Infrastructure is Dying: Moving forward in a Cloud World

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This might be hard for some people to hear or accept but infrastructure as we know it is dying. Days of companies managing racks of servers are going the way of the dinosaur. Microsoft, Amazon, Rackspace, and many more are now offering cloud services like Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that are changing the game. Before people try to tar and feature me, be honest with yourself. Is your data REALLY more secure in the closet down the hall or room in the building?  Do you really have the economies of scale that these vendors have? Has your current data center passed the audits necessary to be ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certified or SSAE 16/ISAE 3402 or …

jgardnerInfrastructure is Dying: Moving forward in a Cloud World
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Azure Workloads: Cloud Identity

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I have covered in previous posts, some of the workloads we are seeing customers adopt Windows Azure to handle.  Another of these workloads is Cloud Identity.  Many of our customers are supporting an increasing number of applications that leverage single-sign-on including web services like Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, ADP, and more.  Customers are also looking to multi-factor authentication to add an additional layer of security in their environments.  With these increased business needs comes increased complexity. Windows Azure Active Directory provides the ability to delivery single-sign-on across multiple cloud applications and is tied to the users on premise Active Directory account.  This accessibility does not sacrifice security as Windows Azure Active Directory supports multi-factor authentication. As of publishing of this …

jgardnerAzure Workloads: Cloud Identity

Azure Workloads: Development and Testing

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Customers have increasingly been interested in what the Windows Azure platform has to offer.  With a 3 week release cycle, that conversation can be a moving target.  With over 60 service offerings available as of publishing and sources indicating that number will double by the end of the year, trying to explain it all can been overwhelming.  One of the ways to approach this conversation is to break it down by workloads.  One of those workloads is Development and Testing. One of the first lessons that IT personnel learn is to never make changes to a production system.  The challenge is to maintain not only a production environment but one that you can make changes for development and testing. Windows Azure …

jgardnerAzure Workloads: Development and Testing

Windows Azure, The Cloud, and all that Jazz

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In a previous post, Office 365 for the Enterprise, I reviewed many of the themes that permeated conversations with customers and potential clients regarding Office 365. I have found myself having similar discussions regarding Windows Azure and “The Cloud”. Neither of these surprise me for similar reasons. In an effort to sell things, the good folks down in Marketing decided to run with terms that were vague. This is not entirely their fault, but I end up explaining the concept and the product quite a bit, so I figured that I would set the record straight. The Cloud When I see an ad like the one above, I often end up more confused than I was before I viewing it. In …

jgardnerWindows Azure, The Cloud, and all that Jazz
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Start and Stop Azure VMs with Azure PowerShell

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The production release of Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) has changed the way that I do demos and testing. I am able to quickly spin up VMs and create complex environments like for full System Center deployment demos. With a pay for use cost model I don’t want to leave the demo running all of the time. Creating a PowerShell script to automate the starting and shutting down of these servers was a natural next step. The first step to working with Windows Azure and PowerShell is to make sure that you have the latest version of the Windows Azure PowerShell (Download Link). As of the publishing of this article the last Azure PowerShell update was in June of …

jgardnerStart and Stop Azure VMs with Azure PowerShell

Blog with a new home on Azure

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When I first started my blog, it was on the most popular blogging platform available, WordPress. It was easy to use and highly customizable. That proved to be both a good and bad thing. After a while I had found that I spent less time writing and more time tweeking the site and looking at all of the cool things I could do to my blog. My creative side took over and I was forever making changes I couldn’t help myself. The problem became, I spent more time tinkering than I did writing on my blog. I made a decision that I should make a change to the platform I was using so I could focus on the content of …

jgardnerBlog with a new home on Azure