tisdag, oktober 29, 2013

Adding a co-admin to a Windows Azure subscription

It is very easy to add a co-administrator to your Widows Azure subscription. You just sign in to you account at http://manage.windowsazure.com and then follow these easy steps:

1. Navigate to Settings page

Screenshot (59)

2. Click on Administrators in the top menu and then click on the Add icon at the bottom.

Screenshot (60)

3. Enter the email adress of the co-administrator that you want to give administrative rights to your subscription. If you are account administrator for multiple subscriptions you might se several subscriptions in the list presented. Check the once that you need and click on the check mark at the bottom.

Screenshot (61)

You are now done and the other person can sign in and manage your Windows Azure resources.

fredag, oktober 18, 2013

Number of cores in Windows Azure

On every new account created in Windows Azure there is a limit on the total number of cores that you can use. This limit is set to 20 but can of course be changed.

To change this you need to open a support case and here are the easy steps to do this.

  1. Go to this site: Support
  2. Sign in with the account connected to the subscription that you want to increase core for. Here its important to chose the right account if you are administrating multiple accounts.
  3. Select the correct subscription and select Support Type: Billing
    Screenshot (44)
  4. You will then be presented with a number of different problem types. In this case you choose the one called: Quota or Core Increase Request.
    Screenshot (45)
  5. Then you select the Category that you want to increase. In the case of cores you select Compute.
    Screenshot (47)
  6. After entering your personal and contact information you need to enter how many cores you are using today and how many cores you want. You could be using 0 cores or 20 cores, all depending on how much you are using Windows Azure. It could very well be 0 cores today if you are the kind that do planning up front Blinkar
  7. On the same page you also need to enter a Severity. When I changed my subscription from 20 to 50 cores I set Severity C: Minimum Business Impact, but this is all up to you and your business situation.
  8. You will get and email that your case was submitted and then a couple of email when you support case changes status.

Below are the responses that I got from support:

  • 7.50 – Confirmation email that the case was submitted
  • 8.14 – Initial response with a named Support Engineer that would handle my case
  • 8.18 – An email with a summary of the case and the working hours of the support engineer assigned to my case. I also got an option to change to a support engineer in my own time zone if that would be more efficient.
  • 8.25 – Case closed and cores increased.

Please note that this will not affect the cost of your Windows Azure subscription or the number of cores that you use to your services today. This will only change the total number of cores that you CAN use in your subscription.

onsdag, september 11, 2013

Managing multiple subscriptions in Windows Azure

If you have several subscriptions connected to your live id, or if you are co-admin on different accounts you have full administrative rights to each account. The only thing you cannot access is the account information that is available on https://account.windowsazure.com 

In the management portal you can filter out the subscription that you are currently working on. This will filter all parts of the portal, from the services that you have already deployed to the dialog where you create new services.


If you only select one subscription in the filter dialog you will not see the option to select the target subscription for a new service. Note the difference between the two screenshots below. These are taken from the New dialog in the Windows Azure portal. In the second screenshot I have filtered to use two subscriptions and therefore I get an option to select which subscription to create the new service on.



Remember that there are only one level or administrative rights. Either you are admin and can do everything (create, delete, deploy, scale and so forth) or you are not and cannot see anything. So distribute the administrative rights with care!

With many administrators you will soon find yourself in a situation of wanting an answer to the question: Who did that?!?!?! Fortunately there is an answer to that in the operation logs. Click on Management Services and then on Operations Logs and you will be presented with a nice list of who-did-what.


What's a preview in Windows Azure?

The pace at which we release new features in Windows Azure is amazing. I heard an interview with Scott Guthrie this summer where he said that right now we are on a cadence of releasing major functionality to the platform every three weeks! In the cloud we don’t have any beta programs or release candidates but we have Previews. So what is a preview and how does it differ from the services in production?

If you read the legal documents that we publish on WindowsAzure.com it states that We may make available Previews. That’s a good start! Then the text continues with PREVIEWS ARE PROVIDED "AS-IS," "WITH ALL FAULTS," AND "AS AVAILABLE," AND ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE SLAS AND LIMITED WARRANTY.

So, everything that we label as being in Preview is a pre-release of a service that might come in the future. Might come in the future since we also say: We may change or discontinue Previews at any time without notice. We also may choose not to release a Preview into "General Availability."

The full section about previews can be found in section 1.h in the Windows Azure Agreement.

Services in preview might also have different pricing then services in production. For instance Windows Azure Backup is currently in preview. In the Backup service we charge for backup based on the amount of data stored and these prices includes a 50% preview discount. Other services might be completely free during preview.

What should I use preview for?

Well, that decision you always have to make for yourself.

Would I put my only backup of critical data in a service in preview? – No.
Would I run mission critical software on a service in preview? – No.
Would I use services in preview during development and testing? – Yes!
Would I be a good Windows Azure community citizen and provide constructive feedback while using the service in preview? – Yes, sir!
Would I promise myself to keep me updated on what happens to the preview service that I use so that I can adapt to changes easily? Oh, yes!

