It’s 2017 and it’s official: Government agencies want to move to the cloud. But they are often unprepared for the transition, or stuck in the middle of a confusing process. So this week, AIS and Microsoft kicked off the new year with a terrific AzureGov Meetup full of valuable information, training resources and demos on exactly where and how to start a successful government cloud journey.

The full line-up of cloud experts includied David Simsik, Cloud Practice Manager at AcceleraDan Patrick, Chief Cloud Strategist at OpsgilityBrian Harrison, Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft, and AIS’ own Vishwas Lele, who presented a demo of the AIS Service Catalog offering, which is specifically designed to ease cloud adoption for government agencies.

See below for some photos of this (packed!) event and a video of Vishwas’ Service Offering presentation. For future DC AzureGov Meetup dates and details, go here. We hope to see you next time!

(Check out our Cloud Adoption Framework for more on how AIS can take you step-by-step through the Cloud Journey here.)

In our next Azure ‘n’ Action session, we will explore how many companies are leveraging Software as a Service (SaaS) and Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to lower their operational costs.

Did you know that by extending your on-premises Active Directory into Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD), your users can authenticate to Exchange, Lync and SharePoint SaaS by using Windows Azure Active Directory managed accounts, and stop requiring federation back to your on-premises data center by leveraging DirSync with password sync? This allows you to take advantage of Microsoft’s facilities, which provide the redundancy and high availably that you desire, for not only your applications but the underlying authentication infrastructure as well.

Did you know that Windows Azure Active Directory (WAAD) is FREE?  It provides you and your organization secure authentication via Azure for your all your devices, and services for a globally mobile workforce.

Do you want to learn how to securely integrate your Office 365 SaaS environment by extending your information architecture into SharePoint 2013 IaaS? You can quickly and securely leverage Windows Azure AD as your Identity Provider to enhance authentication globally.

Are you ready to see  this in action? Please join us at the next Azure Café we will walk you through the scenario of an Office 365 SharePoint website integrated with an Office 365 Site Collection, and an IaaS-hosted SharePoint 2013 environment — all using Microsoft to provide authentication.

March 19, 2014
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. (EST)

Click here to register!

AIS will be presenting a new series of Azure ‘n’ Action Café webinars in early 2014. We will have expert speakers offering new and exciting content in a convenient “lunch and learn” online format, one Wednesday a month, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST.

Our first presentation date is Wednesday, January 29. You won’t want to miss this session, as we’ll cover both updates to Azure and new ways to extend your data center.

In this session we will share an example Platform as a Service (PaaS) Web Role workload in Azure.  This workload will help you understand how Azure constructs can be used in support of different scenarios.

The workload we’ll discuss makes use of the following Constructs:

  • A private data center extended into multiple Azure Regional Data Centers (East Coast / West Coast) with IPSEC tunnels
  • The on-premises AD / DNS infrastructure extended into Azure IaaS
  • An on-premises SQL Server 2012 Server database supporting a High Availability Group (Synchronous) with a local primary and a remote secondary located in Azure IaaS
  • The PaaS Web Role Load Balanced across data centers using Azure Traffic Manager

Click here to register!

2013 was a great year for AIS — we worked on exciting projects for our terrific clients, built some cool apps and won some cool awards. We were honored with the 2013 Microsoft Mid-Atlantic Cloud Practice Award and are among the first Amazon Web Services partners to earn a “SharePoint on AWS” competency. And throughout the year, we wrote and blogged about our passion for cloud computing, SharePoint, going mobile, and doing “more with less” for our government and commercial clients.

Here’s a round-up of 2013’s most popular posts and series, in case you missed them:

We have big plans for the blog for 2014 — more posts, more events and more compelling content from the entire AIS team. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and check out our Events page for details on our free presentations and webinars.

Happy holidays, and thanks for reading!

If you have found yourself thinking…

“We want the cloud to be a seamless extension of our data center, not a walled garden. We want to use our existing IT setup and tools to manage on-premises and cloud-based applications.”

“We want to seamlessly move virtual machines from on-premises to the cloud and back.”

“We want to move existing applications to the cloud without the need to change the applications in any way.”

…then our upcoming Introduction to Windows Azure IaaS session is for you.

This free half-day session is for anyone who wants to better understand the Windows Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering. After a brief overview of the Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, we will focus on key IaaS concepts. Additionally, we will walk you through a number of scenarios enabled by Azure IaaS and several demonstrations. Learn about the new generally available features including virtual machines (with more size options), virtual networks, new image types (including SQL Server and BizTalk), lower pricing and much more. Read More…

We’re excited to announce that we’ll once again be presenting our popular and informative Introduction to SharePoint 2013 seminar — this time online!

