Apache Storm & The Azure Cloud – a Perfect Big Data Solution

Running a Puppet Infrastructure on Top of Microsoft Azure IaaS In today’s article, we would like to take a closer look at Puppet, and how you can use it on the Azure platform. So, first things first: What is Puppet? Puppet is open source software that automates the configuration, provisioning and management of IT infrastructure, both in development and production. Machine configurations are described in terms of a “desired state” using an easy-to-read declarative language. Puppet uses this description to bring systems into the desired state and keep them there. For more information about Puppet see the extensive documentation available on the Puppet Labs website. Did you know that Puppet powers thousands of companies, including Twitter, eBay, Zynga, Bank of America, Google, Disney and Oracle? Impressed? We know we are. Why Puppet? If the names of those company’s aren’t enough to convince you to try Puppet (in case you haven’t done it yet), then maybe this short excerpt from the provocative “convince your boss” email that the PuppetConf 2014 conference organizers provided for prospective attendees will make you think again: Automating IT has become critical to business strategy. For [your company] to stay competitive, we need to continually educate ourselves on the newest IT innovations that boost productivity and keep companies agile. In the film presented at the top of this article, Ross Gardner, Senior Technical Evangelist in Microsoft Open Tech, says this about Puppet: Puppet is very similar to Chef, although it works in slightly different ways. Microsoft Azure Puppet module support The support announced by Microsoft Open Technologies in December last year comes as an Azure module for Puppet published in the Puppet Forge. As a result of this support for the management of key services (such as network configuration and databases) Puppet users today can leverage almost 2800 community-defined configurations found in the Puppet Forge on Microsoft Azure (for comparison, at the time of announcing this support December last year, the number was 1 800). As for the video… David Tesar and Symon Perriman from The Edge team on Channel9 promise that by watching the film you will: Learn how to get started running a Puppet infrastructure on top of Microsoft Azure IaaS and understand the fundamentals of how Puppet works in this demo-heavy interview with Ross Gardler. Tip: The film lasts 23 minutes, but go straight to [04:55] because that’s when Ross Gardler comes in, and the part covering Puppet starts. And here is what the video is about:  [06:13] Demo: Provisioning a Puppet master from the Azure gallery VM image [08:44] Demo: Provisioning a VM with the Puppet agent installed [10:58] Can the agent communicate over the public IP of the cloud service or on an internal Azure vNet as well? [11:55] Demo: Endpoints which need to be configured to communicate with the Puppet Master [12:40] Demo: Logging into the Puppet Master console [13:48] Demo: Configuring a Puppet manifest [17:30] Demo: manually refreshing the Puppet agent after logging into the VM [18:28] Where can people find a number of community created manifests? [20:48] How does the agent know which manifests to apply? [22:08] What does the Puppet Forge module for Azure do and when would you typically use it? Useful Puppet links In case you would like to learn more about Puppet, we recommend these addresses, which are worth visiting: Updates to the Puppet Forge Module for Microsoft Azure Editing Puppet Files in Visual Studio Using Vagrant and Puppet to Manage A Development Environment Building a Development Environment With Vagrant and Puppet What’s next? Well that is also up to you :) On our side – Microsoft Open Technologies will keep developing the project on GitHub, but your contributions to the repo are both needed and very, very welcome. See you there!

