Monthly Archives: March 2011

Boston Azure Marketing Write-up

Recently the nice folks at Boston User Groups offered to feature the Boston Azure User Group as a “user group of the month” on their home page. Since we put some real thought into how to describe what we do, I decided it was worth posting here as well. Comments on this post are welcome.



What is the Windows Azure “cloud” platform?

You’ve no doubt been hearing a lot about “the cloud” these days. The cloud is a big topic, with many vendors vying for attention. Not only does Microsoft have many of its own applications running in the cloud – Microsoft also offers a modern, robust platform on which developers and IT Pros can build and deploy cloud applications. This is known as the Windows Azure Platform.

What is the Boston Azure User Group?

The Boston Azure User Group is a community with a common interest: learning about cloud computing, especially focused on the Windows Azure Platform. This community has been holding regular, in-person meetings with talks, discussions, and hands-on sessions since October 2009.

Most meetings include an invited expert speaker or two and usually span multiple Azure-related topics. We also get together sometimes to develop software – what better way to learn about Windows Azure than to write code for a real solution?

What topics do we cover? Anything related to the Windows Azure Platform is fair game – from how it works (Blobs, Queues, Roles, SQL Azure, Service Bus, AppFabric, .NET, Java, PHP, … on and on) – to how real applications use it (which were some of our best talks: from a university research project needing massive scale out to run a simulation, to real businesses running on the platform today) – to announcements, demos, tools, related technologies, and business scenarios.

How do I learn more about the Boston Azure User Group?

We welcome new members – whether you are new to the cloud or new to Windows Azure, want to hear some advanced talks on specific topics, or want to join us for some coding or hackathons – anyone interested in welcome. We also try to reserve a little time at meetings for mingling and everyone is invited to meet up afterwards for a cold beverage at a nearby (walking distance) location.

If you’d like to check us out, visit the user group’s web site – which is itself a Windows Azure application (the source code is on CodePlex).

Please feel free to join our (low volume) mailing list (, follow us on twitter (@bostonazure), or join us for the next meeting (details at

Meetings are held at the Microsoft NERD Center, in Kendall Square, Cambridge. There is a parking garage in the building, free parking nearby, and is only a short walk from the Red Line train stop.

Meetings are free. Pizza is provided. An RSVP is appreciated.

What if I can’t make it to a Boston Azure meeting?

Want to bring a Windows Azure talk to your user group members? Feel free to contact Boston Azure user group leader Bill Wilder (@codingoutloud or to set up a talk for the user group you run, or a user group you think would be interested. Topics are flexible – what is different about your software architecture in the cloud, what’s new in data storage in Azure, introduction to the Cloud and Azure, or others – let’s talk.


Beyond Virtualization – Welcome to the Cloud

Virtualization – of the server, desktop, application, storage, network, and more – was a seriously disruptive force in the previous decade. Virtualization – in concert with cheap & capable commodity hardware, automation galore, ubiquitous connectivity, and some new business models – will give way to Cloud Computing during the coming decade.

Today at the Virtualization Boston Deep Dive Day 2011 event (put on by the Virtualization Group-Boston), I joined forces with the ITProGuru (aka Mr. Dan Stolts) to share some thoughts in a presentation on this megatrend – what’s going on, what it means for data centers, and what today’s IT Pro might expect from a Cloud-dominated future.

The slides are available here:

Cloud Computing Essentials for the IT Pro – Bill Wilder and Dan Stolts – 11-Mar-2011

The following was not a slide all by itself, but could have been – and I think I’ll use it next time for the simplest definition I can think of for understanding SaaS, PaaS, IaaS:

I also posted a twitter-sized definition of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

March 2011 Azure Cloud Events in Boston Area

Are you interested in Cloud Computing generally, or specifically Cloud Computing using the Windows Azure Platform? Listed below are the upcoming Azure-related events in the Boston/Cambridge area which you can attend in person and for FREE.

They are listed in the order in which they will occur.

Know of any more cloud events of interest to the Windows Azure community? Have any more information or corrections on the events listed? Please let us know in the comments.

1. TechNet Events Presents: Transforming IT with Cloud Computing Firestarter

  • when: Tues 22-Mar-2011, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
  • where: Hilton Garden Inn Boston/Waltham, Presidential Ballroom, 420 Totten Pond Rd, Waltham MA 02451
  • wifi: (unknown)
  • food: Provided
  • cost: FREE (registration required)
  • what: The day includes the following sessions:
    • Session 1: Cloud Computing Essentials for IT Pros
    • Session 2: Windows Azure for IT Pros
    • Session 3: Public Cloud: What, Why, and How
    • Session 4: Private Cloud: What, Why, and How
  • More info & Register:

2. Boston Azure User Group meeting with Casual Gaming Theme

  • when: Thu 31-M ar-2011, 6:00 – 8:30 PM
  • where: Hosted at NERD Center
  • wifi: Wireless Internet access will be available
  • food: Pizza and drinks will be provided
  • cost: FREE
  • what: One of the fastest-growing cloud segments, casual gaming spans all age groups and regions of the world. Examine the architecture of one example of a casual gaming cloud app, review the common event logic used, learn how to add in-app purchasing and ways businesses can capitalize on these break-time diversions. Examples are draw from real-world development projects and use Windows Azure as the cloud platform. Jason Milgram is a Windows Azure MVP and the founder and CEO of Linxter, Inc., provider of message-oriented cloud middleware.
  • More info: See Boston Azure cloud user group site for details
  • Register: