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A Simple Content Enrichment Service

By: Chris Hettinger

Welcome to part ten of our blog series based on our latest Plural Sight course: Applied Azure. Previously, we’ve discussed Mobile Services, Big Compute, Azure Web SitesAzure Worker RolesIdentity and Access with Azure Active DirectoryAzure Service Bus and MongoDBHIPPA Compliant Apps in Azure and Offloading SharePoint Customizations to Azure and “Big Data” with Windows Azure HDInsight.


A majority of organizations, especially e-commerce and m-commerce shops face the following challenges in support of business-to-business messaging across various platforms. Read More…

Welcome to part nine of the blog series based on Vishwas Lele’s PluralSight course: Applied Azure. Previously, we’ve discussed Big Compute, Azure Web SitesAzure Worker RolesIdentity and Access with Azure Active DirectoryAzure Service Bus and MongoDBHIPPA Compliant Apps in Azure and Offloading SharePoint Customizations to Azure and “Big Data” with Windows Azure HDInsight.


Windows Azure Mobile Services is a powerful building block in the Windows Azure platform. It brings together a set of services that enables you to create a versatile backend API very quickly. Moreover, it is supported by all major platforms such as Windows 8, Windows Phone, Android, iOS and HTML5. Read More…

Satya Nadella introduces Azure Government Cloud General Availability

photo (7)Today, AIS participated in the Microsoft One Government Cloud event and Expo introducing the General Availability (GA) of Azure Government Cloud at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.  Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, participated in a fireside chat and shared his vision for the industry and discussed how government organizations can thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

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Welcome to part eight of the blog series based on Vishwas Lele’s PluralSight course: Applied Azure. Previously, we’ve discussed Azure Web Sites, Azure Worker Roles, Identity and Access with Azure Active Directory, Azure Service Bus and MongoDB, HIPPA Compliant Apps in Azure and Offloading SharePoint Customizations to Azure and “Big Data” with Windows Azure HDInsight.


Big Compute refers to running large scale applications which utilize large amounts of CPU and/or memory resources. These resources are provided by using a cluster of computers and the applications are distributed across the cluster. The key concept is to distribute the application to run on multiple machines so as to execute computations simultaneously in parallel. Problems in the financial, scientific and engineering fields often require computations which would take several days or longer if executed on a single computer. Big Compute solutions significantly reduce the solution time dramatically from days to hours or less, depending on how many machines are added to the compute cluster. Big Compute differs subtly from “Big Data” in that the latter is more about using disk capacity and IO performance of a cluster of computers in order to analyze large volumes of data, whereas Big Compute is primarily about utilizing CPU power in a cluster to perform computations. In order to harness the resources of multiple machines, a Big Compute solution also requires components to handle the configuration and scheduling of the individual component computations – this is usually the role of a ‘head node’ in the compute cluster. Microsoft’s HPC (High Performance Computing) platform is a key aspect of their Big Compute offerings. HPC provides all the components necessary to configure, schedule and execute computations in a distributed cluster. Microsoft’s HPC solution is supported in on-premises environments as well as in the Azure cloud, both in an IaaS configuration as well as via an Azure HPC scheduler. Since the publishing of the Pluralsight course, there have been continued developments from Microsoft on the Big Compute offerings in Azure, in particular the new Azure Batch offering which is currently in preview mode. Read More…

Part 2: Load testing the RPC-based integration style

In Part 1 of this series I created a fictitious distributed enterprise system that allowed an inventory application to communicate with a purchasing application through an RPC integration style. In this post, I am going to give this distributed system a stress test, see how it fails and examine the consequences and severity of such a failure. In part 3 and 4 of the series I’ll take a different integration approach and update the system to integrate using a messaging style over the RabbitMQ messaging technology.

The test environment

As a reminder, this is how my distributed system is deployed:

Deployment Diagram

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Dynamics_crm_logoRecently, I worked on a project that required me to programmatically set up Field Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. Field Security allows you to designate selected fields (of selected entities) to be “secure” – which means only a certain group of users can have access to it. This access is made up of three operations: read, update, and create, each of which can be granted separately. MSDN does a pretty good job giving an overview of how it works:   Read More…

Event: Road to the Cloud


The software industry is changing.

Many companies that have historically bought packaged software solutions are evaluating software as a service (SaaS) and cloud-backed software solutions to replace their legacy software.

This new cloud market presents tremendous opportunity for established software vendors. Capturing that opportunity brings not just technical changes, but fundamental shifts to your company’s business model.

Network, learn and share.

Join this event to learn from your peers in the industry that have leveraged the benefits of the cloud to build a successful business. You’ll hear from owners and leaders of successful software businesses about best practices and lessons learned, and gain insight about the cloud opportunity for a software business.  Read More…

visualstudio-wallpaper-05At one point I was coding on a hobby project, using Visual Studio Online for project management and source control. Because of the technologies involved, a large number of temporary files were being generated that I didn’t want checked in. Visual Studio’s TFS integration is pretty good at automatically filtering these kinds of files out and placing them in the Excluded Changes list in the Pending Changes window, but in my case the sheer number made it a pain to scan the Excluded Changes list for valid changes that I actually wanted to commit.

In my case, I didn’t want those temporary files to show up at all – not even in the Excluded Changes list. In order to gain control over which files TFS should ignore completely, I added .tfignore files to my solution. These allow you to specify which files, extensions and directories to ignore (or un-ignore!) from source control. If you’re familiar with the concept of .gitignore files in GIT, you should feel right at home.

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windows_Azure_logo12Microsoft has opened their two newest Azure regions on 27 October 2014 in Australia as detailed in their press release at New Microsoft Azure Geo opens for business in Australia. With two new regions on-line, Microsoft brings their total number of Azure data centres to 19 worldwide. The two new locations are located in New South Wales and Victoria and bring with the full Azure feature set including Compute, Geo-redundant Storage, and Data Services.  Read More…

Part 1: Creating a distributed system

I have recently been delving into the exciting world of distributed systems. From an architectural standpoint, distributed systems demand a different design approach than that of regular centralized applications. From a development standpoint, they provide a host of new and fun toys to play with. I have spent the last few months investigating some of the architectural styles and patterns associated with distributed systems. I have also been playing with some of the technologies used to implement these styles and patterns.  Read More…