Showing posts with label devops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label devops. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Microsoft Health for Developers (no, not a MS Diet for Dev's) - Microsoft Band SDK for WinPhone/Android/iOS(coming soon)

Microsoft Band SDK

Create amazing app experiences for Microsoft Band.

Extend the experience of your application to your users' wrists via a new dimension of interaction. Create an app that can send UI content to the band, keeping users engaged when they're in motion. Your app can also receive data directly from the band sensors, giving your users more reasons to interact with it. Create a personalized, data-rich, custom experience and enhanced scenarios that will engage users in ways only possible with Microsoft Band.

The Microsoft Band SDK Preview gives developers access to the sensors available on the band, as well as the ability to create and send notifications to tiles. Enhance and extend the experience of your applications to your customers' wrists.

Band SDK Preview for Windows Phone


Sample code

Band SDK Preview for Android


Sample code

Band SDK Preview for iOS

(coming soon)

Additional resources


Experience design guidelines

Release notes

Access sensors

Use a range of sensors including heart rate, UV, accelerometer, gyroscope, and skin temperature, as well as fitness data, to design cutting-edge user experiences.

Create your tile

Keep users engaged and extend your app experience to Microsoft Band. Create tiles for the band that send glanceable notifications from your app to your users.

Personalize your app

Monetize your app by offering users ways to customize the band. Change the color theme, or bring the Me Tile to life by changing the wallpaper.


I bet you can guess what the next Coding4Fun Hardware Friday post is going to be on... :P

The above mentioned doc's are currently just a 19 page PDF, so if you're interested just grab it.


From the PDF:

The Microsoft Band SDK Preview is designed to allow 3rd party application developers to harness the power of the Microsoft Band hardware. The SDK gives developers access to the sensors available on the Band, as well as the ability to create Tiles on the Band and sending notifications to these tiles for their applications. Through the SDK you as an application developer will be able to enhance and extend the experience of your application to your customers’ wrists. This opens up a whole new dimension of interaction and enables new, richer scenarios for your applications that make use of the capabilities of the Microsoft Band.

Applications that work with Microsoft Band essentially make use of the Microsoft Band SDK Preview to communicate to and from the Microsoft Band. The application logic runs on the host OS (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone) and it remotely controls the UI of the Microsoft Band as well as receives contextual information and sensor data from the Band.

The features offered by the SDK are as follows:
 Multi-platform support
 Subscribing to sensor data from the Band
 Sending application notifications to the Band
 Allowing and application to personalize the theme of the Band
The following subsections describe these features in more detail.

Multi-Platform Support
Given the multi-platform support of Microsoft Band, the SDK is also supported on all of the same platforms the current Microsoft Health and Sync applications are released on. This includes:
 Windows 7 or later
 Windows Phone 8.1
 Mac OS X 10.9
 iOS 8
 Android 4.2 (API 17)

Monday, November 24, 2014

RDCMan gets a Rev (and more)

Microsoft Downloads - Remote Desktop Connection Manager 2.7

RDCMan manages multiple remote desktop connections


File Name: rdcman.msi

Date Published: 11/18/2014

File Size: 1.1 MB

DCMan manages multiple remote desktop connections. It is useful for managing server labs or large server farms where you need regular access to each machine such as automated checkin systems and data centers. It is similar to the built-in MMC Remote Desktops snap-in, but more flexible. The RDCMan 2.7 version is a major feature release.

New features include:

- Virtual machine connect-to-console support

- Smart groups

- Support for credential encryption with certificates

- Windows 8 remote action support

- Support for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 / Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2

Ben Armstrong’s Virtualization Blog - Update for RDCMan

Anyone who is familiar with RDCMan will be thrilled to hear that there is an updated version available!

For those of you who are new to RDCMan – it is a tool that allows you to easily manage multiple remote desktop sessions:



250 Hello - Remote Desktop Connection Manager Download (RDCMan) 2.7


Installation Pointers

There are a couple of things worth noting about the tool:

It will install into the x86 Program Files folder on a x64 machine: 

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\Remote Desktop Connection Manager

Do not save your custom RDG files in the installation folder, just in case your local workstation dies and the file is gone. I always keep my .RDG files in a  subfolder of My Documents, which is a redirected folder to a file server. 

The RDG files are portable, and you can share them within your organisation.  For example, when you get a new admin give them a copy of the RDG files and they are able to review your list of servers and get connected easily – assuming they have the permissions….

The help file is located in a sub directory called Resources,  - unsurprisingly this is called help.htm

2.7 Fixes & Features

From the above help file.  Please review the help file for details. 

New features

Virtual machine connect-to-console support

Client size options come from the application config file (RDCMan.exe.config) rather than being hard-coded.

View.Client size.Custom menu item shows the current size

View.Client size => From remote desktop size

Option to hide the main menu until Alt is pressed. Hover over the window title also shows the menu.

Added Smart groups

Support for credential encryption with certificates

Better handling of read-only files

Added recently used servers virtual group

New implementation of thumbnail view for more predictable navigation

Thumbnail view remembers scroll position when changing groups, etc.