Okay, all sounds cool! I want to try something new but where to I find it?

Some of the services that are in preview are available to everybody without the need to do anything. For instance the Windows Azure Web Sites have been in production since June 2013 but right now there is a scale feature, inside the Windows Azure Web Sites, that is in preview.


There are also completely new features that are in preview. These might be available to everybody or they might be limited access. Either way you have to request access via the WindowsAzure.com. Then there are also services that are in private preview but that is out of scope for this post.

torsdag, augusti 29, 2013

Pricing of Windows Azure Mobile Services

Understand pricing in Widows Azure can sometimes be a daunting task to undertake.This is especially true when the documentation for the service you want to understand is somewhat insufficient. On June 27th this year Scott Guthrie announced the General Availability of Windows Azure Mobile Services as well as the pricing details.

Windows Azure Mobile Services are offered in three tiers, Free, Standard and Premium and each tier is measured buy the number of API Calls made to the Mobile Service. So the first question is;

What is an API Call?

So what exactly is an API Call? Well this is not perfectly clear in the documentation, but an API Call is every call that gets made to one of the scripts in your Mobile Service. Each table that you create can have four different scripts, one for each of the operations Insert, Update, Delete and Read.


So no matter what you do inside these scripts one call to a script is counted as one API Call. For instance, in the Insert script you can make a query to a Windows Azure SQL Database, put a message on a Windows Azure Storage Queue (standard rates apply for using the Windows Azure Storage Services) and make a push notification to ten users. All of these operations are counted as one API Call. The same also goes for the API feature in Mobile Services.

I think that this is a very favorable pricing model that’s easy to understand and that makes it fairly easy to calculate how much your Mobile Service will cost you. Now you “only” need to estimate how many calls an average user will do and multiply this with the number of active users you will have in a month. Probably you also want to divide your users into different segments depending on how much they use your app and create a seasonality for when your users are active. All of this will help you decide which tier to choose. This naturally leads us on to the different tiers.


The free tier is the easy part. You can have up to ten services / month and each service have a limit of 500.000 API Calls. There is also a limit of 500 Active Devices. An Active Devices is a devices or simulator that makes at least one API Call or receive at least one push notification. 5GB of outbound data transfer and one 20MB Windows Azure SQL Database, per subscription, is also included. Note that the SQL Database is included for the first twelve months of use and standard rates apply thereafter.


The standard tier is measured in units and each unit consists of 1.500.000 API Calls. In the standard tier you can scale up to six units giving you a maximum scale of 9.000.000 API Calls per month. 50GB of outbound data transfer is included as well as a 20 MB SQL Database. There is no limit on the number of active devices you can have in the standard tie and the standard tier costs $25 / month per unit.


The premium tier is also measured in units and here each unit consists of 15.000.000 API Calls and can scale up to ten units. This gives you a maximum scale of 150.000.000 API Calls – per month. 20MB SQL Database is included as well as 500 GB outbound data transfer. There is no limit on the number of active devices you can have in the premium tier and the premium tier costs $199 / month per unit.

Auto Scale

The total price for your Mobile Service will of course depend on how many units you use. At the moment there is a preview of the automatic scalability functionality that you can use in the Standard and Premium tier. When you turn on autoscale you get to choose the minimum and maximum number of units that can be dedicated to your mobile service. The minimum number of units will always be ready to serve the requests and the maximum number is as far we will scale your service when the load increases. This will give you a minimum as well as a maximum monthly cost for you Mobile Service.


Please note that all of the prices mentioned above are the prices that are currently available at the time of publishing this post and is a subject to change. Current prices are always available at the pricing details page on windowsazure.com

måndag, juni 17, 2013

How to calculate cost of Windows Azure Blob?

I'm often asked to explain how we charge for Blob Storage in Windows Azure. Time for a new blog post!

The documentation says:

Storage capacity is billed in units of the average daily amount of data stored (in GB) over a monthly period.

This means that every day we calculate an average on how much you have stored in your storage account. This is then summed up and divided with the number of days and gives you an average usage for that month.

An easy example: You store 1 GB day one and stores this for 30 days. Every day we calculate the average of much you have stored and the answer is 1 GB each day. So 1 GB * 30 days = 30 GB / 30 days = 1GB. Hence this month we charge you for 1GB of storage = $0.095 in total.

A bit more complex: You store 10 GB for the first 15 days and then you add another 10 GB for the next 15 days. The first 15 days your average is 10 GB and the next 15 days its 20 GB. This gives us 15 days * 10 GB + 15 days * 20 GB = 450 GB / 30 days = 15 GB in average = $1.425 in total.

Please note that the prices are from 17 of June 2013 and current prices can always be found at http://www.windowsazure.com.

onsdag, maj 29, 2013

My take on Teched EMEA 2013 - Windows Azure style

Teched US is started yesterday and TechEd EMEA is on a couple of weeks away. There is an impressive lineup with speakers on the Windows Azure Application Development track at TechEd EMEA.

Here are some highlights that are on my list:

Build Your First Cloud App: An Introduction to Windows Azure Cloud Services

So you're a Microsoft .NET developer who is ready to see what cloud has to offer. Come take a peek at Windows Azure Cloud Services, the fastest and most productive way to capture the benefits of cloud without leaving .NET and Microsoft Visual Studio—and without calling your IT department!

If you are new to Windows Azure you should start of with this session. David Aiken is a great speaker. It is placed on day 1 so you can take advantage of the other Windows Azure sessions during the week.

Patterns & Practices for Running Large Multi-Tenant SaaS Service on Windows Azure (How It’s Made: MyGet.org)

Ever wonder how some applications are built, or how to combine some components of the Windows Azure platform? Stop wondering and learn how we’ve built MyGet.org, a multi-tenant software-as-a-service. In this session we discuss architecture, commands, events, access control, multi-tenancy and how to mix and match those things together in a reliable, cost-effective solution that scales.

I saw Maarten Balliauw speak at Cloud Burst 2012 in Stockholm and it was really good so I have high expectations on this session, even thou it’s a level 200.

Introduction to Windows Azure Active Directory

Windows Azure Active Directory provides easy-to-use, multi-tenant identity management services for applications running in the cloud and on any device and any platform. In this session, developers, administrators, and architects take an end-to-end tour of Windows Azure Active Directory to learn about its capabilities, interfaces and supported scenarios, and understand how it works in concert with Windows Server Active Directory.

I have never seen Athanasios Kladakis speak but a session with an end-to-end tour of Windows Azure Active Directory should be mandatory for everyone!

An Introduction to the Web Workload on Windows Azure

Building, deploying, scaling, and managing resilient web applications has never been easy—there are many moving parts, lots of infrastructure and a number of different software components. Windows Azure aims to make this just really simple, with technologies such as Windows Azure Web Sites, SQL Database and ready-to-use content and digital marketing solutions to pick from. In this session we introduce you to these technologies, as well as others than are relevant to the web workload, and show you how to get started. You will take away immediate knowledge you can use in your first project back home.

What to learn more about running web sites on Windows Azure? This is the session for you!

Developing Connected Windows Store Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services: Overview

Join us for a demo-packed introduction to how Windows Azure Mobile Services can bring your Windows Store and Windows Phone 8 apps to life. We look at Mobile Services end-to-end and how easy it is to add authentication, secure structured storage, and send push notifications to update live tiles. We also cover adding some business logic to CRUD operations through scripts as well as running scripts on a schedule. Also, learn how to point your Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store apps to the same Mobile Service in order to deliver a consistent experience across devices. Gary Pretty of Mando Group will join us on stage to share how TalkTalk Business implements everything we've covered during the session in its MyAccount Mobile app.

If you are building mobile apps and need services like storage, push notifications and authentication this will be a great session.

Windows Azure Web Sites and On-Premises Connectivity

Windows Azure Web Sites is a great platform for hosting web applications and APIs written in Microsoft ASP.NET, Node.js, PHP, and Python. Customers who want to move into cloud technology a step at a time find great success when initiating their move to cloud by standing up their website presence using Windows Azure Web Sites. Many developers who aim to move to the cloud want to do so in phases. For these situations, many questions arise around how to connect a website back to an on-premises enterprise or even to connect to a Microsoft Office 365 site. In this session, various techniques of connecting a Windows Azure Web Site to an on-premises enterprise architecture are discussed. Through a series of deep-dive demonstrations using Service Bus, SignalR, data marts, and Windows Azure Active Directory, you are introduced to the opportunities that enable communication between Windows Azure Web Sites and your enterprise environment. If you've been wanting to get started with Web Sites but have been unable to conceptualize how you can set up a hybrid environment using Windows Azure, this session will clear the air and give you some ideas of what's possible.

This session features another speaker that I met at Cloud Burst in Stockholm. Many times I get the questions from my customers on how you can use Windows Azure Web Sites together with other stuff in Windows Azure as well as thing that you have running on premises. I expect to learn some tricks here!

Take Control of the Cloud with the Windows Azure PowerShell Cmdlets

In this session, learn how to tame the simplest to most advanced Windows Azure deployments with the Windows Azure PowerShell cmdlets. Automate repetitive tasks and learn how build advanced reproducible deployments so you can save time and money while working in the cloud. The presenter covers dev-ops scenarios with Virtual Machines and Cloud Services in this demo-packed session.

I know I need to learn more about PowerShell simply cause its so powerful! I have seen Michael a couple of times on internal conferences and this session will be fully packed with stuff that you can take home and use instantly!

