May 2011 Entries
Backup Tool for SQL Azure

For those that attended TechEd NA 2011 last week in Atlanta it should be no surprise that more and more companies are betting on the Azure platform, whether it is Windows Azure or SQL Azure.  There have been developments, changes and improvements for every aspect of the Windows Azure platform in general.  And with that tools from 3rd parties to enhance or extend the experience.

That is the case when we look at SQL Azure Backup from Redgate.  A way to simplify and sync your SQL Azure data to local SQL Server databases.

Go ahead and check it out here:

Also a good step by step from Grant Fritchey …

Posted On Tuesday, May 24, 2011 11:14 AM | Comments (0)
TechEd NA 2011 Study Hall: The Missing Guide

You have heard, an read about TechEd North America 2011.  If you are at TechEd 2011 then you have received some additional information about sessions, the number of miles between buildings (joking) and really the building layout and room numbers.

Anyway, somehow the room where the Study Hall is, has been labeled Certification Testing Center.  And while there is a Certification Testing Center, that is in room B-316 only.

Now, on to the reason behind the post ... room B-315 is the Study Hall.  This means a room used to Study and Prep for the Certification Exams.  It has MeasureUp and Transcender exams ready for you to use and get ready for the real deal.

Come on over and get ready in a quiet place and there are some of us MCTs hanging out and ready to help out with explaining the Certification Roadmaps and such.

Come on then, visit us at the Study Hall and say hi, prep for your exam ... but do comer over.

Posted On Monday, May 16, 2011 5:28 PM | Comments (1)
The road to getting the MCPD:Windows Azure credential. Exam 70-583 (Intro Material) Part 4 of 4

Let’s focus on Exam 70-583 this time. This exam is PRO: Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications.  This guide itself will be a different approach to preparing for the exam itself.  Instead of just taking the individual topics, let’s review the topic in as much information as we can.  Here is a set of resources to get started.  This is the topic I will be presenting at TechEd North America 2011, so expect more information after 5/18/2011.  Here is the link to the session:

What is involved to plan, design, develop and deploy for the Windows Azure Platform?  There are several areas to consider.  See the graphic below (graphic from MSDN documentation).


Additional Resources:

Resources from msdev.

Most of the information covered here is addressed through the Windows Azure Platform Training Course available on MSDN.

There is a set of learning snacks and a learning plan

Moving Applications to Windows Azure

Also, the Windows Azure Architecture Guide, part 1

Information for some of the topics is found here:

The exam objectives are:

Designing Data Storage Architecture

When we talk about Data Storage for Windows Azure, we need to consider the two sides the story has: Windows Azure Storage and SQL Azure Storage.

Under Windows Azure Storage, we need to consider Blob, Drives, Tables and Queues.  Then SQL Azure is a relational database focused on transaction based activities.
The topics addressed through the exam are as follows:

  • Choose the appropriate data storage model based on technical requirements
  • Design a synchronization strategy
  • Plan a cost-effective data architecture based on business requirements
  • Design a database migration plan from SQL Server to SQL Azure
  • Plan for media storage and accessibility

Optimizing Data Access and Messaging

How we work with the surrounding technologies that will help us access data and exchange information across is essential to a successful story in the Windows Azure Platform.

  • Optimize a data access strategy
  • Design a reliable data access layer to access SQL Azure
  • Design an efficient strategy to avoid data access throttling
  • Design a queue strategy that guarantees idempotency
  • Design communication strategies using queues

Designing the Application Architecture

  • Choose appropriate role types for compute instances
  • Optimize worker roles design for efficient resource usage
  • Identify performance vs. cost trade-offs
  • Choose appropriate ways to respond to Azure Fabric Controller events
  • Develop a plan to migrate existing applications and services

Preparing for Application and Service Deployment

  • Choose and appropriate upgrade strategy
  • Choose the appropriate virtual machine size
  • Plan a deployment for the entire application life cycle
  • Define a resource-efficient environment for application development and testing
  • Choose a naming scheme for resources

Investigating and Analyzing Applications

  • Plan, collect, and interpret diagnostics and instrumentation data
  • Identify SQL Azure performance and storage capacity with dynamic management views
  • Identify and mitigate deployment and runtime issues for Windows Azure

Designing Integrated Solutions

  • Design hybrid solutions
  • Identify and mitigate connectivity issues in hybrid solutions
  • Plan for appropriate access control schemes based on security requirements
Posted On Monday, May 9, 2011 9:50 PM | Comments (0)
Unofficial Prep guide for PRO: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Administrator (70-665) Part 2 of 2


Designing a Topology for Lync Server 2010

Design address book
Design central and branch office topology
Design Mediation topology
Design archiving and Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring topology
Design Edge topology
Design Call Admission Control (CAC)
Calculate bandwidth