Performance improvements when loading large files

Allow scale-to-fit for docked servers (Display Settings.Scale docked remote desktop to fit window)

Allow scale-to-fit for undocked servers (Display Settings.Scale undocked remote desktop to fit window)

"Source" for inheritance in properties dialog is now a button to open the properties for the source node.

Focus release pop up => changed to buttons, added minimize option.

Added command-line "/noconnect" option to disable startup “reconnect servers” dialog

Session menu items to send keys to the remote session, e.g. Ctrl+Alt+Del

Session menu items to send actions to the remote session, e.g. display charms

Domain="[display]" means use the display name for the domain name.

Bugs fixed

Application is now DPI aware

Undocking a server not visible in the client panel resulted in the client not being shown in undocked form.

Ctrl+S shortcut didn’t work at all. It now works and always saves, even if there are no detected changes to the file.

Shortcut keys didn’t work when focus was on a thumbnail.

Add/delete profile in management tab. In same dialog instance, profiles are not updated. Similarly adding a new profile from combo doesn’t update the tab.

Window title was not updated when selected node is removed and no new node selected (open a file, close the file.)

Connect via keyboard didn’t always give focus when it should.

Connected Group would always show itself upon connecting to a machine, regardless of setting.

Selecting a built-in group then hiding via menu option didn’t work properly.

Editing server/group properties did not always mark a file as changed.

Non-changes could result in save prompts at exit. This should no longer happen.

Activating the context menu via the keyboard button was not always operating on the correct node.

Changing a server/group name doesn’t change window title if the server/group is currently selected.

ALT+PAGEUP and ALT+PAGEDOWN hotkeys were switched. This is fixed for new installs—for existing files you’ll want to change on the [Tools.Options.Hot Keys] tab.

/reset command line option wasn’t resetting all preferences

“Server Tree” option from “Select server” focus release dialog didn’t show the server tree if it was hidden.

New file directory now defaults to “Documents”.

ListSessions dialog sometimes popped up in a weird location. Now placed within the main window

Lessons Learned - Importing Azure RDC Files into RDCMan.exe’s RDG

This is really over-engineering.  Azure’s “connect” link sends you a .rdc file to download or open.  The registered handler for .rdc files is mstsc.exe, a.k.a. Remote Desktop Connection.

The key line in the .rdc file is “Full Address:s:FQDN:PORT”.  The ‘s’ column in the colon-delimited value is short for ‘string,’ nothing more.  What we want are the FQDN, the port, and the .rdc file’s name.  Why the filename?  It turns out that the Azure Cloud Service is the FQDN in the .rdc file.  The machine name is just the filename.  In other words, if all your VMs are in the same Azure Cloud Service, then the FQDN for each .rdc will be identical.  Only the port will differentiate one VM from the other.

Anyhow, all this does is look for the Full Address line, extract out the FQDN and port data, then create a server element under the specified group in the RDG file.


Lessons Learned - Hotkeys and RDC Man

There are days I seem to live on RDC Man.  One day, I might try setting my Shell= to RDCman.exe.  On a VM, of course.

At any rate, there are times I need to switch back to the host machine.   While I would like to just see a ‘minimize RDC Man’ hotkey, I’ve had to make do with The Big Hammer: Ctrl-Alt-Del.  This brings up the ‘Windows Security’ screen (not my name: see for yourself at

A simple Ctrl-Alt-Del isn’t sufficient.  Exiting the Windows Security screen will drop you back into RDC Man. Starting a Task Manager (or switching to it, if already started), will send keystrokes to the host machine.  If you’re an old-school Unix-head like me, the mouse is The Absolute Last Resort.   So, I hit Alt+T to start taskmgr.exe.

Wait, there’s more!  You need to release the Alt key between Ctrl-Alt-Del and Alt-T.



That should be enough RDCMan for you today...

Thursday, September 05, 2013

What's the new in Windows Server 2012 R2?

Kurt Shintaku's Blog - INFO: New Windows Server 2012 R2 Innovations… listed!

The System Center Team blog wrote a great post that goes over some of the most significant improvements made to Windows Server 2012 R2.


  • Storage transformation –...
  • Software defined networking – ...
  • Virtualization and live migration – ...
  • Access & Information Protection – ...
  • Java application monitoring – ...


The System Center Team Blog - Better Together - The New Windows Server 2012 R2 Innovations – Download Now

There are quite a few products that make up the Microsoft Cloud OS vision. Windows Server 2012 R2 is in preview right now and ready for your evaluation.  We also have a strong management platform that make up the System Center family of products. They are designed to have tight integration with the core being Windows Server.

If you are looking for information on Windows Server 2012 R2, we have been rolling out detailed information though Brad Anderson’s What’s New in 2012 R2 blog series.  That will continue but we thought you would like a short consolidated list for consideration.  Here are some of the new innovations in Windows Server 2012 R2.

Storage transformation – Delivers breakthrough performance at a fraction of the cost

  • The storage tiering feature of Storage Spaces in Windows Server 2012 R2 automatically tiers data across hard disks and solid state drives based on usage to dramatically increase storage performance and cost efficiency.

