Monday, December 1, 2008

Getting Started with Azure Services Platform, A Reprise

I was surprised to have a lot of visitors after my last post!  I will be returning to DSL's and Oslo soon, but for right now I'm focusing on Windows Azure, including the Live Services Framework.

I've been quiet the last couple of weeks because I've been busy digging into Azure Services, getting everything installed, going through walkthroughs, and browsing blogs and the forums to see how others are faring.  

I thought I'd post a few hints about a few minor false starts that I've seen that several have run into (including me).

Let's start from the very beginning...

First, make sure that you have all the requisites:

If you will be working with Azure Services, Live Services, and Oslo, you will eventually need all of these.  If you can't or won't install Vista or Server 2008 on your own machine, you can download an evaluation copy of Server 2008 and run it in a virtual machine.

Because IIS 7.0 strives to be secure by default, you will need to explicitly enable both ASP.NET and WCF Http Activation if you haven't already enabled them both.  If you are configuring a new machine or VM, it's easy to forget these.

If you have SQL Server 2005, you will have problems installing the Oslo repository like I did, so save yourself the time and start with the upgrade to SQL Server 2008 first.

A very good place to start

After you've got all of the requirements, then you can use my earlier post for links to most of the Azure SDK's.

This does not include the tools for the Live Services Framework.  You will need to wait until you have a valid Live Services token and then follow Angus Logan's screencast

If you follow his instructions you should be nearly golden.  There is only one small issue.  You won't be able to unzip the Live Services SDK directly to your %Program Files% folder.  This is a protected folder, so you need to unzip the SDK to an unprotected location first and move the files manually.


After you have all the tools installed, there are some good training tools to get you started.

Going through the hands-on labs in the Azure Services Training Kit I ran into a small glitch with WCF when I followed the instructions precisely.  Dominic Green had already worked out what piece didn't work and posted the answer here.

UPDATE:  There is another problem in the SQL Data Services Lab, which you can fix by following the instructions from Ryan Dunn in his post, Fixing the SDS HOL from Azure Training Kit.

As you can see, there is a ton of stuff to go through.  Hopefully with these tips you can get started more quickly without any hiccups.

Later This Week

Later this week I will be attending the Microsoft SOA Launch in New York and the Live Services Jumpstart in San Francisco.  I'm looking forward to learning more details about Azure, Live Services, "Oslo" and "Dublin" but also getting a chance to ask questions directly to Microsoft.   If you're going to be there, send me a note or a tweet and maybe we can chat.

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