Windows Azure Firestarter – Fall 2010 Series

I’m happy to announce the next series of Firestarter events focused around Windows Azure and cloud computing!  Firestarters are free training events that focus on a single topic from intro to 300-level in a day. Folks continue to tell us that they like these types of events, so we keep on bringing them! 

We’ve done a bunch of them here in the tri-state area.  See my previous posts on the Firestarters we’ve hosted: Silverlight, ASP.NET MVC, Agile Programming, WCF, Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Web Platform, and the Entity Framework.


The Windows Azure Firestarter series will be kicking off November 8th down in Tampa, Florida and then making its way up the east coast of the US.  The Azure Firestarter makes its local stop in NYC on Wednesday, December 1st.  I’m excited to be joining my teammates Brian Hitney & Jim O’Neil on the road to deliver these events in most of the cities the series will visit.

Windows Azure was first announced at the Microsoft PDC in 2008.  A year later, shortly after PDC 09, Windows Azure went into production.  PDC 2010 is coming up out in Redmond, Wa on October 28th & 29th.  Following the pattern, there will probably be plenty of news about Windows Azure at that event.  You can bet we’ll have all the details covered at the Azure Firestarter events.  So come on out and join us for a full day of Windows Azure in a city near YOU!

The Agenda

Is cloud computing still a foggy concept for you? Have you heard of Windows Azure, but aren’t quite sure of how it applies to you and the projects you’re working on? Join your Microsoft Developer Evangelists for this free, all-day event combining presentations and hands-on exercises to demystify the latest disruptive (and over-hyped!) technology and to provide some clarity as to where the cloud and Windows Azure can take you.

windows-azure-logo_1-f2e19c 8:00 a.m. - Registration

8:30 a.m. - Morning Sessions:

Getting Your Head into the Cloud

Ask ten people to define “Cloud Computing,” and you’ll get a dozen responses. To establish some common ground, we’ll kick off the event by delving into what cloud computing means, not just by presenting an array of acronyms like SaaS and IaaS , but by focusing on the scenarios that cloud computing enables and the opportunities it provides. We’ll use this session to introduce the building blocks of the Windows Azure Platform and set the stage for the two questions most pertinent to you: “how do I take my existing applications to the cloud?” and “how do I design specifically for the cloud?”

Migrating Applications to Windows Azure

How difficult is it to migrate your applications to the cloud? What about designing your applications to be flexible inside and outside of cloud environments? These are common questions, and in this session, we’ll specifically focus on migration strategies and adapting your applications to be “cloud ready.”

We’ll examine how Azure VMs differ from a typical server – covering everything from CPU and memory, to profiling performance, load balancing considerations, and deployment strategies such as dealing with breaking changes in schemas and contracts. We’ll also cover SQL Azure migration strategies and how the forthcoming VM and Admin Roles can aid in migrating to the cloud.

Creating Applications for Windows Azure

Windows Azure enables you to leverage a great deal of your Visual Studio and .NET expertise on an ‘infinitely scalable’ platform, but it’s important to realize the cloud is a different environment from traditional on-premises or hosted applications. Windows Azure provides new capabilities and features – like Azure storage and the AppFabric – that differentiate an application translated to Azure from one built for Azure. We’ll look at many of these platform features and examine tradeoffs in complexity, performance, and costs.

12:15 - Lunch

1:00 - Cloud Play

Enough talk! Bring your laptop or pair with a friend, as we spend the afternoon with our heads (and laptops) in the cloud. Each attendee will receive a two-week “unlimited” Azure account to use during (and after) our instructor-led hands-on lab. During the lab you’ll reinforce the very concepts we discussed in the morning as you develop and deploy a compelling distributed computing application to Windows Azure.

4:00 p.m. The Silver Lining: Evaluations and Giveaways

Registration & Details

Use the links below to register for the Windows Azure Firestarter in the city closest to you.




Tampa, FL November 8 REGISTER HERE!
Alpharetta, GA November 10 REGISTER HERE!
Charlotte, NC November 11 REGISTER HERE!
clip_image002Rochester, NY November 16 REGISTER HERE!
Waltham, MA November 30 REGISTER HERE!
clip_image002New York, NY December 1 REGISTER HERE!
clip_image002Malvern, PA December 7 REGISTER HERE!
Chevy Chase, MD December 9 REGISTER HERE!

Other Firestarters

Remember, it’s not too late to catch some of the Windows Phone & Microsoft Web Platform Firestarter events going on in the eastern US this fall.  See my previous posts on the Phone & Web Firestarters.

Keeping Up With The Cloud

Looking to keep up with Azure? Two online resources to check out below…

connectedShow_HalfSize Want some edu-tainment for your commute? Check out the Connected Show podcast that I co-host with Dmitry Lyalin. We focus on connecting Microsoft tech with non-Microsoft tech, including a lot of info & updates on Azure. One of our recent episodes, #36, features Steve Marx updating us on the Azure roadmap. Subscribe to the Connected Show in iTunes or Zune. CloudCoverLogo Podcasting not your thing? No commute? Need to SEE it to learn it?  Check out the Cloud Cover show on Channel 9.  Cloud Cover is a weekly video show hosted by Steve Marx and Ryan Dunn that covers the Windows Azure platform.  Join Steve & Ryan each week as they dig into features, discuss the latest news and announcements, and share tips and tricks.