Software defined networking – Provides new levels of agility and flexibility

  • Network virtualization in Windows Server 2012 R2, along with the management capabilities in System Center 2012 R2 provides the flexibility to place any virtual machine on any node regardless of IP address with isolation. 
  • New in-box gateway in Windows Server 2012 R2 extends virtual networks to provide full connectivity to physical networks as well as access to virtual networks over the internet.

Virtualization and live migration – Provides an integrated and high-performance virtualization platform

  • Cross-version live migration enables virtual machines running on Windows Server 2012 to be migrated to Windows Server 2012 R2 hosts with no downtime.
  • Live migration compression provides dramatic time savings (approximately 50% or greater) by using spare CPU cycles to compress live migration traffic with no special hardware.
  • Live migration with RDMA enables offloading of the process to the NICs (if they support RDMA) for even faster live migrations.

Access & Information Protection – Empowering your users to be productive while maintaining control and security of corporate information with Windows Server 2012 R2

  • Enable users to work on the device of their choice (through BYOD programs or on personal devices) by providing a simple registration process to make the devices known to IT and be taken into account as part of your conditional access policies
  • Deliver policy-based access control to corporate applications and data with consistent experiences across devices
  • Protect corporate information and mitigate risk by managing a single identity for each user across both on-premises and cloud-based applications and enabling multi-factor authentication for additional user validation

Java application monitoring – Enables deep application insight into Java applications.

  • Provides performance and exception events as well as level alerting within Operations Manager for Java applications.
  • Supports Tomcat, Java JDK, and other Java web services frameworks.
  • Line-of-code level traceability with performance and exception metrics for .NET and Java application monitoring for more actionable, tool-driven dev-ops collaboration


Try Windows Server 2012 R2 on Windows Azure today!


In a word, lots (for an R2)


Related Past Post XRef:
"Introducing Windows Server 2012 R2" [Preview eBook Release]

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

InRelease Released - The InRelease acquisition has completed and you can now get the "InRelease for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Preview"

Brian Harry’s blog - InRelease Acquisition is complete

At TechEd, in early June, I announced our agreement to acquire InRelease – a release management product built specifically for Team Foundation Server by InCycle Software.  Since then, we’ve received tons of requests for more information, demos, etc.  Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to point people at InCycle because the acquisition was not final.  I’m happy to say that about a week ago we closed the acquisition and InRelease is now a part of Microsoft.

That doesn’t mean we can start selling it right away.  There are a number of things that have to happen in order to enable that – getting it on our price lists, shipping a version that is properly branded, serviceable, etc.  All of that will take a few months but there are some good options for you in the interim.  Let me share some of them.

  • We are providing a preview of our future Release Management product today.  It’s basically the existing InRelease product with some minimal changes to meet some of our compliance requirements.  You can download it here.  You can also read the InRelease Preview User Guide and ask questions on the forum.
  • InCycle Consulting will continue as an independent company and, until we ship the first fully Microsoft product, will continue to provide trials and sell the InRelease product.


Hopefully these two paths will solve everyone’s needs while finish up the changes we need to make.

I also want to say a few words about licensing so you, at least, have a little context on what to expect.  We are not ready to announce pricing but I can share a bit about the structure of the licensing.

  • The InRelease release management authoring components will be included in Visual Studio Test Professional, Visual Studio Premium and Visual Studio Ultimate.
  • Everything needed to participate in a release process (as opposed to configuring it) will be included in the Team Foundation Server CAL.
  • The InRelease server components will be integrated into Team Foundation Server 2013.
  • The InRelease deployers (which are required for each node you deploy on) will continue to be licensed separately.


InRelease for Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Preview

Brief Description

InRelease for Visual Studio 2013 Preview is the essential suite of release and deployment tools available to automate deployment of applications across the desktop, the server, and the cloud.


Microsoft InRelease for Visual Studio 2013 Preview helps development and operations teams integrate with Team Foundation Server 2013 Preview to configure and automate complex deployments of their automated builds to target environments more easily. Development teams can also model their release processes and track approvals, sign-offs, and visualize their release status.

Release management with InRelease for Visual Studio 2013 Preview requires Ultimate 2013 Preview, Premium 2013 Preview, or Test Professional 2013 Preview. The deployment agents will continue to be licensed separately per target server.



InRelease Preview User Guide

InRelease is a continuous deployment solution for .NET teams that makes release cycles repeatable, visible and more efficient by automating deployments through every environment from Team Foundation Server (TFS) until production. With pre-defined release paths, InRelease triggers deployments upon approval, assembles all the components of your application, moves them to the target servers and installs all of them in one transaction. Once the installation is successful, InRelease can execute automated tests or data generation scripts specified for your application. The same steps are repeated until the application is approved and goes to the next environment.

Based on a business-approval workflow and a flexible and centralized configuration, InRelease is an orchestration platform that improves coordination and communication between development, operations and quality assurance to decrease issues inherent to it such as: inefficiency, errors, frustration, high costs and delays.



Not for everyone or every dev, but still a great additional to the Microsoft ALM DevOps story...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fighting bugs in your LOB apps? Hearing about crashes after the fact? You need CALM (Common Application Lightweight Monitor)...

CALM - Common Application Lightweight Monitor

What’s CALM in a nutshell?

