Partner Conference: Windows Server AppFabric

I hope everyone had a great time yesterday during the Microsoft Partner Conference and enjoyed all the sessions you’ve attended and all the opportunities to talk to each other.

As I was giving a presentation on Windows Server AppFabric (not the cloudy one) to the developers. 45 minutes – is too small period of time to cover all the features and usage patterns good enough, so I have tried to bring the main ideas so that you can look after them later.

As a follow up, I’ve decided to put a list of reference materials available on the web so you can read those at your pace in comfort of whatever environment you like Smile

Windows Server AppFabric:

Other things I’ve mentioned during the presentation:

Yesterday, I’ve heard some comments that AppFabric is a complex beast and I must agree that it’s true in some way, but taking the other angle – it takes a lot of concerns regarding persistence, correlation, monitoring (incl. via SCOM) diagnostics, scalability, caching, management, tracking from developers head and makes it almost “out-of-the-box experience”. And from personal experience I know that developers like to talk about implementing business features, but hate even to think about “diagnostics” or “management”.

So, to sum up: consider Windows Server AppFabric as an “application server” that certainly requires attention and effort in understanding, setting up and configuration, but in return in can give a lot of “infrastructure” services like scale-out, persistence, management, monitoring, diagnostics, etc. for your services.

Public cloud for private use?

Initially, I’ve been thinking that cloud services are for businesses and big corporations, but when you see price tags for the service (see more details for Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2 and S3, Google) it becomes obvious that even home user can leverage those.

For some time I was looking for a solution to backup my data on the Windows Home Server. I have a lot of photos and home videos with family or public events and of course I don’t want to loose those in case of any fire, flooding or theft. While typically thieves don’t steal paper photographs, they will do that by stealing the computer inside the house. In case of fire or flooding – both, physical and electronic copies could be destroyed easily. Today, to protect most vital data, I’m trying (yes, that doesn’t happen regularly) to copy the data to the external hard disk and move it to the remote location (office Smile). It works, but not as good as I would like to.

Yesterday, after a little hint, I stumbled upon Cloudberry backup solution for WHS. The interesting thing was that it allows to backup data to the well known clouds: Amazon and Azure.

There are other “backup providers” like KeepVault, which have similar pricing (at the moment I’ve looked at) and backing up to the hard drive that is stored remotely might be more price efficient than using cloud solutions in the long term, but it is obvious that there are interesting use cases for cloud services for private usage.

One obvious benefit that CloudBerry Lab backup solution has over the KeepVault to me – is the ability to choose preffered online storage provider. Amazon and Microsoft seem to be strong players in the cloud market, therefore I think there is a bigger chance that they and their services will live longer.

Update:

Later I have noted that there is a possibility to get a free license if you’re blogger (see FAQ). So, as a result of posting this blog post, I’ve received nice holiday gift – a free Cloudberry backup for WHS license. Big thanks to Cloudberry Lab.

National & Regional discrimination by publishers

When I read the articles like this one: “Are US Publishers Using E-books to Undermine Territorial Rights?” – I can think only of two things:

  • Regional (or even racial) discrimination actively implemented by publishers
  • Unwillingness to change under the pressure of globalization

What kind of underdeveloped person you have to be, to say the following: “If you can prevent a cardholder from buying an American print edition, you can do the same with an e-book.”. You cannot prevent anyone from buying “American” print edition. I can do that easily, just by going to the same amazon.com.

And I pretty much understand what the person has in mind by saying: “It would upset the whole publishing dynamic if one let the digital edition seep into another market.” – we (publishers) would have less to do, less money earned and finally our business can disappear as such.

However there are couple other things that I do see, which is common to all the publishing industry (including movie, etc.):

  • Technically speaking people in different regions are discriminated by not allowing them to acquire the goods on a better price. In many cases you can see that “The rest of the world edition” costs multiple times more than “American edition”. What is it that I’m forced to buy more expensive product? Am I greener than those in “America” or what?
  • On multiple occasions you can see that products (books, movies, etc.) may be available in “American edition”, but not in Lithuanian, Croatian or whatever else “smaller country edition”. Once again, I’m not a native English speaker, but still I enjoy movies and books in English. Is there any problem? Why I’m not allowed to buy those?
  • Everybody wants to get rich, right? So, why not to charge 5 times for the same thing? Remember the DVD’s. Everything is done to claim more money for the same thing (book, movie, etc.). It is like a firm monopoly on charging multiple times for the same thing. And can anyone tell me, why I’m in the “Region 5”? Well, I don’t like to be 5 …

Today, internet and globalization changes many things: from creation, to production, to delivery. I’m buying the books (or e-books) in the markets, where those are cheaper or available. The same applies to movies. It seems that Blu-ray is going to die before birth and at the same time HD content is available online for streaming or even purchase. And again, internet makes these available to anyone on this planet with an internet connection.

Publishers can try to play old games, but those are not appropriate anymore. If people cannot buy something in one place, they will buy it in another – half a world around. If they will not be able to buy for a reasonable price there – they will just download it.

Charles Darwin said once:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

So the publishing industry either will adapt to the situation or will be extinct.

That’s all.

Stuff to read [8]

Posted by / October 1, 2010 / Posted in .Net

Stuff to read [7]

Technically, you can go on further with partitioning, possibly filtered indexes (depending on data volume and stats) and of course – SQL Server Broker could do very nice here as well

Why people assume that everyone in the world should have an iPhone?

Fix available for ASP.Net vulnerability

As you probably know (you should’ve known Smile) there was a vulnerability in ASP.Net discovered that could allow information disclosure. There is already fix to this problem. Read more here:

I would recommend to apply those ASAP, according to your security update installation policy. It is especially important, if you haven’t applied any mitigation (described here) before.

SQL Server 2008 R2 – Cannot connect to WMI provider

Ok, I hate when these things happen and I love that many people are blogging about these issues. Anyway, it stole 15 minutes from my lifetime and … it is just stupid.

Anyway, I got the message that is shown in the Martins blog, which leads to Eric Charran blog. Solution worked just perfectly, just one thing to note: if you’re dealing with 64-bit platform, then the MOF pack will be in "Program Files (x86)…" and not in the 64-bit "Program Files" location.

Operations Manager – installing SCOM 2007 R2 Reporting

While continuing to play with SCOM 2007 R2 on the MOC environment, I moved to install SCOM Reporting Services on the SQL box. I’ve previously configured SSRS itself without any issues – all points were green.

Still, just after specifying SSRS instance, but before setting Data Warehouse (DW) Write Account – wizard was failing, complaining about not being to setup SSL/TLS connection. The problem with that one was that I didn’t had any SSL setup on the web server, which was totally confusing.

Binging the problem around I found one hint – the 443 port. After disabling that one by going to IIS Manager –> Default Site / Properties / Web site tab and clearing the 443 port from binding, everything was OK.

P.S. you shouldn’t grant any more permissions for Network Service account to .Net Framework directory – really bad idea Smile