Building Elastic, Autoscalable Solutions with Windows Azure

In this session, learn how to implement true elasticity for your Windows Azure solutions. See how to automate the scaling of your Worker/Web Role instances depending on predictable usage patterns. Whether you expect high load during business hours and low load during the nights, or have different resource allocation needs, this session on using the Enterprise Library Integration Pack for the Windows Azure Autoscale Application Block shows you how your Windows Azure solutions can achieve higher levels of elasticity.

If this session delivers what it promises its like the pandoras box of cloud computing. Level 400 and high expectations!

Windows Azure Internals

Mark Russinovich goes under the hood of the Microsoft datacenter operating system. Intended for developers who have already gotten their hands dirty with Windows Azure and understand its basic concepts, this session gives an inside look at the architectural design of the Windows Azure compute platform. Learn about Microsoft’s data center architecture, what goes on behind the scenes when you deploy and update a Windows Azure app and how it monitors and responds to the health of machines, its own components, and the apps it hosts.

Windows Azure from the horses mouth! Mark Russinovich – say no more! Don’t miss this session if you want to know more about Windows Azure and probably stuff that you can’t read in the books.

Continuous Integration with Team Foundation Services and Windows Azure Websites

Windows Azure Websites and Team Foundation Services are a match made in heaven. In this demo-heavy session, learn how to connect your Azure Website with Team Foundation Services and setup continuous integration. Rainer Stropek, Azure MVP, shows how you customize your build process in the cloud. Get practical tips for how continuous integration in the cloud will work in your team.

75 minutes of how to automate and get more efficient in your dev/ops process. Another session where I expect to get a lot of tips and tricks to bring home.

Build Real-World Modern Apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services on Windows Store, Windows Phone, iOS, or Android

Join us for and in-depth walkthrough of everything you need to know to build an engaging and dynamic app with Mobile Services. See how to work with geo-fencing, multiple auth providers (including custom identity), periodic push notifications, and your favorite APIs through scripts. We begin with a Windows Store app then point Windows Phone, iOS, and Android apps to the same Mobile Service in order to ensure a consistent experience across devices. We finish up with unit testing, debugging, and the the other app lifecycle goodness you need in a real-world app.

Kristofer Liljeblad, my main man, closest co-worker and good friend. This is my number one pick at TechEd this year! I know that he will be well prepared, I know that he will deliver a great session and I know that he has a lot of ground to cover to live up to the session abstract! Good luck my friend!

Designing and Building Disaster Recovery Enabled Solutions in Windows Azure

One of the biggest problems we have in an application and its data is the fact that we need it to be able to survive a disaster of any kind, from a Natural Disaster to a Vendor Disaster. In the cloud this is even more important because we need to understand how to prepare ourselves for that, since in some cases we "seem" not to have the same control over the data, and so in this session we talk about some of the Windows Azure capabilities and features that help us be prepared for disasters, and also to better prepare our apps and data to survive them.

Nuno Godinho is another great speaker that I had the pleasure to work with at TechEd and at Cloud Burst. His topic about disaster recovery is often overlooked and but still much needed in many cases.

Getting the Most out of Windows Azure Storage

In a world increasingly dominated by mobile and cloud computing, application developers require durable, scalable, reliable, and fast storage solutions like Windows Azure Storage.  In this session, learn how to get the most out of storage, patterns and best practices for developing performant solutions on storage that optimize for cost, latency, and throughput. Find out how to best develop mobile apps using storage, how to monitor, analyze and improve your storage apps. You don't want to miss this session, which is heavy on code and real-world examples that you can leverage.

Windows Azure Storage is service that have always been close to me. I love the things you can do with the services and knowing how to use them efficiently is crucial. I have never seen Joe Giardino present but he is Senior Development Lead on the Windows Azure Storage team so I expect to get to learn great stuff here!

Building Media Workflows in the Cloud with Windows Azure Media Services

Come and learn how to build media workflows for encoding, encrypting, and delivering media to multiple formats and devices. Learn how to ingest content securely into the cloud using the Media Services SDK for .NET and partner applications from Aspera. Watch as the Media Services team encodes content in the cloud and delivers to multiple devices including your own! Get insight into the roadmap for Windows Azure Media Services features including PlayReady DRM protection, License Delivery, and Live Streaming.

Windows Azure Media Services will be huge in a lot of solutions in the future (future meaning not today but tomorrow and beyond). This is a session I will watch as soon as I get the opportunity.

Lap Around Monitoring, Management and DevOps Solutions in Windows Azure

Windows Azure has made a great deal of improvements in the area of management and monitoring of cloud applications since the first release early last year. In this session, you will get a preview of the exciting, new monitoring and management capabilities that gives you insights into your running application and troubleshooting your applications end-to-end across all Azure workloads. Learn about the new management capabilities for Virtual Machines, Virtual Networks, Service Bus, SQL Azure and your other business critical workloads running on Windows Azure.

Sessions that promise “preview of the exciting, new” is always interesting if you want to be on the edge! Don’t miss this one!

