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I’ve been doing a lot of work with Windows Azure Mobile Services (WAMS).  It’s a brilliant technology that allows you to stand up powerful OData compliant services to support your Windows 8 Store Apps, Windows Phone 8 Apps, and even iOS apps in just a few minutes.  It’s hard to oversell the sheer awesomeness of this stuff. I’m currently working on a bunch of code that will shortly become a sample project highlighting both WAMS and Windows 8 Apps (look for a project called “FamilyPig” coming soon).  In the process of building that, I ran into a couple of questions – one of which I’ll cover here, and give some guidance to people who might be running into a similar question. One of the cool features that makes WAMS super easy to work with is the concept of “dynamic schema”.  In a nutshell, that means that if you have an existing table, and you throw a Plain Old CLR Obj... (more)

Microsoft Blue over Windows 8, Retooling Underway

Roughly six months after Windows 8 came out at the end of October, Microsoft Tuesday confirmed reports that it's been tinkering with the operating system to make it more popular. The radical redesign is supposed to have confused the buying public and created enough of a learning curve that IDC blamed the widgetry for the historic 14% drop in PC sales last quarter. As a result, Microsoft has been making changes in an upgrade called Windows Blue. Trying to deflect more negative perceptions, Tami Reller, co-captain of Microsoft's Windows unit, told the press, "Frankly we...didn't get everything we dreamed of done in the first release." She also claimed that Microsoft knew it might have to make immediate adjustments since Windows 8 was so different from the traditional Windows. Denying IDC's brutal conclusion, Reller said that Microsoft has sold 100 million copies of ... (more)

Henry Ford & Bezos’s Law Signal It's Time to Ditch the Datacenter [#Cloud]

Editor's note:  An abridged version of this post ran last week on the Gigaom blog. With an ear to the ground and an eye on the sky, Gigaom's Barb Darrow chronicles the competitive factors shaping the bumpy journey that is cloud computing among the superpowers (AWS in fight of its life as customers like Dropbox ponder hybrid clouds and Google pricing). Wherever you stand on the debate over which cloud giant will reign supreme, it's clear the economic forces shaping the market are evolving quickly. Now comes new cloud computing data based on Total Cost of Infrastructure (TCOI) proving cloud providers are innovating and reducing costs in areas beyond hardware. The result is a more compelling case for cloud as a far cheaper platform than a build-your-own datacenter. Further, the economic gap advantage favoring the cloud provider platform will widen over time. In many w... (more)

31 Days of our Favorite Things: Windows Server 2012 and the RSATs (Part 24 of 31)

RSAT stands for Remote Server Administration Tools.  This is the toolset that IT Pros have come to know and love, because it is the toolset that lets them keep sitting at their desks. “You mean, it contributes to the obesity epidemic in America?” Well.. I wouldn’t go that far.  But it certainly doesn’t help.  And that’s not what it was designed for.  How about we agree that when you’re done reading this, you promise to get up, stretch, and take a walk.* What I mean is that it’s the toolset that IT Pros use to manage their servers right from their workstations.  And with the huge (HUGE) improvements in Windows Server 2012, and in particular the Server Manager for fully managing all of your servers from one console, this becomes a very powerful toolset. To describe what the RSAT tools (redundant) do for you, allow me to share with you the text from the download page, ... (more)

Book Review: Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML

This book is the perfect size and the perfect depth for getting up to speed quickly with building Windows 8 Store Applications. The book starts by introducing WinRT. This introduction includes a really nice history of how Microsoft got to where they are now. It starts with a look back at MS-DOS, MS-DOS Executive, the Win32 API, COM, and.NET. The introduction leads us up to NUI (Natural User Interface) and the Windows Store Application Design Principles. The first chapter ends with a look at the Windows 8 tool that are available to developers and designers. They include, Blend for Visual Studio, C++ and XAML, HTML5 and JavaScript, and VB/C# and XAML. I have listed all the chapters below. 1. The New Windows Runtime 2. Getting Started 3. Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) 4. Windows 8 Applications 5. Application Lifecycle 6. Data 7. Tiles and Toasts 8. Giving Your A... (more)

AWS Offers Windows Server 2012

In an exercise in vendor neutrality - well, kinda - it's not exactly altruistic - Amazon Web Services is now offering a bunch of pre-built virtual instances of the Windows Server 2012 operating system, the server version of Windows 8, so Windows users can hew to Microsoft's upgrade roadmap and still adopt Amazon's cloud all at the same time. The addition, which includes SQL Server, was announced this week by Amazon's Windows team leader Tom Rizzo, a recent refugee from Redmond. Amazon already supports Windows Server 2003 R2, 2008 and 2008 R2 but Server 2012 can be used with Amazon's Elastic Beanstalk automatic application provisioning and deployment service as well as EC2. Beanstalk, which is still in beta, is supposed to automatically take care of ASP.NET application provisioning details such as capacity provisioning, load balancing, auto-scaling and application he... (more)

Cloud Pulse: Wherever You Go, There You Are

There are people who take life slowly, accept it on its terms, meditate, read about meditation, and internalize books like "Wherever You Go, There You Are," a bestseller by a guy with a hyphenated name. I'm more of a Malcolm Gladwell fan -- Outliers or his newest book "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants." Maybe I'm just naturally the type that will spend 10,000 hours practicing, sharpening, mastering, thinking about the advantages a startup has over leaders in the market, getting back in the game. I've been in enterprise software for 30 years and the cloud since its formation. A long time ago, I faced the fact that I don't have the basketball gene (although I do coach several boys' sports teams) and I'm pretty sure meditating will not increase my productivity as a start-up CEO. I could be wrong on the meditating part. Recently, I ... (more)

The Cloud – Modernize as You Migrate

Assuming that your organization is well down the road when it comes to adopting the Cloud and in fact, has been utilizing the Cloud for a while, then you are likely a true believer that ultimately all of your applications will be migrated to the Cloud. It is no longer a question of "if" but more a question of "when" and "how."  These days, the majority of test, dev, external websites and mobile apps are already born in the cloud. Applications make businesses run. Businesses have tons of applications ranging from purchased (commercial off the shelf) to homegrown (bespoke) and likely some customized, purchased apps that now look a lot like the homegrown ones. One of the big problems with apps is that once they are built and deployed they rarely get replaced or decommissioned.   Application sprawl and aging application portfolios are among the root causes for much of th... (more)

Massive Windows Server 2003 Services Opportunity Revealed [@AppZero_Inc]

Most people are aware that Windows Server 2003 is coming to the End of Support (EOS) on July 14th 2015.  This means enterprises are more or less forced to stop running applications on the WS2003 Operating System, migrate them to a newer OS or replace them.  EOS dramatically changes the solid "run-your-business operating platform" to one where there will be no security patches, no compliance and escalating costs.  There are few events that open up such large security concerns, throw compliance out the window and have a greater than million dollar price tag all at the same time. In one of the Microsoft sessions at the recent World Wide Partner Conference (WPC), they revealed that there are 22 million machines still running Windows Server 2003. They estimate that 53% of them are physical, likely running on old hardware providing a big hardware refresh opportunity as wel... (more)

Windows 2003 End of Support Poll By @AppZero_Inc | @CloudExpo

2014 State of Readiness for Windows 2003 End of Support: Poll Results Most IT administrators are painfully aware that Windows Server 2003 will reach the end of extended support in July 2015. This is a big deal because Windows Server 2003 has been a monster success since it was released 11 years ago. From 2003 to 2010 this platform was the workhorse for applications deployed at both small businesses and large enterprises.  And, even though Microsoft released a major update with Windows 2008, late in 2008, most enterprises stuck with Windows 2003 until Windows Server 2008 R2 launched on October 22, 2009. The newest Windows Server platform is 2012, R2 and little is publicly known about the number of production instances.  As of the summer of 2014 however, it was widely reported that Microsoft believed there to be 22+ million Windows 2003 Servers still running productio... (more)

12 Steps to NTFS Shared Folders in Windows Server 2012

In the past, managing and sharing NTFS folders could be a real ordeal – there were different tools for managing NTFS permissions vs shared folders and most IT Pros generally used these tools on a server-by-server basis from each server’s console. Server Manager to the rescue! In Windows Server 2012, Server Manager provides a management facelift on top of the disconnected process that we’ve used in the past for sharing folders and setting NTFS permissions.  In addition, Server Manager can easily manage these folders on a local server or any remote servers that you’ve previously added to the Server Manager dashboard. NOTE: For details on using and customizing Server Manager for your servers and network environment, check out this post on that topic. Along with the new SMB 3.0 performance and availability features for shared folders, Server Manager provides a powerful m... (more)