Win2D - a Graphics Library for Windows - is Open Source

8 Open Source NoSQL Databases in Azure. Do you know them all?

NoSQL Technologies on Azure

Windows Library for JavaScript: Cross-Platform & Open Source

WordPress on Microsoft Azure – Tips, Tricks & Tests   Did you know that almost a quarter of all sites on the web today run WordPress? That is a fact. Amongst them there are serious, complex, well known portals like for example techcrunch.com, The New York Times Company or Sony Music Entertainment. Another fact that you might not know is that in 2010 Microsoft decided to migrate approximately 30 million Windows Live blogs to WordPress. This wouldn’t have been done unless Wordpress hadn’t been a very good solution for Microsoft’s users. Exactly how good? If you are a WordPress blogger yourself, you probably already know the answer to this question. However, we don’t know this for sure, so here is a quick recap of… …Why WordPress? “Often beginners ask us: Why should I use WordPress?” begins the post pondering just that question. So, if you are a beginner, here is a list of reasons why you might consider Wordpress. The full blog post is available here. So, why WordPress? Becuase it is: more than just a blogging platform, it has evolved to be a content management system (CMS) free, flexible and versatile offering 2600+  themes and 31,000+ plugins, for free open as in open source and maintained by an active and dedicated community easy to use and learn search engine friendly easy to manage safe and secure good at handling different media types. Since WordPress became available in the Azure cloud a few years back, the user experience has constantly been improving. One of the recent changes made has been…  …Making Wordpress more scalable Citing after the Microsoft Openness blog: “In addition to VPN support, Azure Websites introduced a scalable WordPress offering through the application gallery to help enterprises setup robust CMS backed sites.” And Techcrunch adds: “With just a few clicks, this will set up Azure Storage for storing all media assets and give users access to a curated set of WordPress plug-ins that are optimized for performance.” Sunitha Muthukrishna, Program Manager at Azure websites has written quite a few detailed articles on Wordpress and Azure (here you will find a list). A bit off-topic (but not entirely) we would just like to remind you of another piece - a great tutorial by Sunitha - about which we wrote about on our blog: Drupal CMS on Azure Websites: Overview of Best Practices. What might interest you in the context of the recent improvement of scalability, is her post on How to host a Scalable and Optimized WordPress for Azure in minutes, where with the help of many screenshots she will take you through the process. screenshot from Sunitha’s blog post We will stay with Sunitha for a while longer, as she also gives tips on… …10 Ways to speed up your WordPress site on Azure websites Which are: 1. Web site and Database must be in the same data center 2. Do not use FREE MySQL database 3. Optimize your database 4. Compress Images 5. Reduce HTTP requests 6. Diagnose if your theme is slowing down your site 7. Diagnose if any plugin is slowing down your site 8. Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks if you don’t use it 9. Specify Image dimension 10. Caching The full blog post is available here.   We are not done yet, as we would also like to share with you… …an independent dev test about setting up Wordpress in Azure prepared by a Polish PHP developer and WordPress fan. His article Wordpress in Microsoft’s cloud. Does it make sense? – is originally written in Polish, but for your convenience we (as in Microsoft Translator, so please be understanding) translated it into English. Pawel Wawrzyniak alias WP Samurai (author) will take you through the registration process, first steps, up to running a Wordpress site in Azure, all sprinkled with his personal comments and feelings from this process. A real user–to–user experience. Here is a small sample of his reflections: "So this is how I managed to run my first page in the Windows Azure cloud :) Within a few seconds I had an account and WordPress ready to be installed. Awesome :)” You might be also interested in the 15 minute screencast by Microsoft MVP Riwut Libinuko on How to create Multisite Worpress blogging platform in Azure, which we added at the beginning of the blog post. Wordpress, Linux and Azure Pawel also points to one important feature in Azure: its interoperability with other technologies. He notices: “If you have a bit more knowledge and time, you can run the entire virtual machine with Windows or Linux, and install components necessary for our site to run on WordPress (LAMP stack) on it.” This brings us to another interesting piece by Omar Al Zabir in Codeproject.com: “How to setup a rock solid VM on Windows Azure for your WordPress blogs”. In this article Omar will: “..show you how to setup a rock solid Linux instance and configure some useful security and maintenance features: Tune Apache, MySql, PHP to run within an Extra Small VM within the memory limits Secure your server from common brute force attacks Harden a WordPress instance and make it resilient to common failures Optimize your website for maximum client side caching and improve page load time Some handy Linux scripts and cron jobs that can take care of your server most of the time, identifying and fixing common problems and let you have your peace of mind. If you are interested in the details, you can find the full article here.  As we mentioned before, there are many plugins, themes, but also applications created for the sole purpose – to make you save your precious time and make life easier. A few clicks to get WordPress in Azure For example, Brandoo WordPress is an application that is adapted to the Azure cloud and Microsoft database (MS SQL) or Windows Azure (Azure SQL). Here is what the creators say about what problems it solves (Microsoft Translator coming your way again):  “You actually could establish a blog or website based on WordPress in Windows Azure before we came up with our app. However, you had to separately buy an important a component - MySQL database - because it is not a Microsoft solution, which was a barrier in using WordPress in Azure. That is why we created Brandoo WordPress.” The fact that it has been downloaded as of today over 9 100 times shows, shows that users found this solution useful. Multiple WordPress Blogs with Azure Web Sites? Not a problem! John P White, a Microsoft SharePoint MVP in his blog post Using Multiple WordPress Blogs with Azure Web Sites shares his way of doing things: “What I needed was a way to support multiple WordPress instances with one subscription, one database, and a minimum of administrative overhead. Luckily it’s relatively easy. The trick is to use different table names in the MySQL database for each blog. Below is a step by step example of how to do this.” We hope that today we were able to show a bit of Microsoft’s support for this amazing open source project, which WordPress is, developed by a dedicated and creative community. Need we say we are happy to have our share of helping open source projects find their place in today’s world, where openness, transparency and co-operation are changing the face of reality, for the better. 