Messaging with Windows Azure Service Bus

Windows Azure Service Bus offers a rich set of messaging capabilities in the cloud as well as on-premises. This session discusses some of the advanced messaging capabilities in Service Bus. Join us to learn about publish-subscribe patterns, Using the Service Bus sessions, interoperability with AMQP, scaling with Service Bus, and messaging strategies for server to cloud federation.

If you want to know more about Windows Azure Services Bus, Clemens Vasters is the guy. He will be able to answer any question you have, explain any feature there is and know about any issue that you might have experienced. This I know from my own experiences from working with Clemens with customers. As always, I expect an entertaining session!

And wait, there is even more!

Apart from these session there is even more. There are sessions on BizSpark in the Cloud, more on Windows Azure Media Services, more on Windows Azure Active Directory, more on Windows Azure Service Bus and more and more and more… Make no mistake – Windows Azure will rule TechEd!

How to delete a VM in Windows Azure and not incur any charges

When you want to delete a Virtual Machine and make it not incur any charges to your credit card anymore there are a couple of steps that you need to go thru.

Short story

  1. Delete the Virtual Machine
  2. Wait until the disk is detached from the Virtual Machine
  3. Delete the disk and delete the associated VHD
  4. Delete the Cloud Service
  5. Delete the Storage Account

Long Story

First of all you need to delete the Virtual Machine. This is the easy part and many think that this is enough. One thing that might be confusing is that when you delete a Virtual Machine a Cloud Service appears!

Look at the picture below. It has one VM deployed and zero Cloud Services. This will change when we delete the VM.Now click on Delete at the bottom of the screen with the Virtual Machine selected.


Deleting the VM takes a couple of seconds and after this is done you see that you have 0 Virtual Machines but 1 Cloud Service. Where did that come from?


If you now click on the Cloud Service link you will see that the Cloud Service you have has the same name as the VM that you used to have. So this is just a trick that we do in the portal to not confuse you but the effect when you delete is somewhat confusing. When you create a Virtual Machine if is actually contained in a Cloud Service but in the portal we hide this for you. If you instead list your Cloud Services in PowerShell you will see all the Cloud Services, including the once that have Virtual Machines connected to them. Just having a Cloud Service with nothing deployed to it does not incur any cost so for now we can just ignore it.

Next step is to delete the disk. Every disk for your Virtual Machines are stored in one of your own Windows Azure Storage Accounts. Storing data in a storage account incur cost so we need to delete this.

Click on the DISKS tab in Virtual Machines and note that before you can delete the disk the ATTACHED TO must be empty. It takes a couple of minutes between you deleting the Virtual Machine and the disk getting detached from that Virtual Machine.


So be patient, what until the disk is released and then click on DELETE with the disk selected. When clicking on DELETE you are presented with two options. Either you Delete the associated VHD or you Retain the associated VHD. If you want to achieve zero cost you have to delete the VHD. But please remember that this will not be a reversible action and the VHD will be delete from your account.


With the Virtual Machine deleted and with the VHD associated with the disk attached to the Virtual Machine you are now down to zero in cost for you account. If you want you can now also delete the Cloud Service and the Storage Account by just selecting the corresponding tabs and select delete.

tisdag, maj 28, 2013

Using Live Writer again

Today I decided to start using Live Writer again for my blog and here are some easy steps to set it up. At the moment I run my blog on Blogger.com. Using Blogger is mainly of historical reasons and yes I know, I should move it to Windows Azure and run it on a Windows Azure Web Site!

Live Essentials

First of all you need to install Live Writer which is a part of Live Essentials. Download it and install it but make sure that you don’t install the apps that you don’t need. Live Essentials also include things like Messenger and some other apps.

Code Snippet Manager

While being a developer and blogging every once in a while you need to post code. Or at least you should! To post code PreCode Code Snippet Manager is a great plugin and also a desktop client.

PreCode Code Snippet Plugin

Drafts folder

To be able to sync drafts between different computers you can add an easy registry hack to change the posts folder.

Open regedit and navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Writer and add a new string value named PostsDirectory. Create a new folder on your computer in a SkyDrive or Dropbox folder and set the path to that folder in the string value PostsDirectory. Live Writer will create two folders named Drafts and Recent Posts. So, now its easy to start writing a post on one computer and continue on another.

Adding possibility to open older posts

To be able to open posts from your blog that you haven’t written with Live Writer you can use this excellent guide: http://www.technize.net/open-and-edit-any-post-in-windows-live-writer-2012/

fredag, maj 17, 2013

How much Windows Azure resorces am I using?

To check how much resources you are using in Windows Azure is really simple but might be tricky to find and understand. The only account that can access the account information is the account owner. That is the account used to sign up for Windows Azure the first time. If you are a co admin on an account you can not access this information.