On June 19th at 2:00 p.m. EST, please join us for 90-minute webinar that will highlight the many new and improved features of SharePoint 2013, including:

  • Smarter, more intuitive Search
  • Compelling User Experience, with mobile browser support and productivity enhancements to delight users and drive adoption
  • Enhanced collaboration / social media integration with Social SharePoint
  • Productivity enhancements, from file drag-and-drop for end users, to better tools for developers
  • Robust and decoupled workflow engine (powered by Azure) to address even the most complex business process automation
  • The SharePoint App Store Model, for both public and private application stores, provides a structured way to customize SharePoint.
  • Ability to revitalize and migrate Microsoft Access applications
  • Improved digital dashboard capability through PowerView
  • Cloud integration, including seamless integration with Windows Azure and Office 365
  • Improved e-discovery and matter management via better centralized and aggregated records management
  • And much more, including easy migration tools and lower costs.

The seminar will include a live Q&A with AIS SharePoint experts to address any questions you have about SharePoint and how it can meet the specialized needs of your company or organization.

After more than two years of early adoption research, analysis and technical readiness, we’ve determined that SharePoint 2013 has game-changing functionality as an application development platform. Join us on June 19th to learn how your organization can take advantage of these improvements to develop a new generation of human workflow applications.

Please click here to RSVP for this event.

It was great fun presenting at Windows AzureConf 2013. I would like to thank the entire AzureConf team (Cory Fowler and Brady Gaster in particular) and my fellow speakers for their valuable feedback.

Click here to watch the video recording of my session on channel 9.

You can find recordings to all other sessions (including Scott Guthrie’s keynote) via this link.

Many of you asked me for a copy of the code I used during my session. You can find all my code snippets and slides here. (Of course this is just sample code so please treat it as such!)

Additionally, Pluralsight has graciously offered to make my newly-released Windows Azure IaaS Course for Developers available for FREE beginning Monday, April 29 at 9:00 a.m. MDT, and keep it freely available for 48 hours (ending 9:00 a.m. MDT on Wednesday, May 1). This is a three-hour course that goes in much more detail on the Windows Azure IaaS topics:

Windows Azure IaaS Course for Developers

Please feel free to send me additional questions via my Twitter account. Thanks!

AIS is planning a second presentation of our newest SharePoint 2013 seminar in Reston, VA on May 15th. Last month’s seminar in Chevy Chase was a great, informative morning and we’re pleased to offer it again at a different DC metro area location for a wider audience. (Non-DC readers stay tuned; we plan to take this show on the road to other cities soon!)

After more than two years of early adoption research, analysis and technical readiness, AIS has determined that SharePoint 2013 has game-changing functionality as an application platform. This free half-day session will touch on all the new, compelling features of SharePoint and detail exactly how it can help you do more…with less.

  • Smarter Search
  • Simpler and Mobile-Ready UI
  • SharePoint App Store Model
  • Better Workflow
  • Social SharePoint
  • Easy Migration Tools
  • Lower Costs & more

AIS bloggers and team members Jason Storch and Chris Miller will be presenting and on-hand to answer any questions you have about SharePoint and how it can meet the specialized needs of your company or organization.

For more background, you can read our full SharePoint 2013 blog coverage by clicking here. We also have a short whitepaper available on The Top Reasons Your Business Will Love the New SharePoint. 

Click here to register for this event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Please be our guest at the next Azure ‘n’ Action Café online session on April 10th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. This is a jump-start overview session, including demos and best practices focusing on Windows Azure Virtual Machines: IaaS “On Your Terms.” You will experience how easy it is to bring your own customized virtual machine images — or select from a gallery and retain full control of your images — and maintain them as your business requires. You’ll also be the first to see how to provision a brand-new SharePoint 2013 farm in Azure IaaS.

The Azure ‘n’ Action Café is a series of “lunch and learn” online sessions on a variety of topics related to the Windows Azure Platform. Please register for Windows Azure Virtual Machines: IaaS “On Your Terms” by clicking on the link below and adding the meeting to your calendar from the registration page.

Click here to register to secure your seat at the Café.

Have you taken a look at the new SharePoint yet?

If you’ve spent any time reading our blog, you know by now that SharePoint 2013 introduces extraordinary new features to change the way you work, share, discover, organize and build sites. And now we’ve put together a quick guide highlighting the top features that may inpact your business.

Download The Top Reasons Why Your Business Will Love the New SharePoint now! (No form required,)

The Top Reasons Why Your Business Will Love the New SharePoint guide provides you with an overview of the latest and greatest that comes with SharePoint 2013, including:

  • Smarter Search
  • Simpler and Mobile-Ready UI
  • SharePoint App Store Model
  • Better Workflow
  • Social SharePoint…and more, including easy migration tools and lower costs.

Download your copy today!

And if you’re in the DC area, AIS is hosting an “Introduction to SharePoint 2013” event at the Microsoft office in Chevy Chase, MD on March 20th. Click here to learn more and register.