Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Cloud Gourmet: Cooking with Windows Azure

Bonjour and welcome to The Cloud Gourmet with your host, Chef Az-ure-D. Together we shall create delicious masterpieces in the cloud on the Windows Azure platform.

In this first post I want to share some of my favorite resources for cooking in the cloud. in subsequent posts we will explore individual recipes.

Now you may be thinking "chef, that's fine for you but I cannot cook!" Nonsense! Absurdité! Anyone can learn to cook in the cloud, and many items are simple to prepares. Together we shall learn. You will see.


Of course we learn by doing, but sometimes you just need to get something accomplished and need guidance to ensure a successful outcome. That's why we have recipes. Let me share some of my favorite recipe sources with you.

Windows Azure Development Cookbook
Neil Mackenzie

Neil Mackenzie (@mknz) is not only a Windows Azure MVP and respected blogger, he’s also the Julia Child of Windows Azure. His Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook is just what it claims to be, a cookbook (available in print and Kindle editions). Neil’s cookbook is a step-by-step guide to accomplishing key development tasks on the Windows Azure platform with sample code all along the way. It includes chapters on access, blob storage, table storage, queue storage, hosted services, diagnostics, management, SQL Azure database, and AppFabric service.

Windows Azure How To Topics
Microsoft Documentation

There’s a lot of good information in the Windows Azure online documentation, and one of the best parts of that are the Windows Azure How To Topics pages and index. As you can see from this partial screen capture it covers a lot of tasks. Each how to page gives you the approach and steps to follow and shows sample code.

Windows Azure Training Kit

The Windows Azure Training Kit contains a nice collection of hands-on labs. With the investment of an hour or two, each lab shows you step-by-step how to build something that leverages one or more of the services in the Windows Azure platform.


There’s nothing like a cooking show to get inspired: an expert shares insights, shows you how something is done, and then pulls a finished version out of the oven to show you the outcome.

The Cloud Cover Show
Steve Marx and Wade Wegner, Microsoft Channel 9

Cloud Cover is your eye on the Microsoft Cloud. This weekly videocast by Microsoft evangelists Steve Marx (@smarx) and Wade Wegner (@WadeWegner) is excellent, educational, and entertaining. In each show they’ll take an area of Windows Azure and show it you close up as well as discussing its significance. Cloud Cover is also one of best ways to keep up with news about Windows Azure.

Session Videos from Microsoft Conferences

Microsoft puts on several large conferences each year including PDC, MIX, TechEd, and BUILD. The videos of the keynotes and technical sessions are usually kept online for a year on Microsoft Channel 9. In these you can hear from Microsoft product team members and developer evangelists.

Live Demonstrations

An in-person cooking demonstration is a real treat—especially if you get to cook alongside. These kind of events exist for Windows Azure. Keep an eye out for upcoming events in your area.

Windows Azure Bootcamps

From time to time, Microsoft and the MVP community will put on Windows Azure bootcamps which are usually 1- or 2-day free events. Here, you’ll hear topical presentations and be guided through hands-on labs with assistance. These events are also a great opportunity to talk directly to an expert.

Code Camps

Regional code camps are another great way to see live Windows Azure presentation and development. Windows Azure is often a topic covered at these events.

The Personal Touch

On-site Training

You get what you pay for, no? Perhaps you want more than the occasional free regional event and want on-site training, which can be tailored to your needs, people, location, and schedule. Windows Azure training is offered by some Microsoft patterns including Neudesic. Think of on-site Windows Azure training for architects, developers, and IT professionals as the equivalent of sending your people to a culinary institute.


There’s nothing like a personal chef, eh? If you retain the services of a knowledgeable and experienceD consultant you are in good hands. You can leverage a consultant in a number of ways: they can advise you, help with design, and/or perform the actual development work. You can use consultants to create your solutions for you, or even better you can cook alongside them so you learn. These days they can work on location and/or remote, with on-shore and/or off-shore resources as desired. Windows Azure consulting is offered by some Microsoft partners including we at Neudesic.

My friends, this is by no means all. The Microsoft and community resources for Windows Azure are substantial. Once you have a feel for who in the community is working in areas that interest you, I urge you to follow their blogs and social network posts. I look forward to cooking in the cloud with you!

Next: Cloud Gourmet #2 - 30-Minute Meal: Migrating a Static Web Site

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