The place to start is the Windows Azure Account Center located at https://account.windowsazure.com If you are not signed in you need to do so with the Microsoft Account from the account owner. Once you are signed in you click on link to Account Center marked below:

This will take you to an overview of all the subscriptions you have. As you see in the picture below I only have one subscription called "3-Month Free Trial". The name of the subscription is actually a button taking you to the page with the interesting stuff! So lets click on it! The exact layout of the picture below might vary. In this case I have removed the spending limit and the text on the orange bar below is telling me that I have 89 days left of my trial. If you have an account with the spending limit still there it would have said something like: "This account have a spending limit. Click here to remove it."

On the following page can now see how much resources you have and how much of the included resources that you have spent.

Here I would like to point out some important things:
  • You will only see bars for the resources that you have used in the current billing period. So in this example I have NOT created any Windows Azure SQL Databases and hence that bar will not show up in the overview.
  • In my account I have 50 hours of Compute Hours of A7 VM included and I have used 28. This is indicated with the blue bar at the top.
  • My next bill is estimated to kr0.00 since I'm only using the resources that are included in my current subscription.
  • You can see the dates for the current billing period on the right side. Once I reach the end of the billing period I will get new resources on my account and all the bars will be reset.
  • If you click on the "Change payment method" you can change the credit card that gets charged and you can also add multiple credit cards.
  • "Download usage details" lets your download a csv-file containing all the information about what services you have used that led to your bill. Great for running BI reports in Excel!
  • If you click on "Edit subscription details" you can change the name of the subscription. This is really good if you are co admin on multiple subscriptions.
  • The data on this page is not live. I think it has a 13 hour delay.
  • Note that the amount on the right hand side is only an estimate. So this number might be higher than your actual current value since we are using previous consumption to estimate your month total.

I think this is the most important thing you need to know about the Windows Azure Account Summary page.

Create a VM of the new High Memory instances (A7) in Windows Azure

When we launched Windows Azure Infrastructure Services in mid April we also introduced two new Virtual Machine sizes. These are called A6 and A7. The A6 corresponds to a Large VM with four cpu cores but with 28 GB RAM instead of the standard 7 GB. The A7 corresponds to a Extra Large VM with eight cpu cores and with 56 GB RAM instead of the standard 14 GB.

This VMs are perfect for workloads that require a lot of memory. This could for instance be running a SQL Server on a VM. The new VM sizes are now also available for Cloud Services with the release or Windows Azure SDK 2.0.

To create a new VM based on the new size is really easy and can be done directly in the Windows Azure Management Portal.

Click on New in the left hand corner and select Compute – Virtual Machine – Quick Create:

Here you can now see the new VM sizes. Select A7, enter a DNS name, username and password and you are good to go! You can also select the Location where you VM should be placed. Microsoft have data centers in eight locations today. After you have entered these settions, click on CREATE A VIRTUAL MACHINE, take a cup of coffee and enjoy.

When you VM is running you can now easily connect to it via Remote Desktop. Click on the link to Virtual Machines in the menu on the left side and then Connect at the bottom of the page with you Virtual Machine selected:

This will open a RDP session and you can sign in with the credentials that you chose earlier.

Windows Azure Benefits in BizSpark

As a member of Microsoft's program for startups BizSpark you have a lot of Windows Azure resources for free each month! Each BizSpark company gets up to eight MSDN Ultimate and each MSDN Ultimate have Windows Azure resources at a value of $6500 annually.

This post will guide you in how to maximize the usage of your Windows Azure benefits in BizSpark!

To activate your BizSpark Windows Azure benefits you need only three things. You need your Microsoft Account (aka Live Id) that is associated with BizSpark, you need a credit card to verify your credentials and you need this url: http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/Azure/Default.aspx

The url above will take you to this page:

Here you can read more about Windows Azure and also click on the big orange button saying “Activate Windows Azure now“.

If you are signed in with the Microsoft Account connected to BizSpark you will get to this page:

Here you can see what Windows Azure resources that are included in BizSpark and continue with the sign up process. As I mentioned above you will need a credit card to sign up. This is primarily used to prevent fraud.

If you already have created a Windows Azure account for your main BizSpark account you can create a new MSDN Subscription for another Microsoft Account (Live Id). Each BizSpark membership can have up to eight MSDN Accounts.

To add a new MSDN Account to your BizSpark membership you sign in to the BizSpark Portal at http://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/ Click on the link to My BizSpark and on the left hand side click on Members under the Manage headline. This will take you to this page:

Here you can now add a new member to you BizSpark team. This member with a Microsoft Account will be awarded a MSDN Ultimate Subscription. Sign in to http://www.windowsazure.com with this newly added account and you will have even more Windows Azure resources at your disposal.
And if you are a Swedish startup and thinks BizSpark sounds cool, ping me on beriksen@microsoft.com and I will hook you up with the right person!

tisdag, april 16, 2013

Windows Azure Virtual Machines nu släppt!

Nu är Windows Azure Virtual Machines släppt!

Microsoft erbjudande för Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), som vi kallar Windows Azure Infrastructure Services, lämnade idag Preview och är nu i produktion! Det var i juni 2012 som vi först visade upp våra tjänster för att köra IaaS och sedan dess har den varit i preview. Preview har i det här fallet inneburit ett begränsat SLA, begränsad support och rabatterat pris. Allt detta är nu förändrat och vi lämnar full support och ett SLA.


