March 2011 Entries
Deploying an RDP enabled Azure Package outside of Visual Studio

This is a lesson that did not come easy but it sure was helpful to discover.  When creating an Azure deployment package as a developer because you will hand-off to a deployment group within IT, pretty much you published your Azure component to generate the package and configuration files.  When deploying to enable RDP, in my conversation with many developers the concern in the end was, I have to do the deployment through Visual Studio to enable those options.  The answer is both Yes and No.

The items that stay the same:

1. You will Deploy the Windows Azure Project. And click on Configure Remote Desktop connections


2. You will configure the Remote Desktop settings.



Here is where it will change …

3. You will get back the initial dialog, and switch from “Deploy your Windows Azure project to Windows Azure” to “Create Service Package Only”, then click OK.


Now, if you want to validate, open the recently created ServiceConfiguration.cscfg.  You will notice the following lines:

<Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.Enabled" value="true" />
      <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.AccountUsername" value="<username>" />
      <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.AccountEncryptedPassword" value="<pretty long key>" />
      <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.AccountExpiration" value="2011-04-30T23:59:59.0000000-04:00" />
      <Setting name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteForwarder.Enabled" value="true" />
      <Certificate name="Microsoft.WindowsAzure.Plugins.RemoteAccess.PasswordEncryption" thumbprint="<thumbprint>" thumbprintAlgorithm="sha1" />

REMEMBER: When creating the Hosted Service, before you deploy:

1) Make sure you have the Management Certificate in place


2) Make sure you have a certificate attached to the Hosted Service.


Posted On Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:26 PM | Comments (0)
Getting the Azure MMC to work on Windows 7 SP1 and SDK 1.4

As I posted earlier on getting the Azure PowerShell CmdLts to install and such on Windows 7, working with the Azure MMC is also another item that requires a tad of a workaround to get it going.

If you attempt to install, you will run into the first roadblock of the OS being a non-supported OS.  The way around that is to find the working installation folder for Azure MMC (normally, C:\WindowsAzureMMC).

Once there, then we need to look for the setup folder, inside the setup folder we will look for Dependencies.xml.

Next, we need to open Dependencies.xml to edit, I would recommend using an editor that understand the layout of XML to make it easier to work with.  Once open, look for the <dependencies> entry, right under you will also find the following:

<os type="Vista;Server" buildNumber="6000;6001;6002;6100;6200;7077;7100;7600">

You will then need to modify to:

<os type="Vista;Server" buildNumber="6000;6001;6002;6100;6200;7077;7100;7600;7601">

Notice that you added “;7601” to the existing string, that will validate against the version that corresponds to Windows 7 SP1.

The other part of this is to update the library support for the mmc to point to the right version of the storage assembly (update in SDK 1.3) so the MMC can communicate with Windows Azure.

To do that, download the mmc.exe.config I am sharing and copy that to your Windows\System32 directory.


Once you have done all the steps listed here, run the StartHere.cmd from the C:\WindowsAzureMMC path.

Posted On Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:10 PM | Comments (0)
Web Platform Installer issues deploying Azure SDK 1.4 on refreshed systems.

Recently I have been doing quite a bit of testing on different means to deploy the Azure SDKs and such. After a very successful couple of systems, I started running into issues last night.

Here is the problem, if I go to the Windows Azure Website, and go to Develop, then click on the SDK and Tools, then Get Tools & SDK, it launches the Web Platform Installer.  All seems well at that point, except it will go through the initial process, will find the SDK files for 1.4, but since the tools for Visual Studio are still 1.3, the location throws back a 404, which causes the Installer to fail. 

NOTE:If you already had SDK 1.3 and the tools in place, it will go through.

The fix is to go directly to the Microsoft Download Center location and download the files.  Here is the link …

Posted On Saturday, March 12, 2011 11:03 PM | Comments (1)
And the fun continues, access to Azure Reporting and Data Sync secured

Got a couple of emails yesterday to enable more fun stuff to try out, test and share.