CALM (Complete Application Layer Monitoring) is an Application Status Monitoring System that monitors, logs, and reports exceptions and application failures for custom applications built using .NET. CALM’s feature set is designed for small to mid-sized businesses, to larger organizations needing a feature rich, affordable, and scalable custom application monitoring system.




This note from the author, Steven Lowe, is what caught my eye;


After 30 years of creating awesome projects for others, I just last year released a software product from my company Innovator LLC. It's an application status monitoring program that monitors custom .NET Apps called CALM. It's a simple but functional utility that does one thing and does it well. In my research, I haven't found another product just like it.


But what kept it?

  • The fact that this isn't some cloud thing, that it's meant to be run inside my firewall
  • That it's really pretty simple, SQL Server back-end with a number of Windows Services (and web front end of course)
  • That this really felt like something I'd have written, or that many LOB dev's have written.

Here's a snip from the CHM;

CALM is the Common Application Lightweight Monitor for .NET applications

CALM is intended to be as simple as possible to use while still being a complete solution. While it is relatively easy to trap unhandled exceptions and, for example, log them to a file, it is not so easy to make sure that someone reads the log file! Since bugs that no one reports rarely get fixed, CALM closes the reporting loop by logging unhandled exceptions to a database and notifying developers via email when they occur. To complete the picture and provide additional "peace of mind", calm monitors application sessions for abnormal termination, periodically tests critical hardware and services like databases and web sites, and supports desktop and web applications.

CALM Automatically Traps Unhandled Exceptions

Unhandled exceptions are automatically trapped and reported to the CALM database. The CALM Notification Service can then email the designated developer(s) to make them aware of the problem.

CALM Suppresses the Send-a-Debug-Report-to-Microsoft Dialog

CALM suppresses the send-a-debug-report-to-Microsoft dialog, and writes the exception information to the CALM database instead. This helps ensure that users are not confused and/or frustrated by a dialog that they most likely do not understand. It also helps ensure that when your application has an unhandled exception, this information is not lost!

CALM Continuously Monitors Applications

Every CALM application maintains a Session record in the CALM database, recording Start and Stop events, along with any Exception events that may occur. All applications, machines, tests, and sessions may be viewed through the CALM Web Monitor at any time. The CALM Web Monitor provides a "Big Board" overview of the status of your systems at a glance.

CALM Tests Critical Machines and Services

CALM provides a Testing service that periodically tests designated machines, database servers, and web sites to make sure that they are still functioning properly. Any test failure is reported to the designated developer(s) via email, and appears on the CALM Web Monitor.

CALM Notifies Developers via Email

The CALM Notification service periodically polls the CALM database (about once per minute by default) and notifies the developer(s) designated as responsible for each Application or Test via email.

CALM Flex-Points(tm) Can Be Easily and Safely Customized

CALM provides drag-and-drop components for additional notifications on a per- application basis (e.g. EMail, Event Log, Log File, Web Service, et al), and includes a base class so you can develop your own custom notifications if desired. A database-access class (CalmDbLayer) is provided for customized CALM database interactions. In addition, the CALM database provides pre- and post-operation stored procedures that are intended to be edited by developers that need additional processing. These procedures should survive future CALM upgrades intact, allowing your customizations (such as making an entry in your bug database, for example) to keep working even when new versions of CALM are installed.

CALM Provides a "Big Board" Web Interface

CALM provides a web-based monitor and administration site with a "Big Board" overview for machines, applications, tests, and sessions. This allows you to easily see at a glance the overall status of your software systems, with drill-down for details.

CALM Is Not Just for .NET Applications

Non-.NET applications can interface with the CALM database, creating Sessions and issuing Events

Price? Well you can buy it, but Steven's currently offering, for a limited time for early adopters, a free version too!

Download CALM for Free

Want to see CALM in action with no financial obligation?

No Problem. For a limited time, download CALM for free.

Your free download of CALM:

    • Has full functionality.

    • Provides continuous, real-time monitoring of custom .Net applications.

    • Is monitoring your custom .NET Apps within minutes.

    • Has no expiration date.

    • Comes with 1 developer license.

      Take advantage of this no-risk opportunity to ensure the longevity of your custom .NET Apps.

      P.S. We’re only allowed 100 free downloads a day, so get CALM while you can!

      This is a limited time offer for early adopters.

      Did I grab a copy? Yep!

      Did I install it? Yep!

      Have I put it into an app at work yet? Nope, not yet. But when I get back from Build, I very likely will as I think this will help me respond to my user's app issues faster, easier and without worrying since it's all inside my Net.

      (And doesn't love a TPS reference?  ;)

      Monday, June 03, 2013

      TechEd NA 2013 Day 1 Announcement Round-up - VS 2013, TFS 2013, InRelease, SQL 2014, Server 2012 R2, BizTalk Services, Azure-in-a-box and even more Azure...

      Brian Harry's blog - Visual Studio 2013

      Hold on to your seat, this is going to be a long one…

      Today at TechEd, I announced Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013 and many of the Application Lifecycle Management features that they include. Today, we enabled some of those features on Team Foundation Service for you to try out immediately and I announced that a preview of VS 2013 and TFS 2013 will be available at the Build conference later this month.

