10 Easy Steps to Azure Web Site Custom Domains

If you want to add a custom domain name to an Azure Web Site, you are just a few steps away.  This quick tutorial will show you how to configure both your DNS zone, as well as your Azure Web Site. I did make a few assumptions though…

Assumptions:

  1. You have already registered your custom domain with a registrar, and have a DNS provider.  I usually use GoDaddy for this, but there are numerous other choices. Use whichever one you prefer.
  2. Since I usually use GoDaddy as my DNS provider, I will show the steps specific to their tools.  However, you should be able to complete the exact same steps with your own DNS provider’s administration pages
  3. I assume you already have a valid Windows Azure account, and a web site configured.
  4. All of my domain name references assume a “.com” top level domain.  You can use any top level domain name you wish though (“.net”, “.org”, “.us”, etc.)

Ok. let ‘s get started:

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Business Intelligence Landscape Presentation

I’ll be delivering a “Business Intelligence Landscape” session tonight at the UCSD Extension Continuing Education & Career Showcase.  In talk I’ll go over what people mean when they say “Business Intelligence”, as well as some of the core concepts and common solutions.  We’ll talk about stuff like Extract, Transform and Load (ETL), Data Warehouses, Star Schema, Cubes, Aggregates, MDX, KPIs Reporting Tools, and Data Mining.  But if that weren’t enough we’ll see how the cloud and big data are changing the BI landscape as well.

Feel free to grab a copy of my slides:

Business intelligence landcape

Enjoy.

Determining the Node.js version in Azure Mobile Services

Overview

Windows Azure Mobile Services is effectively a node.js application, and as such is extensible using node.js. Currently this extensibility comes in the form of table scripts, scheduler scripts and custom apis.

As you begin to write these scripts for your azure mobile services, it is helpful to have access not only to the documentation for the Windows Azure Mobile Services Script Reference, but to Node.js itself. Node.js however evolves rapidly as do most other modern frameworks. That means that the documentation you find on the Node.js site may be for a different version of node than is actually running in your Mobile Service.

So that brings up two questions:

  1. How do you Identify the version of Node that is running in your Azure Mobile Service?
  2. How you get docs for that version of the Node API?

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Windows Azure Mobile Services Presentation for San Diego .NET User Group

I’ll be showing off all things good about Windows Azure Mobile Services tonight at the San Diego .NET User Group. Feel free to grab a copy of my slides!

Windows Azure Mobile Services Introduction

Slides (720KB)

Links:

Azure SQL Database “Premium” Preview

Azure SQL Database “Premium” limited preview is now available.  Premium edition databases offer performance advantages over the current Web and Business edition SQL Database offerings by allowing the reservation of a fixed amount of reserve capacity for a database, including it’s built-in secondary replicas.  This ability is ideal for applications with requirements such as:

  • High Peak Load
  • Many Concurrent Requests
  • Predictable Latency

Currently, two “reservation sizes”, P1 & P2, are being offered.  P1 offers better performance predictability than the current Web and Business editions, while P2 roughly doubles the performance of P1.   Premium databases are billed based on their reservation size and storage volume.

Sign up for the preview here:
Windows Azure Preview Features page

More details, including preview pricing are available here:
SQL Database Pricing

Viewing System.Diagnostics.Trace Entries in the Windows Azure Compute Emulator

Windows Azure Cloud Services have some fantastic diagnostics capabilities that leverage those provided by Windows and the .NET Framework.

If you are creating a Web Role, and would like to be able to easily view trace information in the Compute Emulator during debug sessions on the local machine, you may find that the trace entries don’t appear by default. 

To fix the problem, you simply need to add an entry to your web.config inside the web project.

<configuration>
  <system.diagnostics>
    <trace>
      <listeners>

        <add type="Microsoft.ServiceHosting.Tools.DevelopmentFabric.Runtime.DevelopmentFabricTraceListener, Microsoft.ServiceHosting.Tools.DevelopmentFabric.Runtime, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35"
             name="DevFabricListener">
          <filter type="" />
        </add>

      </listeners>
    </trace>
  </system.diagnostics>
</configuration>

Resetting an Azure SQL Server Administrative Credentials

It is easy to forget that an Azure SQL Database exists on an Azure SQL Server. One Azure SQL Server can support multiple Azure SQL Databases.  The biggest benefit to a single Azure SQL Server hosting multiple databases is that you have a single administrative login and set of firewall rules that affect all databases on that server.

This can lead to confusion however if you have had a server in place for some time, and add a new database without remembering the original server credentials or firewall rules. 

To remind yourself of the administrative login for your database, first login to the Azure Management Portal (https://manage.windowsazure.com).  Along the left hand slide, select “SQL DATABASES”.  On the “DATABASES” page, find your new database in the list, and locate the server name from the “SERVER” column (FYI, the real server names have been truncated in the screenshots below for security purposes):

Databases

If you click on the name of the server above, you will be taken to the “DASHBOARD” page for that server. From there, along the right hand side under “quick glance” you can see the “ADMINISTATOR LOGIN” name, and if needed click the link further up on the “Reset Administrator Password” link.

LoginInfo

Once you have a figured out, or if needed reset, the administrator credentials.  You can now log in an create additional logins and user accounts using the CREATE LOGIN and CREATE USER statements…

Azure Store is Easier Than Ever!

Did you know that Windows Azure has it’s own store?  It’s been around for some time as the Windows Azure Marketplace.  Well, today an update to the Windows Azure Management portal allows both store vendors and consumers a much better shopping experience!

When you sign into the Windows Azure Management Portal you will see a new category on the left titled “ADD-ONS”

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To sign-up for a new ADD-ON, click on the “NEW” button at the bottom:

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Then click the “Store” icon:

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Then use the “Choose an Add-On” wizard to complete your selection:

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Once you have added an Add-On to your account, you can manage each by selecting the Add-On on the “ADD-ONS’ page and using the commands along the bottom.  For example, here are the commands for the SendGrid add-on:

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There are numerous add-on including data sets, data services, and application services.  You can add services including:

  • Bing Search API
  • ClearDB MySQL Database
  • MongoLab hosted MongoDB
  • Email services with SendGrid
  • Loqate Verify’s Address Verification
  • Many more…

Give it a try!  Sign into the Windows Azure Management Portal and go shopping!

New Azure Mobile Services SDK to Go With New Features…

If you have been developing apps with Windows Azure Mobile Services, then you know how easy it is to create a set of backend services for your Windows 8 (and, really any REST capable) clients!  Just last week an update was published that adds a number of features including:

  • iOS client SDK
  • New authentication methods (Facebook, Google, Twitter)
  • SendGrid and Twilio support
  • Access to Azure Storage
  • Service Bus
  • West US deployments

To take advantage of these latest features in your projects, you will need to update to the latest version of the SDK (v2.2).  You can download the SDKs (windows, iOS, and more to come) from the github repository (http://aka.ms/wamssdks)

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Windows Azure Mobile Services Demo at Windows 8 Dev Camp LA

I love the Dev Camps we have been running lately because it gives me a great opportunity to show off all the great things we are doing around Windows 8 and Windows Azure.  Case in point, at the Windows 8 Dev Camp in LA today (09/14/2012) I will be presenting on “Windows Azure Mobile Services”.

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Windows Azure Mobile Services” makes it super simple to create a cloud back-end for your Windows 8 WinRT apps.  It provides you a way to manage data, authentication, and push notifications.  Along with that you can scale your services as your app grows in popularity!  Very cool. 

Feel free to grab my demos and slides from today, and if you haven’t gotten a chance to go through the “Windows Azure Mobile Hands-On-Labs”, give them a try!