’t know if it’s because I’m seeing it on the other side for the first time or if it’s due to the amazing new capabilities introduced into Windows Azure, but I loved every second of it! Within a few minutes Scott had jumped into a demo and it was nonstop thereafter!

I’ve been waiting for almost a year to write this blog post.

Keynote with Scott Guthrie

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In order to get this post out quickly I decided to share my rough notes from the keynote. Over the coming days and weeks I will certainly expand this with more information.

Scott Guthrie:

  • Today’s release “elevates Windows Azure to a new level”

  • Capabilities like Windows Azure Web Sites and open source libraries open the platform to many more developers

  • Three pillars of Windows Azure:

    • Flexible
    • Open
    • Solid
  • Windows Azure has pioneered Platform-as-a-Service

  • Today we’re enabling Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

  • Support of Linux is how we’re embracing openness in a new way

  • Supporting more languages, protocols, and SDKs

  • Open-source libraries and SDKs on Github under the Apache 2.0 license

Demo: New Windows Azure website

  • There’s a new Linux and Mac installer for Node.js

  • Spent time optimizing the portal to work across platforms

  • Full monitoring and statistics through the portal

  • Everything done through the portal is communicating to APIs thereby allowing you to do everything through the command line

  • IaaS

    • Create a new virtual machine
    • Anything installed on the machine will persist; full durable VM
    • Image gallery
      • Linux distribution built into the portal
    • We have a number of SDKs to download, including Mac
      • installs an Azure utility and wires up a BASH shell
      • including ASCII art
      • SSH’d into Ubuntu machine
  • Virtual Networks

    • Not just upload VMs into the cloud
    • Integrate into your existing networks and VMs you already have
    • Shipping virtual private networking
    • A wizard to create an address space and subnet; we’ll virtualize these addresses
    • You can provide DNS servers in the cloud or on-premises

Scott Guthrie on VMs:

  • Virtual machine portability

    • Between the cloud and different environments
    • All VMs are running a VHD format which is an open spec
    • Because it’s the same file format you can take a VM and move to Windows Azure or even move it back; you don’t have to export or convert the VHDs
    • This allows you to run in your data center, other service providers, or within Windows Azure: flexibility, portability, and no lock-in
  • VM persistent drive

    • Mount durable drives to the virtual machines
    • Reliable and consistent
    • When you mount a drive the disk is backed with the Windows Azure storage system
      • Triple replicate the content; no interruption of service if there’s a failure
      • Continuous storage and geo-replication

Partner: RightScale

  • Michael Crandell, CEO

  • Mission: to build a broad cloud management platform

  • Web-based environment that allows companies to manage everything from development to delivery of applications running on cloud infrastructures

  • Think of us as a bridge between the apps and the infrastructures you want to run on (public, private, or hybrid)

  • Partner: worked with the Windows Azure team to interact with the new IaaS APIs

  • Brought to Windows Azure the full set of RightScale capabilities

  • When run by RightScale the solution includes auto scale

  • Why Windows Azure?

    • Microsoft knows how to run global cloud infrastructure with a high degree of operational excellence
    • IaaS + PaaS is an industry first – provides an entire environment for the development and deployment of apps that are compelling, from simple to complex
    • Openness – a clear commitment of openness at multiple levels

Scott Guthrie on Web sites:

  • Benefits

    • Build with ASP.NET, Node.js, or PHP
    • Deploy in seconds with FTP, Git, or TFS
    • Start for free, scale up as your traffic grows
  • Bill Staples demo

  • Opposite end of the cloud spectrum

    • don’t want to focus on the platform; don’t want to install the frameworks
  • Visual Studio & .NET

    • Quickly created a website
    • Downloaded a publishing profile that includes all the connection information
    • Opens up Visual Studio and ASP.NET MVC 4
    • Import the profile and publish
    • Support in both VS 20120 and VS 2012
    • Built and published into the cloud in just a few seconds
    • Updated a string and republished
      • Preview shows the deltas between local and cloud
      • Just push the change
  • Mac with Node.js

    • Instead of the portal use the commandline
    • Use the azure command
    • Uses git to deploy
    • One update connects to Mongo running in a Linux VM
  • Sometimes it’s nice to build an application without writing code

    • Best of Windows Azure and the power of open source
    • MySQL: worked with ClearDB to provide MySQL as a service
  • Scale

    • Scale out
      • By default, website is running as a Shared Website
      • You can increase instance count
    • Scale up
      • Move from Shared to Reserved
      • Only my websites are routed
  • 10 free shared websites

Scott Guthrie on Cloud Services:

  • Another model for building infinitely scalable applications and services

  • The traditional PaaS offering that Windows Azure has had since release

  • Creates a multi-tier applications using the website Bill created and adding a worker role

  • Process

    • Upload a service package (which is essentially a zip file) into the cloud
    • Fabric controller provisions the machines and deploys my bits and brings it into rotation through load balancer

Scott Guthrie on Building Blocks:

  • Overall message is to enable developers to focus on applications and less about infrastructure

  • Application building blocks

    • big data
    • database
    • storage
    • traffic
    • caching
    • messaging
    • identity
    • media
    • CDN
    • networking
  • Delivered by MSFT and partners

  • Language support for: .NET, Node.JS, Java, PHP, Python

    • Libraries you can consume natively
    • Libraries on Github under Apache2
  • SQL Database

    • Relational SQL database
    • Clustered for high availability
    • Fully managed service
    • SQL Reporting support
  • Blob storage

    • Features
      • Highly available, scalable and secure file system
      • Blobs can be exposed publically over http
      • Continuous geo-replication across datacenters
    • Real-time data showed in portal
    • SQLs surfaced in the portal
  • Cache

    • implementing Memcached protocol support
    • Use the distributed service or run it in your own instances
  • Identity

    • Integrate with enterprise identity
    • Enable single sign-on within your apps
    • Enterprise Graph REST API
    • 93% of Fortune 1000 use Active Directory
  • Service Bus

    • Secure messaging and relay capabilities
    • Easily build hybrid apps
    • Enable loosely coupled solutions
    • Cross platform SDKs
  • Media Service

    • Create, manage, and distribute content
    • Target any device or media format
    • Ingest, Encode, Protect, Stream
  • Marketplace integration

  • Azure in 89 countries and territories