A Stroll Through Node.js with Visual Studio

Open Source Questions Answered from MVA   It’s serious. As you perhaps might have noticed, the Microsoft and open source relationship is pretty serious and steady by now. There have been quite a few long-term commitments, like for example, did you know that 65 most popular open-source software projects are available for use on Azure today? Also, Microsoft Azure’s frameworks & libraries are developed in agile dev branches on GitHub, and many projects are licensed with Apache 2.0. Don’t forget to check out this site, the home of Azure Open Source, since is a great source of information for Azure OSS cloud developers. Although it gives us much pleasure to recap all the open source projects and initiatives in which we are involved, today we would like to concentrate on a great new piece from Microsoft Virtual Academy. A few days ago MVA published 7 interviews with top open source experts, which invite you to: “Watch these sessions to hear about OSS as a significant part of Microsoft’s offerings, and explore what this means for developers, open source enthusiasts, and perhaps most significantly, for open source neophytes. (…) And hear about managing projects with GitHub, explore the culture of OSS, find out what OSS means for Microsoft Azure, and much more.” What’s cooking? These are the interviews hosted by Richard Campbell, of .NET Rocks! fame:  01 | An Introduction: What’s So Great About OSS? (Ross Gardler) – 19 minutes Ross Gardler, President of the Apache Software Foundation and Senior Technical Evangelist with Microsoft Open Tech, discusses Microsoft’s involvement with open source software and what direction the industry is moving.     02 | Grokking OSS Culture (Phil Haack) – 21 minutes Phil Haack of GitHub talks about the culture of OSS, how projects work, and how to get involved.     03 | Working the Open Source Way (Keith Dahlby) – 27 minutes MVP Keith Dahlby discusses his own projects on GitHub and how to best incorporate your new ideas into existing projects.     04 | Legal Concerns (Cliff Allen) – 32 minutes Cliff Allen, Senior Attorney with Microsoft Law and Corporate Affairs, discusses licensing and potential legal issues with OSS. 05 | The History of ASP.NET and Open Source (Scott Hunter) – 25 minutes Scott Hunter, Principal Program Manager with Microsoft, discusses ASP.NET’s evolution with OSS.     06 | .NET and Open Source (Jay Schmelzer) – 26 minutes Jay Schmelzer, Partner Director with Microsoft, discusses the .NET Foundation.     07 | Microsoft Open Tech (Gianugo Rabellino) – 16 minutes Gianugo Rabellino, Senior Director of Open Source Communities with Microsoft Open Tech, discusses Microsoft and the OSS community.  …and there is more… We don’t mean to spoil you, but yes, if you are hungry to learn, we’ve got more in store for you. In the Microsoft Virtual Academy ebook section, you will find: “From technical overviews to drilldowns on special topics, these free ebooks are available in PDF, EPUB, and/or Mobi for Kindle formats, ready for you to download.” You will find books providing extensive knowledge on: Windows Server Microsoft Azure Windows App Development Microsoft System Server and others. As one internet user commented under one of the posts, which shared information about a new position: “Nice book, hard to believe it’s free. Thanks for sharing”. Well, we hope you enjoy these sources too! - The Openness At CEE team

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Six Things That Are Good To Know When Running Linux On Azure

Social Impact of Big and Open Data