Every once in a while something happens in the technology
industry that is pretty cool. OK, let's face it, cool stuff is released all of
the time, that's why we do what we do, right? I find it fascinating to be on
the bleeding edge of things. Unfortunately, like most of you, I work at a
place that doesn't adopt new technologies until they are proven being the only
reasonable thing to do in an enterprise. With that I have to pick and choose
the technologies to which I will devote my after hours time. The latest one
that I have decided to devote time to is Windows Azure. In this article I am
not going to go over any of the more complicated features of Azure. I will
walk through how to download the SDK's and Toolkits you will need and the hoops
that you need to jump through to get some actual cloud space in which to host
your project. I will then show a quick and simple application that can be used
to show how to upload an application to the cloud.
The important thing to remember before you start developing
in Azure is that this is still pre-beta. There are some issues you may run
into. There is a "big" one that needs to be mentioned.
I run Windows 7 as my main OS on my Laptop. I am a Windows
7 fanboy, sue me. However, the risk of using a beta OS and a pre-beta
framework is the potential that the two are not compatible. Well, risk
assessed and confirmed. The two are not compatible on the beta of Windows 7.
When Windows 7 RC 1 is released, I have it on good authority (Thank you Steve
Marx); the compatibility issues will be resolved. To overcome this issue, I
set up a Windows Server 2008 Virtual Machine (Thank you Heroes Happen Here!).
Before you can start developing a project in Azure, there
are a few steps you must take first. Fortunately, most of the things can be
grabbed by going to www.Azure.com
and clicking on the Try It now button.
The first thing that the site lists is to register for the Azure
services. I don't think this should be your first step, but it is something
that we'll get to a little later. However, there are a couple of downloads
that you'll need to grab. You'll need the Windows Azure SDK,
Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft
.NET Services SDK. If you want to include the Live Framework in
your application you'll need to grab the Live
Framework Documentation and Resources.
Install these bits and breath a sigh of relief, you are
about to start your journey into Azure!