June 2012 - Posts

The presenter, Augusto Valdez, started by stating something to get everyone in a good mode, as we all know that WP is a very good product but it still lacks in sales. They did their own research  by going to the amazon us website and look for what phones people like. The top 3 are WP and out of the top 9, 7 are.

Windows Phone 8 will release at the same time as Windows 8. The different teams are working together, collaborating and trying to get the same experience on the phone as well as desktop or pad.

So here 8 new features in Windows Phone 8

1. The latest and greatest hardware. it will support dual cores and more. It will support 3 different resolutions, the highest begin 1280X720 16:9. They will continue to support MicroSDs and even expand on that functionality by allowing you to install apps from a MicroSD!

2. IE 10. this will be the same code that runs on Windows 8 so it will have great JavaScript and HTML 5 performance. It will also include anti-phishing since that is a great problem with mobile devices at the moment.

3. Native code support. The same code that runs on Windows 8 will run on the phone. Think about the time this little gem might save you.

4. Full support of NFC (near field communication). Now the words “full support” might mean different things to different people but that is what he said. NFC is to me pure science fiction, which either makes it cool or me seem really old.

5. The most complete wallet. Well if you say so. I won’t hold my breath but if we could make way of all these membership cards and cash I would be a very happy guy. Also, the security will sit in the SIM-card and not in the hardware. That means that the security is portable and you can move your identity between different devices.

6. Nokia map technology. This means a lot of things but mostly it means offline maps. Download all the maps for… lets say Amsterdam, and use them all day without roaming charges.

7. Windows Phone 8 for business

IMG_1619

If you are using Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 there should not be any reason not to use the same apps on all your devices. This is when that shared core comes into play. Now the phone is encryptable and you can treat the phone as any other laptop (nearly) in the business, and push different apps to different phones. Perhaps also enforcing some security and restrictions.

Another important thing is that you can install applications to your phone and not use Marketplace. This is of course important to business users. (That little fact won a guy in the audience an Nokia 900 buy the way!)

8. The start screen

IMG_1620

Once again the shared core comes into play and the extended functionalities of the live tiles on Windows 8 will come to Windows Phone 8. the picture is actually from a prototype phone the presenter used to demo features.

The old version

So what will happen to Windows Phone 7.5? Many already know that you will not be able to upgrade a WP7.7 to WP8. Mr Waldez told us that there will be a WP7.8 that will come close to what WP8 will do but not all the way.

I wonder if Scott Gu can sing? If so he has a lovely basso.

There was very little news to me in this session as I am a frequent attender of the Swedish IMG_1602Azure User Group, however a little repetition might improve my knowledge.

There are a couple of things that still amazes me when it comes to Azure. the first one is the 99.95% monthly SLA. This means that Microsoft guarantees that your servers are up all but about three hours during a 30 day month.

The next thing that amazes me is still the cost of hosting a server. Two small instances (1.6 GHz processor, 1.75 megs of ram, 225 Gb of storage) with 100 Gb of data transfer cost €90 per month from the first month! I can easily tell you the names of a couple of providers that will charge you €600 for the same service.

Also remember this: MSDN Premium and Ultimate comes with Azure! So there is nothing stopping you from giving it a try at least, perhaps time frames but not cost. You only pay for what you use. Start small and scale up or use it heavily in a few hours and the close them. You don’t pay any more.

Virtual private networking is finally here. They talked about it for a while before but now you can have a network within the cloud and the connect to your local network using VPN tunneling. They even provide a way of scripting the Virtual network so that the local network can use VPN to access it (and vice versa).

Since all machines that are running in Windows Azure are VHD you can use VHD that you already have on premise or perhaps other providers.

I stared thinking about something: What can you do locally that you cannot do in Windows Azure? There was no time for questions at the end but perhaps someone can give me a suggestion on twitter.

The next now cool thing is Azure Websites. Something I really wish I had access to back in the day so I could focus on content and not building the actual stuff. Well,  you get 10 free with MSDN. They are very very to deploy using VS 2012. you can also connect them to TFS (Online version as well) and make use of continuous build and deploy.

Welkom in Amsterdam!http://www.iamsterdam.com/

Windows is now big! And when I say big I mean HUGE. They do not only power smaller and smaller devices but larger and larger as well. Some specs for the now Windows Server 2012 (yes they are calling it that so stop calling it Windows Server “8”): You can run 64 nodes in a single cluster, you can use up to 4 TB of memory per server, you can run 4 000 VMs, a single VM can support 1 TB of memory and 64 TB of virtual disk!

Given those figures we are very close to seeing the end of the physical server as the goto solutions for information and transaction heavy solutions such as BizTalk tend to be. All this virtualization also makes it easer to maintain and move around as the specs of the different applications changes. Good news for us.

IMG_1607The most impressive part was the way they got more than 1 million I/Os per second from a single virtual machine. Compare this number to your fairly standard (and fast) SSD drive that has about 8 000. I can safely say that physical servers is no longer they primary way to go. Even SQL server can deliver it’s very near maximum performance in a virtual environment. One Microsoft guy said about 99% of all tasks.

The other things they they focused on was the good capabilities to utilize hybrid cloud. They even provisioned a AMS server using Windows Systems center. They also talked a lot about how to integrated different versions of the cloud and how it can be monitored from the same place, including that AMS server. For us familiar with other cloud providers that focus mainly on IaaS, this is a very good thing because most of the time it simply comes down to maintainability.

In Berlin in 2010 I blogged about the keynote as well, and in that post I “predicted” that we might see a future in which we buy desktops in the cloud for our company and they look and behave just as they normally would. We are not quite there yet in some aspects but in other aspects, Microsoft has surpassed my predictions and also my expectations! We can now run servers in the cloud just as we would run them on prem.

Book.The full title would not fit the headline, but it should really read “(MSTS): Microsoft BizTalk Server 2010 (70-595) Certification Guide – a review”. Not exactly catching, is it, but do not let that fool you. This book is the ticket.

Have you ever thought “I should get certified! Take that exam, and get famous! Or at least a pay-raise and respect from my peers” but then you thought “But I don’t know if I can pass and there is really no way for me to know what to study” so you did not go thru with it?

Stop that! Now you have the best support you could ever get. A study guide for the exam. Before this you had to resort to blog posts like this, and then read more comprehensive books. The latter might not be so bad but you constantly wonder: Is this important for passing the exam? So now you do not have to worry anymore. This is a definite five star product that is a great companion in the pursuit of the coveted title of MCTS.

The book walks you thru everything you need to know in order to pass the exam and then some. I think that even if you do not plan to take the exam, this is a good book to get anyway because it shows so many BizTalk things in such rich detail. After each chapter there is a short section called “Test your knowledge” in which you get to answer a couple of questions in the style of the exam itself.

The structure of the book closely mimics the different sections in the exam so you know that you get the right amount of knowledge and know you are studying the the rights things in order to pass.

  • Configuring a Messaging Architecture
  • Developing BizTalk Artifacts - Creating Schemas and Pipelines
  • Developing BizTalk Artifacts - Creating Maps
  • Developing BizTalk Artifacts - Creating Orchestrations
  • Debugging and Exception Handling
  • Deploying, Tracking, and Administrating a BizTalk Server 2010 Solution
  • Integrating Web Services and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Services
  • Implementing Extended Capabilities

The last couple of chapters are the icing in the cake: the first is a very practical instruction about how to get prepared for the exam, how the exam is structured and so on. The last is a sample certification test! You can actually measure your chance of passing as well as getting feedback about your level of knowledge and what to, perhaps, read up on.

The authors are well versed in the product and have years of experience as developers, architects, Certified Trainers and to some extent as authors.

The only critique I have for this book is that it too focused of explaining how something is done (How to configure a sendport to use the HTTP-adapter) and it does not tell you why you should use the particular adapter, and perhaps discuss pros and cons. I fully realize that this is not the point of the book but I still want that.

The style of the book, that it is so packed full of information, tends to make it a bit tedious to read and you quickly fill up on information. Do not try to cram it all in at once, small chunks and you will be fine.

Go to packpub.com, or Amazon, or perhaps Bokus and buy it and get the title of MCTS, now!


More information about the authors:

Johan Hedberg, @Johed – MVP and MCT

Kent Weare, @wearsy – MVP

Morten la Cour, @mortenlcd -  VTSP for Biztalk, Microsoft Denmark