Windows Azure Bootcamp, UK Tech Days

Published on 03 February 2012

Today, I attended the Windows Azure Bootcamp, which was organised by Microsoft and UK Tech Days.  You can find details of this event here.  I was really looking forward to attending this event, as Windows Azure is something that I have been interested in getting into for a while.  I am happy to say that I was not disappointed, it really was a great event!  The event broke down as follows:

  • An overview of Windows Azure
  • Overview of Storage, Web, and Worker Role – followed by a hands on lab
  • Overview of SQL Azure – followed by a hands on lab
  • Overview of App Fab (now known as Service Bus and ACS) – followed by a hands on lab
  • Question and Answer session

I was really impressed with the hands on labs, and the overall structure of the day.  The only thing that I would say is that at some points, the presenters did start to lose the audience, and there was a lot of chatter across the room.  This was rather distracting at times, and made it really difficult to hear and understand what they were trying to say.

With each lab, the sample application slowly built into a complete application, that utilised a Web Role, a Worker Role (using the queue), along with Blob Storage, and a SQL Azure Database.  There are some very complicated situations within Azure, and creating an application like this, meant that you could easily see how each piece fitted together.

I would highly recommend attending a UK Tech Days event to anyone, and if you are interested in other events that are coming up, I would suggest that you take a look here.  I am happy to say that I am attending another event tomorrow.

The Organisers, Presenters, Helpers, and Venue

The people who were involved at this event were Steve Plank, Steve Spencer, Eric Nelson, Paul Lo, Andy Cross, Richard Conway, and etc.venues.  Thanks to everyone involved!

Where to find Azure resources

Following this Windows Azure event, it is clear that there is a growing number of resources for getting started with Windows Azure, and what follows is a list of the links that was provided on the day.  I will certainly be checking some of these out:

  • 6 Weeks of Azure
    • This is a course of training sessions, organised and run by Eric Nelson (@ericnel).  This series has already been running for the last two weeks, but there is still plenty of reasons to join.  I would _highly _recommend that you register and attend the next session which is on Monday
  • London Windows Azure User Group (@lwaug)
    • Founded by Richard Conway and Andy Cross this User Group is dedicated to Windows Azure.  It has recently opened a new chapter in Manchester, and there was also word of them moving up to Scotland as well.  So, I will be keeping an eye open for this.
  • UK Windows Azure Bootcamp Online
    • This is the companion site for the Windows Azure Bootcamp.
  • Steve Plank's Videos
    • A set of videos created by Steve Plank centred on configuring and setting up Windows Azure.
  • Windows Azure Subscription for MSDN Subscribers
    • If you are an MSDN Subscriber, you can get an Azure Subscription for free.
  • Windows Azure Subscription for free
    • If you are not an MSDN Subscriber, you can get an Azure Subscription for free for a limited period. Please note, that although this is free, you will have to provide credit card details during registration, this was a commercial decision on Microsoft's part in order to try to ensure a single registration per person.

Book Recommendations

One of the last questions that I asked before leaving the venue was whether or not there were any recommended books for learning Windows Azure.  The responses from Steve Plank, Steve Spencer, Andy Cross, and Richard Conway were the following:

Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook

Neil Mackenzie

Book Details

Azure in Action

Chris Hay, Brian Prince

Book Details

Programming Windows Azure

****Sriram Krishnan

Book Details

Developing Applications for the Cloud on the Microsoft Windows Azure Platform (Patterns & Practices)

****Book Details

Looking ahead...

So, what happens next?  Now that I have had this introduction to Windows Azure, what am I going to do with it.  The short answer is, I am not sure.  I am very interested in looking into the VM Role within Windows Azure, and how I could make use of that, and having just set up my WordPress Blog to use the Amazon S3 system as a CDN, I think I am going to look into using Azure Storage for it instead.  I will post back if I end up using this.

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