Microsoft Azure: new preview portal is “designed like an operating system” but is it better?

How important is the Azure portal, the web-based user interface for managing Microsoft’s cloud computing platform? You can argue that it is not all that important. Developers and users care more about the performance and reliability of the services themselves. You can also control Azure services through PowerShell scripts.

My view is the opposite though.

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Microsoft integrates Azure websites with hybrid cloud

Microsoft has announced the integration of Azure websites with Azure virtual networks, including access to on-premise resources if you have a site-to-site VPN.

The Virtual Network feature grants your website access to resources running your VNET that includes being able to access web services or databases running on your Azure Virtual Machines. If your VNET

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Developing an app on Microsoft Azure: a few quick reflections

I have recently completed (if applications are ever completed) an application which runs on Microsoft’s Azure platform. I used lots of Microsoft technology:

Visual Studio 2013 Visual Studio Online with Team Foundation version control ASP.NET MVC 4.0 Entity Framework 4.0 Azure SQL Azure Active Directory Azure Web Sites Azure Blob Storage Microsoft .NET 4.5 with

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A note on Azure storage and downloading large files

I have written a simple ASP.NET MVC application for upload and download of files to/from Azure storage.

Getting large file upload to work was the first exercise, described here. That is working well; but what about download?

If your files in Azure storage are public, you can simply serve an URL to the file. If

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Microsoft StorSimple brings hybrid cloud storage to the enterprise, but what about the rest of us?

Microsoft has released details of its StorSimple 8000 Series, the first major new release since it acquired the hybrid cloud storage appliance business back in late 2012.

I first came across StorSimple at what proved to be the last MMS (Microsoft Management Summit) event last year. The concept is brilliant: present the network with

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Notes from the field: putting Azure Blob storage into practice

I rashly agreed to create a small web application that uploads files into Azure storage. Azure Blob storage is Microsoft’s equivalent to Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service), a cloud service for storing files of up to 200GB.

File upload performance can be an issue, though if you want to test how fast your application can

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Microsoft Azure: growing but still has image problems

I attended a Microsoft Cloud Day in London organised by the Azure User Group; I booked this when Technical Fellow Mark Russinovich was set to attend, but regrettably he cancelled at a late stage. I skipped the substitute keynote by UK Microsoftie Dave Coplin as I heard the very same talk earlier this month, so

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Office, Azure Active Directory, and mobile: the three pillars of Microsoft’s cloud

When Microsoft first announced Azure, at its PDC Conference in October 2008, I was not impressed. Here is the press release, if you fancy a look back. It was not so much the technology – though with hindsight Microsoft’s failure to offer plain old Windows VMs from the beginning was a mistake – but rather,

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Hands on: SQL Server 2014 with data files in Azure Blob Storage

One intriguing new feature in Micrsosoft’s SQL Server 2014 is the ability to create or attach databases whose files are in Azure blog storage. This sounds like something that would not work at all well: why would you want a database engine to mount files located hundreds or thousands of miles away? However, the feature

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Puppet and Chef come to Windows Azure

Good to see these options when creating an Azure VM:

Puppet is for automating IT operations.

Chef is for modeling IT infrastructure and application deployment as code.

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