So, how do I go about getting started with Azure Reporting?

There is a wealth of information and guidance available .



Here is a link to get more information about it


And more information from a dev standpoint.

Again, more to follow …

Posted On Saturday, March 12, 2011 4:27 PM | Comments (0)
The tale of how the PowerShell CmdLets got installed with Azure SDK 1.4

I installed the Azure SDK 1.4 while rebuilding my laptop and ran the installation for the Windows Azure Service Management PowerShell CmdLets.

Kicked off the installation script for the WASM PowerShell CmdLets by locating the path to which WASM PowerShell CmdLets was deployed to.


Double clicked the startHere command. It will then open the WASM installation dialog.


Click Next.


Click Next.


Notice the red x next to the Azure SDK 1.3, the problem is I have SDK 1.4

Here is the workaround, I go back to the location of the deployed WASM sources.


Go into the setup path, then scripts>dependencies>check.


Now, locate the CheckAzureSDK.ps1 file, and right-click, then edit.

This is the content in the ps1 file, it check for the specific version of the Azure SDK, in this case, it is looking for version 1.3.11133.0038.


We need for it to check for version 1.4.20227.1419


Now, save your ps1 file, go back to the open WASM install dialog, and click rescan.


This time it should pass, then click next.


A Command prompt window will appear, click any key.


This completes the installation, click Close.


Posted On Friday, March 11, 2011 9:43 PM | Comments (2)
More goodness: Scrum for Team System Migration Tool from EMC

I have always liked how SfTS works, and the functionality it offers.  In an earlier assessment I wrote of their toolset, the only issue I had encountered was the migration of environment that had been created and worked on for a while in the TFS 2008 world using SfTS 2.0 to the TFS 2010 SfTS 3.0.  There were several elements (Work Items and such) that were not moving correctly.

Anyway, that is now in the past! Congratulations to Crispin Parker and Team for the release of the Migration Tool.

You can see the release information and link to download here …

Posted On Friday, March 11, 2011 12:50 PM | Comments (0)
Installing the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio March 2011 and SDK 1.4

Coming from the joys and new features the SDK 1.3 version gave us back in November/December, we are now again at the doors of another update, Version 1.4

To get it, go to the Windows Azure website, the click on the Develop Menu option.  Once there, Click on the Get Tools & SDK button.

This will start the download to activate the Web Platform Installer, when you review the information on it, you get this.


Click Install. And Accept the EULA.


Installation starts at this point.


And you are finished.


More to come on the changes this addresses.
Posted On Thursday, March 10, 2011 12:38 PM | Comments (0)
TFS Hosting: TFS

In the last month or so I have been able to test and experience first hand the offering from for hosted TFS 2010.

This first part is a description of the setup process for the account itself and getting some additional information on what you will find through the portal on their site.

Not long ago, I posted a little tidbit on hosting TFS.  Through it I also did a shameless plug to my employer, our services and the type of hosting we recommend.  So, wouldn’t me running on be an issue?  Actually? NO.

Ok, enough rambling.  Let’s get some details here.

It is a Software as a Service model.  Through it we get Source Control, Version Control, Work Item Tracking and such.  What about Build?  If your need includes Build Management and such, you may need to look at some other options.  But, still this is a great offering for those that are moving from SourceSafe.  Or organizations who have 3 to 5 developers on staff, and do not foresee getting larger anytime soon.  Can it support more than 5 developers?  Yes, but then we need to get into how are you using TFS.  Do you need more than just Basic?  For example, SharePoint and Reporting Services integration.

The signup process was seamless! Very easy to follow, complete and transition to Visual Studio to start working. An email followed the signup process, it contained details on how to get to the Team Foundation Server Control Panel login.  Once there, here is what I saw after the initial setup process of naming my Team Project Collection:


So, moving on … once I clicked the area to get my server info, I got the following:


Then it was a matter of getting the first user in there:




Then on to connecting Visual Studio to my hosted TFS. Getting the server information, and the user account created I will configure those options in Visual Studio. Using Team Explorer, I am adding a new server configuration.