Designing a Conferencing and Enterprise Voice Infrastructure

Design a dial plan
Design for voice routing
Define voice policies
Define conference policies
Design for Response Group Services (RGS)
Design for emergency services implementation
Plan for devices


Planning for External Dependencies and Migration

Plan for DNS implementation
Plan for PKI requirements
Plan for Exchange Unified Messaging (UM)
Plan for migration


Planning High Availability and Business Continuity

Plan for high availability
Plan for load balancing
Plan for backup and restore
Plan for disaster recovery
Plan for system monitoring
Plan for site resiliency
Posted On Monday, May 9, 2011 9:03 PM | Comments (0)
Unofficial Prep guide for PRO: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Administrator (70-665) Part 1 of 2

With the recent demand to technologies that allow us to communicate better inside and outside our organization’s walls, comes the need to implement solutions like Microsoft Lync.  Individuals are looking at expanding their skillset and therefore looking at training and certifications.

Here are some resources that will help you prepare for the PRO: Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Administrator (70-665) Exam.  Information for the Links in the Prep Guide come from TechNet Library and the info can be found on the Planning Guide documentation.

Lync Server 2010 PowerShell

Getting Started Guide

Standard Edition Deployment Guide

Enterprise Edition Deployment Guide

Lync Server 2010 AD Guide

Lync Server 2010 Planning Tool and Readme

Lync Server 2010 Best Practices Analyzer

Lync Server 2010 Resource Kit Tools

Lync Server 2010 Planning Guide

Posted On Monday, May 9, 2011 7:54 PM | Comments (0)
Cool Resources: Windows Azure Edition

The very first thing that needs to happen is the need for a Windows Azure account.  Try it free!

The Learning Plan

The Training Kit

The General Toolset

Assessment and Planning Tools

Windows Azure SDK and Tools

Application Development Tools

Deployment and Management Tools

SCOM and Windows Azure

Posted On Sunday, May 8, 2011 9:32 AM | Comments (0)
Cool Resources: SharePoint Edition

One thing that has become clear over the last couple of years is the inclusion of helpful tools and resources in every Administrator’s Toolbox. 

Gary Lapointe created a PowerShell Cheat Sheet (a one pager quick hit)

PowerGUI PowerShell Quick Reference Card for SharePoint.

SharePoint Software Factory 2010

SharePoint 2010 Operations Guides

Marcy Kellar’s Branding and Customization Resources

Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint Power Tools

Silverlight SharePoint Web Parts

CKS – Development Tools Edition – Server

CKS – Development Tools Edition – Foundation

SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard

Posted On Sunday, May 8, 2011 9:11 AM | Comments (0)
The road to getting the MCPD:Windows Azure credential. Exam 70-516 Part 3 of 4

Let’s focus on Exam 70-516 this time. This exam is TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

Additional Resources:

The exam objectives are:

Modeling Data

Map entities and relationships by using the Entity Data Model
Map entities and relationships by using LINQ to SQL
Create and customize entity objects
Connect a POCO model to the Entity Framework
Create the database from the Entity Framework model
Create model-defined functions


Managing Connections and Context

Configure connection strings and providers
Create and manage a data connection
Secure a connection
Manage the DataContext and ObjectContext
Implement eager loading
Cache data
Configure ADO.NET Data Services


Querying Data

Executing a SQL query
Create a LINQ query
Create an Entity SQL (ESQL) query
Handle special data types
Query XML
Query data by using ADO.NET Data Services


Manipulating Data

Create, update, or delete data by using SQL statements
Create, update, or delete data by using DataContext
Create, update, or delete data by using ObjectContext
Manage transactions
Create disconnected objects


Developing and Deploying Reliable Applications

Monitor and collect performance data
Handle exceptions
Protect data
Synchronize data
Deploy ADO.NET components
Posted On Saturday, May 7, 2011 1:35 PM | Comments (0)
The road to getting the MCPD:Windows Azure credential. Exam 70-513 Part 2 of 4

Let’s focus on Exam 70-513 this time.  This exam is TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

Additional Resources:

The exam objectives are:

Creating Services

Create service and operation contracts
Create data contracts
Create message contracts

Implementing generic message handling
Implement RESTful services
Create and configure a routing service
Create and configure a discovery service


Hosting and Configuring Services

Create and configure endpoints
Configure behaviors
Implement self-hosting
Implement web server hosting

Consuming Services

Create a service proxy
Configure client endpoints
Invoke a service
Consume RESTful services
Implement service discovery

Securing Services

Configure secure bindings
Configure message security
Implementing Authentication
Implementing Authorization
Implementing Impersonation
Implementing security auditing

Managing the Service Instance Life Cycle

Manage service instances
Manage sessions
Implement transactions
Manage concurrency
Manage consistency between instances, sessions, transactions, and concurrency

Monitoring and Troubleshooting Distributed Systems

Configure message logging
Configure diagnostics
Debug client-service interactions
Posted On Saturday, May 7, 2011 9:43 AM | Comments (0)
Great Finds: FILESTREAM with SharePoint 2010

This has been an interesting topic to have discussions around planning storage and storage requirements organizations need to consider.