Tjänsten Virtual Machines erbjuder en infrastruktur för att distribuera en applikation. Denna infrastruktur kan bestå av persistenta diskar för operativsystem, persistenta diskar för data och nätverk för att sy ihop hela lösningen. Vilket operativsystem du väljer att köra är helt upp till dig och vi erbjuder möjligheten att skapa nya virtuella maskiner baserade på t ex Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 samt ett antal av våra partners Linux-baserade distributioner som openSUSE, Ubuntu och CentOS. Förutom det finns det även ytterligare varianter på färdiga images på http://vmdepot.msopentech.com/


Med vår tjänst Windows Azure Virtual Machines vill vi skapa en plattform där våra kunder och partners enkelt kan distribuera existerande applikationer och dra nytta av minskad kostnad och ökad flexibilitet i sin IT-miljö. Det kan handla om att migrera hela existerande miljöer som består av flera virtuella maskiner eller att t ex bara flytta en SQL Server som sedan blir en del i en molnbaserad lösning.

I och med att vi nu släpper Windows Azure Virtual Machines i produktion så erbjuder vi också support för flera av våra egna serverbaserade applikationer. Bland dessa finns SQL Server, Windows Server Active Directory, Sharepoint Server samt BizTalk. En komplett lista hittar du här.

Jag vill komma igång!

För att komma igång med Windows Azure Virtual Machines behöver man skapa ett konto. Det gör man enklast genom att besöka http://www.windowsazure.com och skapa ett gratiskonto. Dessa konton är helt gratis i 90 dagar men det finns begränsningar för hur mycket resurser man kan använda. Om man går i taket på någon av de resurser som ingår så kommer kontot att stängas ner tills nästa 30-dagarsperiod startar. Det går självklart att ta bort denna spärr och konvertera ett gratiskonto till ett riktigt konto. Här finns en guide som går igenom hur man skapar ett konto samt hur man skapar sin första Windows Azure Virtual Machine.

Men hur funkar det egentligen?

En viktig del av Windows Azure Virtual Machines är de persistenta diskar som både operativsystem och data ligger på. För att skapa en så sömlös upplevelse som möjligt hanterar vi allt som har att göra med dessa diskar direkt från vår hypervisor. Diskarna exponeras som SATA- (operativsystem) och SCSI- (data) hårdvara och för den virtuella maskinen ser det ut som lokala diskar men i verkligheten ligger de på ett Windows Azure Storage Account. Eftersom att samtliga diskar sparas i ett Storage Account har du som kontohavare full tillgång till filerna. Samtliga diskar sparas också i tre kopior för high availability.

Eftersom att alla diskar som används i Windows Azure Virtual Machines är baserade på samma virtualiseringsteknik som på Windows Server kan man flytta existerande virtuella maskiner från on premises till molnet men också från molnet till on premises. Det gör att man får en väldigt flexibel miljö för att snabbt flytta hela eller delar av en miljö. Att flytta maskiner kan man antingen göra direkt i portalen eller via Power Shell.

Jag vill lära mig mer om Windows Azure!

Nästa vecka kommer två event där det finns möjlighet att lära sig mer om Windows Azure:
Windows Azure Conf är en onlinekonferens som sänds från Microsofts huvudkontor i Redmond. Den börjar kl 19.00 och i anslutning till det kommer vi att köra ett Windows Azure Hackathon på Microsofts kontor i Akalla, Stockholm. Vi börjar kl 13.00 och avslutar med att se keynote och de första sessionerna streamade online. Anmälan här!
Global Windows Azure bootcamp är ett event som drivs av engagerade Winows Azure-experter utanför Microsoft. Under samma dag kommer det att genomföras på ca 100 ställen runt om i världen. Kolla in ditt närmaste och hoppas att det finns plats! Mer info här!

onsdag, mars 27, 2013

Windows AzureConf.Local

I anslutning till Windows AzureConf den 23 april kommer vi att köra en Windows Azure Hackathon: Windows AzureConf.Local. Det blir ett event med Windows Azure-experter från både Microsoft och andra företag.

Windows AzureConf.Local är en gratis konferens av utvecklare, för utvecklare. Ta chansen att komma till Microsoft, samarbeta med andra utvecklare och lyssna på experter som har erfarenhet av att använda Windows Azure i skarpa projekt. Du kommer att lära dig mer om webutveckling, mobila tjänster, virtuella maskiner och annat i Microsofts breda molnplattform.

Om du vill kan du ta chansen att jobba på ett eget projekt och få handledning och support av personer på plats eller så gör du någon av de många labbar som finns tillgängliga.

Om du har väntat på möjligheten att höra hur andra utvecklare har nått framgång med Windows Azure är det här ett event du inte får missa!