      It’s an exciting time now that we can start talking more openly about what’s coming in our next major release. As usual, there’s so much I will only be able to just skim the surface with this post. Stay tuned for many more posts on my blog, the ALM blog, the Visual Studio blog ...

      ALM and Beyond - Visual Studio 2013

      Today, Microsoft announced Visual Studio 2013, the next release of is integrated developer tools solution for building modern applications for devices, the cloud and on the client. Visual Studio 2013 Preview software will be released at Build 2013.

      Visual Studio 2013 will incorporate a wave of new hybrid Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) features, many of which were released today through Team Foundation Service, that help development teams be more productive, improve collaboration through agile development practices, ensure the creation of quality, high performing applications, and accelerate delivery times and resolving issues in production through the support of DevOps capabilities.

      Available today, Microsoft also announced updates to its Team Foundation Service with the addition of Agile Portfolio Management, Team Room, Cloud Load Testing, Code Commenting, enhanced Web Test Case Management features and more.

      Additionally as of today MSDN subscribers will have access to new benefits that will enable them to develop and test more easily on Windows Azure. This new benefit includes up to $150 worth of Windows Azure platform services per month at no additional cost for Visual Studio Professional, Premium or Ultimate MSDN subscribers, and use rights to run selected MSDN software in the cloud.


      Somasegar’s blog - Visual Studio 2013, ALM, and DevOps


      In this vein, today marks the start of TechEd North America 2013, and with it I’m excited to announce several key advances related to the modern application lifecycle.

      Visual Studio 2013

      I’m thrilled to share that our next major release, Visual Studio 2013, will be available later this year, with a preview build publicly available at Build 2013 in San Francisco at the end of the month.  In his keynote demo and follow-on foundational session today at TechEd, Brian Harry highlighted some of the new ALM capabilities coming in this release and in the cloud, including new features focused on business agility, quality enablement, and DevOps.  Here are a few of my favorites:

      • Agile portfolio management, which enables you to plan your agile projects “at scale” by showing the hierarchical relationship between work being done in multiple teams across your organization.
      • Cloud-based load testing, a new capability of Team Foundation Service that takes advantage of the elastic scalability of Windows Azure to generate traffic, simulating thousands of simultaneous virtual users so as to help you understand how your web applications and services operate under load.
      • Code information indicators that provide information about unit tests, work items, code references, and more, all directly within the code editor in Visual Studio, increasing developer productivity by enabling project-related contextual information to be viewed and consumed without leaving the editor.
      • A team room integrated into TFS, improving the collaboration amongst team members via a real-time and persistent chat room that integrates with data and interactions elsewhere in TFS.
      • Identity integrated into Visual Studio, such that the IDE is connected to backend services that support, for example, roaming the developer’s settings as the developer moves from installation to installation.
      • Support in TFS for integrated code comments that facilitate code reviews with increased transparency and traceability.
      • A .NET memory dump analyzer, which enables developers to easily explore .NET objects in a memory dump and to compare two memory dumps in pursuit of finding and fixing memory leaks.
      • Git support built into Visual Studio 2013, both on the client and on the server, including in the on-premises Team Foundation Server 2013.



      DevOps is an increasingly important part of application lifecycle management and is a growing area of interest as businesses need to develop and deploy quality applications at a faster pace. We continue to invest in improving the modern application lifecycle, with a particular focus on DevOps.

      As part of this increased focus, today I’m excited to announce Microsoft’s agreement to acquire InCycle’s InRelease Business Unit, a leading release management solution for .NET and Windows Server applications. InCycle’s InRelease product is a continuous delivery solution that automates the release process through all of your environments from TFS through to production, all in one solution, and all integrated with TFS.


      MSDN and Dev/Test on Windows Azure

      The technical improvements we’re making to Visual Studio represent just one facet of the work we’re doing to improve the productivity and success of teams using Microsoft platforms.

      For example, we’ve improved the Windows Azure benefit available as part of eligible MSDN subscriptions; you now have a choice as to how you use your Windows Azure credits for development and test, whether you apply them for Virtual Machines, Web Sites, Cloud Services, Mobile Services, Media Services, HDInsight, or beyond.  The Windows Azure MSDN benefit includes access to virtual machine images preconfigured with MSDN subscription software, such as SQL Server and BizTalk Server, and alternatively supports uploading your own virtual machine with your MSDN software.


      Matt's ALM space - Team Rooms in Team Foundation Service

      So now after the Tech.Ed announcement the Team Rooms are available :)

      They are not just a chit-chat tool for conversations into the team. They are an invaluable tool for collaboration.

      First of all, we can configure it as a broadcast messenger for certain events


      Brian H. Prince's Blog - Stop the presses! Stopped VMs are no longer charged, MSDN benefits improved, and more!

      Wow, some truly exciting announcements were made today. I will summarize them here, but once again, for the nitty-gritty details, please see the original post.

      1- If you stop a VM, you won’t be charged. This is very new. ....

      2- Charged by the minute. ...

      3- MSDN subscribers receive free credits. Up until today MSDN subscribers receive ‘free Azure time’. This was expressed as a grid, with a certain amount of free time, allocated per service. You might get 750 hours of free CPU, and then 1GB of free data, etc. etc. This was very complicated, and we were always tuning the ‘right amount’ of each free resource to make sure that it was useful by the developer.

      Today we are shifting to a free credit per month plan. ...

      4- Additions to the support VPN devices list. VPN devices from F5, Citrix and WatchGuard are now supported for point-to-site networking, in addition to already supported devices from Cisco and Juniper.

      5- New datacenters being developed.


      Brian H. Prince's Blog - But wait! That’s not all! More Azure Awesomeness!

      And the updates and news about Windows Azure keeps rolling in today. We are making tons of announcements at TechEd this week. Here are some more:

      You should read part one of these announcements.

      1. MSDN licenses are now officially allowed to be used in Windows Azure environments (for dev/test).

      2. MSDN subscribers get big discounts on Azure costs. A subscriber can spin up any number of Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and BizTalk Server VMs for Dev/Test scenarios using Windows Azure and pay only 6 cents/hr when running them....

      3. The Azure management portal will now tell you how many MSDN credits you have left for the month, and when it resets.

      4. Web Sites now has SSL support. During the preview, Windows Azure Web Sites could do SSL... 

      5. Updates to Windows Azure Active Directory. ...

      6. Free Trials are now easier! Until now, the free trial was like the MSDN benefits. You received a certain amount of access to each service. That was both complicated, and hard to understand. Now, each trial receives $200 per month of service credit! Yes, $200!


      Totally go sign up for a free trial now, at

      7. We announced the preview of BizTalk Services. ...

      ScottGu's Blog - Windows Azure: Announcing Major Improvements for Dev/Test in the Cloud

      Windows Azure provides a great environment for dev/test.  This is true both for scenarios where you want to dev/test in the cloud and then run the production app in the cloud, as well as for scenarios where you want to dev/test in the cloud and then run the production app using an existing on-premises Windows Server environment.

      Windows Azure’s new IaaS and Virtual Networking capabilities make it really easy to enable enterprise development teams to use the cloud to do this.  Using the cloud for dev/test enables development teams to work in a flexible, agile, way without ever being bottlenecked waiting for resources from the IT department.  Development teams can instead use the cloud in a self-service way to spin up or down resources in minutes.  And then when they are ready to deploy their apps they can choose to do so using their existing on-premises servers.  This makes it really easy to start leveraging the cloud even without having to fully bet on it yet for production scenarios.

      Today we are announcing a number of enhancements to Windows Azure that make it an even better environment in which to do dev/test:

      • No Charge for Stopped VMs
      • Pay by the Minute Billing
      • MSDN Use Rights now supported on Windows Azure
      • Heavily Discounted MSDN Dev/Test Rates
      • MSDN Monetary Credits
      • Portal Support for Better Tracking MSDN Monetary Credit Usage

      Below are details on each of the above improvements.  The combination enables an amazing Dev/Test cloud solution, and an unbeatable offer for all MSDN customers.

      Brent Ozar - (Almost) Everything You Need to Know About SQL Server 2014

      Just when you thought SQL Server couldn’t get better, Microsoft is announcing the features for SQL Server 2014. They haven’t announced the licensing/pricing, but I’ll tell you what I do know so far.

      First, open this in another tab and hit play so you’ve got some background music while you read. Done with the commercial? Okay, let’s get to it:

      Cache frequently used data on SSDs. ...

      More online maintenance operations. Got  ....

      AlwaysOn Availability Groups get more secondaries. If ...

      AlwaysOn AG readable secondaries will be more reliable. In  ....

      Use Azure VMs as AlwaysOn AG replicas. ....

      Failover Cluster Support for Clustered Shared Volumes. ...

      Smart Backup to Azure ...

      On-premise SQL Server with data/log files in Azure storage. ...

      Hekaton: specialized in-memory OLTP tables. ...

      Other cool improvements: ...

      To BizTalk and Beyond! - BizTalk Services is LIVE!

      Windows Azure BizTalk Services (aka BizTalk Services, aka WABS) is now available as a Preview on Windows Azure. I've had the opportunity to work with WABS since the beginning. I'm in awe of how much WABS has improved. For example:

      • The BizTalk Services portal has a much better flow for adding partners and creating EDI agreements.
      • Retrieving tracked data in the BizTalk Services portal is much easier.
      • In the Visual Studio project (specifically BizTalk Services project), creating a Connection in the Bridge design area is easier.
      • Scope of the Loop map operations in a Transform has a much better UI experience.
      • TAP customer feedback directly added to the product, including Refreshing the BizTalk Service instead of doing a full deployment and adding XSLT.


      All About Microsoft - Microsoft finds a new way to deliver a private cloud in a box


      On June 3 at its TechEd conference, Microsoft officials announced a new product called Windows Azure Pack. For all intents and purposes, as cloud expert Roger Jennings said to me via Twitter today, the Azure Pack delivers what Microsoft promised with the Azure Appliance.

      Microsoft's own Web site description of the new Azure Pack basically corroborates this. "The Windows Azure Pack delivers Windows Azure technologies for you to run inside your datacenter, enabling you to offer rich, self-service, multi-tenant services that are consistent with Windows Azure," the introduction notes.