FILESTREAM provides a means to consider storage of unstructured data on the File system (specifically NTFS).  As we know SharePoint lends itself to allow storage of large binary data, considering FILESTREAM gives us an option of using commodity storage for binary form unstructured data.  Again, another way in which SQL Server and SharePoint work together.

The SharePoint Team at Microsoft has done a great job of highlighting the options and explaining the process behind it in a recent post.  See it here.

Posted On Saturday, May 7, 2011 8:13 AM | Comments (0)
The road to getting the MCPD:Windows Azure credential. Part 1 of 4

I have mentioned I will be speaking on a Cram 4 exam session at the upcoming TechEd North America 2011 in Atlanta.  The topic is the prep for exam 70-583: Designing and Developing Windows Azure Applications. This is a PRO Level exam.  There are two other exams needed to get the MCPD Azure credential, those exams are TS level exams.

Those exams are:

EXAM 70-513 TS: Windows Communication Foundation Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

EXAM 70-516 TS: Accessing Data with Microsoft .NET Framework 4

To summarize this introductory post, the exams needed are:

Exam # MS Learning Reference

The next post in the series will be a detailed prep guide for each exam.

The other part of this will be to provide a OneNote Notebook with references and additional links that can help you be successful.

Posted On Friday, May 6, 2011 8:13 PM | Comments (0)
Great Find: Database Maintenance Guidance Document for SharePoint 2010 Products

Over the last couple of weeks I have been discussing with clients and peers the proper way of managing the database side of a SharePoint deployment.

Yesterday, Microsoft released the official version of that guidance.

You can get that here

Posted On Friday, May 6, 2011 8:55 AM | Comments (0)
What do you use for Database Source Control?

I have found myself using more and more of the tools Red Gate software makes.  They have proven (to me) to be effective and to the point.

This time I am talking about SQL Source Control.  Simple to use, simple to add a database to be under Change Control, which really is the goal. Don’t take me wrong, Visual Studio is a great tool, yet it is a developer’s tool.  As a DBA or Database Developer (referring to an individual who codes T-SQL) we want to launch SQL Server Management Studio and be able to control our environment from there.  This is where SQL Source Control shines, it integrates into SSMS.  It allows me to enroll a database into source control, and then check-in and check-out and control my resources.

I am including a step by step of the process I followed.

First you will come to the Welcome Screen and the status on the Database being enrolled.

4-23-2011 6-41-02 PM

The process starts by linking a database to Source Control.  I am connecting mine to TFS, but the fact is it can connect to other environments too.  Also important to note, it works really well with new or existing databases.

For example in my scenario I used AdventureWorksLT.

First, I add it.  Mind you, the first thing I did was created a location within my branching structure in TFS to store the DB Source.

4-23-2011 6-49-28 PM

There are two operating modes, dedicated or shared.  Again will depend on the approach your devs take, one is everyone has a copy or there is a central database everyone works towards.

Once the Link process has started, you will see an object enrollment process.  When it completes you will see a visual indicator stating the DB is now under source control.

4-23-2011 6-49-53 PM

If you do a right click on the database, and select Commit Changes you will get a list of the items that will be added, also as you click on the items on the list there will be a window displaying the changes in T-SQL.

4-23-2011 6-50-50 PM

Click on Commit.

4-23-2011 6-51-01 PM

Once the check-in completes you will notice the blue dots are no longer on the folders, which means all items are synchronized and current.

As I mentioned above, it is a very straight forward process, and a great tool for Change Management to be in effect for you DB environment.

Posted On Monday, May 2, 2011 9:07 PM | Comments (0)
April is gone, May is here

April was maybe the busiest month I have seen.  Projects are closing but many are going strong.  Many lessons came with it.  A deeper and stronger involvement with Windows Azure.  Specially around System Center Operations Manager and Windows Azure. 

Also, that brings me to the next chapter in the Windows Azure adventure.  I will be presenting a Cram 4 Exam session at TechEd North America 2011.  More details to come on this soon.

May, then, looks exciting and with many lessons to learn.  For those going to TechEd 2011 in Atlanta, I hope to see you there.

Posted On Sunday, May 1, 2011 8:30 AM | Comments (0)
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Creative Commons License

Check out my profile!

INETA Community Speakers Program

Follow enriquelima on Twitter
Locations of visitors to this page