Once this is provided, click OK, I will be challenged for a username and password, provide them and you will land on the following screen.


Then Click Close. You will now be connected to your server and Team Project Collection. Since this will likely be the first time connecting, you will have no Projects (I already have 2 going).


Click Connect, and you will be back in Team Explorer.


My next post in the topic will be on Creating your First Team Project and uploading a Project Template to the server.

Posted On Thursday, March 10, 2011 4:57 AM | Comments (2)
Applying Service Pack 1 to Team Foundation Server 2010

Disclosure:  I performed the following activities on my Windows 7 SP1 system, Visual Studio 2010 SP1 and a local Basic installation of TFS 2010.

As with any deployment of a service pack into a server environment, take your recommended precautions and be aware of the changes you are putting in.  With that said, make sure you backup your databases, and that you have an exit/rollback strategy in the event of an unexpected situation.

Team Foundation Server 2010 Service Pack 1 corresponds to KB2182621.  The KB article is

The process will be very simple to follow, you will need to execute the mu_team_foundation_server_2010_sp1_x86_x64_651711.exe file.  That will extract files needed and launch the wizard driven Installation.




Once this process completes, you need to validate the changes.

By looking at Team Foundation Server 2010 Administration Console, you should see the reference to the KB number and SP1.



There is also a good reason to validate log locations and records. From the Team Foundation Server 2010 Administration Console.



Or from Windows Explorer, go to the C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Team Foundation\Server Configuration\Logs location and review the logs referenced by the servicing references.

Posted On Tuesday, March 8, 2011 7:33 PM | Comments (0)
A bunch of goodness is being let out the door

Soma was the keynote speaker at TechEd Middle East in Dubai.

And during this, he announced a couple of items being let out the door to now being releases.

First, Visual Studio 2010 SP1.  Available for subscribers on March 8th, and the rest of the world on March 10th.

TFS-Project Integration Feature Pack, Visual Studio Load Test Feature pack and Lightswitch Beta 2 are also part of the releases out and available.

Check Soma’s blog …

Posted On Tuesday, March 8, 2011 12:20 PM | Comments (0)
SQL Server MCM Changes and Readiness Videos

Towards the end of 2010, Microsoft made some changes to the Microsoft Certified Master for SQL Server 2008 program.

The process to certification required to have a 3 week bootcamp/course in Redmond. This has changed now.  It has been mapped to 2 exams.

Get information from Microsoft Learning with regards to the changes, process, resources and pricing for the certification exams.

What has happened here too, is some SQL MCM rotation Instructors and SQL MCMs  have created materials to prep for those exams.  I see this as a huge benefit for individuals who are planning to take on the MCM, but really it is of huge benefit for all individuals who deal with working around SQL Server on a regular basis.

Check the Readiness Videos as a great starting point

Posted On Sunday, March 6, 2011 8:43 AM | Comments (0)
Update: TFS Power Tools March 2011

There is an update available for the TFS Power Tools and the TFS Build Power Tools.

Among the updates to the Tools:

  • Changes to the Team Foundation Server Backups Add-In for TFS Admin Console.
  • Added functionality to the Windows Shell Extension.
  • Changes to the tfpt command line tool that allows you to script build management commands.

For a full detail of the changes, read Brian Harry’s post

To download the Power Tools:

Team Foundation Server Power Tools

Team Foundation Server Build Extensions Power Tool

Posted On Sunday, March 6, 2011 8:26 AM | Comments (0)
Update: Windows Azure Training Kit February 2011

An updated version of the Windows Azure Training Kit has been posted.
There is an online version of the Training Kit here …

And the offline kit …

Posted On Sunday, March 6, 2011 8:03 AM | Comments (0)
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