      As Microsoft itself explains in its free, downloadable white paper on Windows Azure Pack (thanks for the link @ehorley), the Windows Azure Pack is a superset of the horribly named "Windows Azure Services for Windows Server" technology, which Microsoft announced back in July 2012, and which it made generally available in January 2013.

      Windows Azure Services for Windows Server is a set of select features that originally debuted as part of Windows Azure which Microsoft made available to its service providers. The core set of technologies in this were hosted Linux and Windows Server virtual machines; support for high-density Web sites (the complement of Windows Azure Web Sites, codenamed "Antares"); Service Management Portal; and a Service Management application programming interface (codenamed Katal).

      The components in the Azure Pack include ...

      That's enough reading for now... (and I think my copy-n-paste fingers are bleeding... ;)

      Friday, April 19, 2013

      "The Essential Binary Repository Management Cheat Sheet" (Think "You've got bin's in my source VCS... No, you've got source in my bin VCS")

      DZone - Binary Repository Management

      The Essential Binary Repository Management Cheat Sheet

      Software development produces both source code and binary artifacts, and both kinds of artifact need to be handled differently. This Refcard assumes basic familiarity with source repository management, and is intended to help you design and configure a binary repository, optimize it for various workflows, and fit it smoothly into your software development lifecycle.

      From the PDF

      ❱ Repository Requirements
      ❱ Repository Design
      ❱ Hosting & Management
      ❱ Security & Maintenance
      ❱ Binary Releases
      ❱ Popular Repository Managers... and More!

      Software development produces two distinct kinds of artifacts: (1) source code, and (2) binary artifacts. This Refcard assumes basic familiarity with source repository management, and is intended to help you design and configure a binary repository, optimize it for various workflows, and fit it smoothly into your software development lifecycle.



      I liked the broad, cross platform nature of this refcard.  While for .Net Dev's, Nuget is pretty much the real go to for this, what I thought interesting was that two of the three products mentioned at the end provide Nuget support i.e. Nuget is as much an api as is a repository. Remember, you don't have to use if you don't want too. Nuget makes it very very easy to use other repositories...

      Friday, April 12, 2013

      DevOps & IntelliTrace, better than beer and pizza (well, maybe not THAT good, but...) Here's some ALM Ranger Guidance to show you why...

      Visual Studio ALM + Team Foundation Server Blog - ALM Rangers ship guidance for DevOps bug resolution using IntelliTrace

      We are pleased to announce that we have shipped a new exciting project, focused on IntelliTrace, under the Visual Studio Test Tooling Guidance umbrella.

      This release supplements the Test Tooling Guide with the DevOps end-end scenario, giving you access to ALM end to end labs and guidance that include bug resolution using IntelliTrace.

      The Epics included in the guidance are:
      • As Bill, the ALM Ranger, I would love practical and exciting DevOps & IntelliTrace Posters.
      • As Abu the Build Master, I would like practical guidance on how to to configure my TFS Build server to support IntelliTrace.
      • As Doris, the Developer, I would like practical guidance to resolve a bug in DevOps using IntelliTrace.
      • As Jane, the Infrastructure specialist, I would like practical guidance to implement IntelliTrace in DevOps.
      The guidance includes the following artefacts:
      • Cheatsheet - Build Master DevOps and IntelliTrace Checklist
      • Cheatsheet - IntelliTrace Cheat Sheet
      • Cheatsheet - Ops view of DevOps and IntelliTrace
      • Hands-on Lab - Build (Symbols Configuration & Build)
      • Hands-on Lab - Dev (Client Side No Symbols Found Resolution)
      • Hands-on Lab - Ops (Collection for WPF Rich Client)
      • Poster - Encountering IntelliTrace technology in DevOps
      • Poster - Resolving bugs in DevOps with the help of IntelliTrace
      • Quick Reference Guide - Developer view of DevOps and IntelliTrace


      The release is all PDF's at this point.


      Here's a snap from many of them. Most, except for the Hands on Labs (HOL) are single pages...







      Related Past Post XRef:
      John shows us how IntelliTrace can be our secret debugging super power
      Mickey Makes IntelliTrace Make Sense
      IntelliTrace & *.itrace files eating your drive space?
      Visual Studio 2010 Licensing White Paper (includes Team Foundation Server, Lab Management and IntelliTrace)
      TechEd 2011 North America TFS v.Next News (Think Dev <-> Stakeholder and Dev <-> Ops edition)
      Four chapters that didn’t make the “"Visual Basic 2010 Unleashed” book are being given to you free...
      The Visual Studio 2010 Lab Management video tour – Six videos, 30 minutes, toward Lab Management guru’ism

      Thursday, April 04, 2013

      Dev'ing for Ops - How to create System Center Extensions with Visual Studio

      TechNet Articles - System Center - Visual Studio Authoring Extensions

      The Visual Studio Authoring Extensions (VSAE) are an add-on for Visual Studio that provide additional functionality to aid with management pack development for System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2, System Center 2012 - Operations Manager, and System Center 2012 - Service Manager.