Vi börjar kl 13.00 och klockan 19.00 kommer vi att sätta igång streamad keynote från Windows Azure.Conf i Redmond med Scott Guthrie. Efter det fortsätter vi med streamade sessioner fram till kl 22.00! Windows AzureConf online fortsätter till kl 05.00 och avslutas ytterligare keynote av Scott.

Passet med sessioner kommer att inledas av mig och Kristofer Liljeblad (aka Batman & Robin eller Piff & Puff) där vi ger en översikt av Windows Azure och garanterat kommer att beröra det absolut senaste nyheterna i plattformen. Utöver det kommer vi att ha en mängd sessioner redo och låter deltagrna rösta eller önska innehållet.

Registrera dig gratis på: http://aka.ms/AzureConfSweden

13.00 – 18.00
Sessioner, diskussioner och koding
18.00 – 19.00
Mat, dryck och mingel
19.00 – 20.00
Online Keynote av Scott Guthrie
20.00 – 22.00
Sessioner streamade från konferensen

Virtual Machines in Windows Azure

Before deploying your first Virutal Machine to Windows Azure you need to create an account. There are several different free offers but everyone is connected to your Microsoft Account. So if you for instance have a MSDN Subscription and Sign Up for a Trail Account on http://aka.ms/TryWindowsAzureNow with that same Microsoft Account your MSDN Benefits is instantly activated. The same goes for BizSpark members.

Deploying your first Virtual Machine!

With an active account it’s now time to deploy your first vm in Windows Azure.
  1. Go to http://manage.windowsazure.com and sign in with your Microsoft Account
  2. Click on New in the left hand corner and select Compute – Virtual Machine – Quick Create
  3. Now you need to go thru a few easy steps:
    1. Enter a name for you VM. This name must be unique in the .cloudapp.net namespace and will be checked immediately.
    2. Select the Image that you want to use. In this guide I will use Windows Server 2012.
    3. Select the size of your VM. Here I have created a Large VM.
    4. Enter a password. This password will be used when you remote access the VM.
    5. Select the location. If you are based in Sweden the closest data centers are North Europe or West Europe.
    6. Click on Create Virtual Machine and your VM will be created! This takes some time but in a few minutes you will be able to access it from your computer. When the VM is created you will see this message:
  5. Now click on Virtual Machines in the menu on the right hand side and you will see that your VM is in a Running state:

  6. Click on the name of the VM to see more information about that running instance:

  7. Click on Configure. On this page you can now change to size of the Virtual Machine. Change this to Extra Large and then click on Save on the bottom of the page:

    This will force the VM to restart and when it has restarted it will be running on a new VM with the requested resources.
  8. Go back to the overview and click on Connect at the bottom of the page:

  9. Sign in the VM via Remote Desktop and use the password chosen in step 3.4

Spending limit

By default there is a spending limit on a newly created account on $0. This means that you won’t risk getting charged if you are about to use more resources then what’s included in your benefits. If you do so, your account will end up in a read only state and your Virtual Machines (VM) will be suspended. When you enter a new 30-day period and get new resources on your account, it will be active again.
My recommendation is that you remove the spending limit as soon as you want to make sure that the VM’s or cloud solutions always are available.
You can read more about the spending limit here: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/spending-limits/

The following is how you can remove your Spending Limit:
  1. Log in to the Windows Azure Account Center
  2. Click Accounts
  3. Click Subscriptions
  4. Select a subscription e.g. Subscription 1
If the subscription has been disabled due to the Spending Limit being reached, click this notification: "Subscription reached the Spending Limit and has been disabled to prevent charges." Otherwise, click "Remove spending limit" in the Tasks area. 

tisdag, mars 05, 2013

Android och Windows Azure Mobile Services

Nu har vi tagit ytterligare ett steg i Windows Azures inblandning i open source-utveckling och släpper nu stöd för Android i Windows Azure Mobile Services. Mobile Services gör det enkelt för utvecklare att bygga en skalbar backend i Windows Azure för olika typer at klienter. Sedan tidigare har vi stöd för IOS, Windows Phone 8 och Windows 8.

SDK för Android, som utvecklades av Microsofts dotterbolag Microsoft Open Technologies, är tillgängligt på GitHub.

Tillsammans med Microsoft Open Technologies utvecklade Windows Azure-teamet integrationen med portalen samt stöd för push notifications.

Genom att använda tjänsterna i Mobile Services förenklar man datalagring, autenticering genom Microsoft Account, Facebook, Twitter och Google samt push notificaitons till samtliga plattformars egna system för notifieringar. Oavsett om du bygger en app för Windows Store, iPhone, iPad eller Android och vill ha snabbt och enkelt skapa en backend, push notifications och autenticering för din app så tillhandahåller Mobile Services dessa egenskaper för utvecklare.

http://www.windowsazure.com kan du skapa ett testkonto för att köra upp till tio Mobile Services gratis. Det finns nu också tutorials för att komma igång med tjänsterna mot Android.