Talking Cloud with Connected System Developer MVP Alan Smith

Connected System Developer MVP Alan Smith

From: Sweden

Time as a MVP: 8 years

How did you first get started in community?
I published a free e-book “The Bloggers Guide to BizTalk” compiled of content from the best
bloggers in the BizTalk development community.

As there was very little documentation on using BizTalk Server at the time the guide became
a great success. I updated it everymonth or two, and it evolved to over 300 articles from
about 50 contributors.

Which technical community or communities are you most active in?
I run the Sweden Windows Azure Group (SWAG). I tweet as @alansmith, host a website at and I blog at I am a regular speaker at
conferences and user groups in Sweden.

What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud

Whatever experience you have in .NET development you will find a way to apply your skills
to develop using Windows Azure. The best tip I have is to get your hands dirty, create a
trial or MSDN account, and work through some hands-on tutorials.

I started with a simple tutorial to create an Azure ASP.NET application for uploading and
displaying photos. After a couple of quick code changes I modified it to upload and display
videos. Three weeks later I launched an Azure hosted community webcast site

When considering using the Cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about
moving to the Cloud?

I tell them that there is always the option to “Extend to the Cloud” rather than “Move to the

Extending to the cloud involves developing hybrid applications that leverage the capabilities
of cloud based platforms. Many of the Windows Azure solutions developed today involve
extending the capabilities of existing applications and infrastructure to leverage the
capabilities of Azure.

These hybrid applications allow developers to combine the best of both worlds. Existing IT
infrastructure can be utilized and the capabilities of cloud platforms used to extend the
applications. This can provide enhanced functionality at minimal cost and low risk.

I have delivered sessions in “Extending to the Cloud” at conferences and user groups, and
have heard feedback from attendees that they have started to use Azure in their projects
after seeing my presentations.

I’ve recorded some of the demos I use in these sessions as webcasts.

3D Animation Rendering using Azure Worker Roles

Source Control Provider using Azure Storage

Large File Transfer musing Azure Storage

All three of these are scenarios where on-premise applications extend their functionally
using capabilities in Windows Azure.

Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you
would like to share?

I published a free e-book covering development using the Azure Service Bus:

I launched and maintain an Azure hosted community webcast site:

I have blogged a number of walkthrough articles on using the Windows Azure Service
Bus on my blog

Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?
Welcome to a great community! Make the most of the MVP Summit; it’s the best place to
make contact with others in your area of expertise who share your passion.