      The latest version of VSAE is available for download here,

      This article is for sharing useful information on how to use VSAE, how to get the most out of VSAE, and anything else VSAE related.

      Table of Contents


      4. 14 Templates Available

      There are 14 templates available which will cover the majority of your authoring needs! They are:

      • Agent Task (Custom)
      • Agent Task (PowerShell Script)
      • Agent Task (Windows Script)
      • Assembly Resource
      • Discovery
      • Monitor (Aggregate)
      • Monitor (Dependency)
      • Monitor (Unit)
      • Rule (Alert)
      • Rule (Custom)
      • Rule (Event Collection)
      • Rule (Performance Collection)
      • Snippet
      • View (Custom)



      Microsoft Downloads - System Center 2012 Visual Studio Authoring Extensions

      The System Center 2012 Visual Studio Authoring Extensions—VSAE—is an add-in for Visual Studio 2010 Professional provides Lifecycle Management Tools to support Management Pack Authoring.

      Feature Summary

      • VS Projects for Monitoring MPs, System Center 2012 MPs including Operations Manager and Service Manager.
      • MP Item Templates for quick creation of MP Items.
        • XML MP Item Templates (generates MP XML for editing).
        • Template Group Item Templates (Abstract your intent from MP XML).
        • Snippet Templates (generates MP XML from CSV)
      • IntelliSense for MP XML for the following versions:
        • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
        • System Center 2012 Operations Manager
        • System Center 2012 Service Manager
      • Integrates into Visual Studio Project System with *.mpproj.
        • Enables building within VS & MSBuild.
        • Supports custom build tasks (simply edit *.mpproj or *.sln)
        • Build multiple MPs (multiple *.mpproj) in a solution.
        • Integrates into any VS supported Source Control systems.
      • MP Navigation Features
        • Management Pack Browser for browsing MP Items.
        • Go to Definition
        • Find All References
      • ResKit Tools integrated
        • Workflow Simulator
        • Generate Visio Diagram
        • MP Best Practice Analyzer
        • MP Spell Checker
      • MP Cookdown Analyzer

      I love the idea of DevOps, especially when it means I can dev something for my Ops team... :)

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      "DevOps Adoption and Case Studies" Free [reg-ware] PDF

      DZone - DevOps Adoption and Case Studies - Free PDF

      "A new issue of Cutter IT's Journal just arrived, and this one's on DevOps… and it's free. To get "Devops: A Software Revolution in the Making?," you just fill out a simple form with the promo code and you get the PDF for no charge. I'll summarize the articles I read inside:

      Patrick Debois, a DZone MVB and the guy who coined the term "DevOps" is the opening author in this journal volume. He talks about repetition being the key to implementing better processes and he contends that DevOps is not just about the workflow between developer and sysadmin. It's merely a tag for a movement that encourages all sections of an IT organization to collaborate more effectively. Here were the other articles:

      • Why Enterprises Must Adopt Devops to Enable Continuous Delivery
        by Jez Humble and Joanne Molesky

      • Devops at Advance Internet: How We Got in the Door
        by Eric Shamow

      • The Business Case for Devops: A Five-Year Retrospective
        by Lawrence Fitzpatrick and Michael Dillon

      • Next-Generation Process Integration: CMMI and ITIL Do Devops
        by Bill Phifer

      • Devops: So You Say You Want a Revolution?
        by Dominica DeGrandis


      I've always hated the divide between IT/Ops and Dev. Seems almost every organization puts up walls between these groups and seems to almost actively encourage warfare between them. There's always "discussions that we're all on the same team and need to work together" but the talk rarely matches the walk.

      Sure then there's a fire, it seems we all pull together, but after? Not so much. So what do we do, those in the trenches that just make stuff happen? Either make everything a fire or just ignore the "official" guidelines and backdoor everything. Which means we assume all the risk and when something blows up, which it will... well you know. sigh...

      Since I started seeing Devops meme I've kept my fingers crossed (and my hope under control) that maybe there's a change in the wind, that maybe there's brighter future in store. (please... please.. please!)

      Download your complimentary copy of the complete Cutter IT Journal issue -- Devops: A Software Revolution in the Making?

      "Some people get stuck on the word 'devops', thinking that it is just about development and operations working together. Systems thinking advises us to optimize the whole; therefore devops must apply to the whole organization, not only the part between development and operations. We need to break through blockers in our thought process, and devops invites us to challenge traditional organizational barriers. The days of top-down control are over -- devops is a grass-roots movement similar to other horizontal revolutions, such as Facebook. The role of management is changing: no longer just directive, it is taking a more supportive role, unleashing the power of the people on the floor to achieve awesome results. And that is the focus of this issue of Cutter IT Journal, the first installment of a two-part series.


      Here's a snap of the PDF;


      A quote from the Opening Statement;

      "... devops was born. A number of people got together and started a grass-roots movement that set out to remove the traditional boundaries between development and operations. Some consider this picking up where “traditional agile” left off. After all, software doesn’t bring value unless it is deployed in production; otherwise, it’s just inventory. To tackle the problem, devops encourages cross-silo collaboration constantly, not only when things fail.


      Now the question is, how do we execute this change in our organizations (without making ourselves crazy)?