Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games v1.0

I like it when my work life meets my gaming life and this is one of those moment. The toolkit for social games helps developers take advantage of the scalability of the Windows Azure Platform and includes a sample called Tankster – a HTML5 client connected to Windows Azure. The architecture uses a Web Role, a queue, a Worker Role and heavily relies on blob storage beyond that.

Nathan Totten’s latest blog post, “Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games & Tankster Version 1.0”, announces the release of the latest version of the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games and the Tankster game. This release adds new features, improves the performance and stability of the server APIs, and contains many user interface improvements to the sample game.

With my gaming head on: “Look, green tanks with bug guns. Cool”


With my architect head on: “Look,  a diagram of how it uses storage. Cool”


Taken from this interesting read.

Download the Windows Azure Toolkit for Social Games here.

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Bloggers who write about ISV “Stuff”

Bloggers who write about ISV “stuff”. And if you were wondering what an “ISV” is … well, it means “Independent Software Vendor” and will be the subject of a future post 🙂

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The super-slidy Windows Azure Pricing Calculator

In early 2010 I “complained” about the way we were explaining the Windows Azure Platform on our web site and pointed at a (IMHO) much better way of doing it by one of our competitors.

A lot has changed since early 2010 and we now have some great resources – one of the best being “the super-slidy Windows Azure Pricing Calculator”.

It comes highly recommended

Check out


P.S. and well done to the folks who created it!

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Windows Azure MSDN How To tips in one place…

With thanks to Wriju for doing the work to pull these together.

How to: Build a Windows Azure Application
How to Configure Virtual Machine Sizes
How to Configure Connection Strings
How to Configure Operating System Versions
How to Configure Local Storage Resources
How to Create a Certificate for a Role
How to Create a Remote Desktop Protocol File
How to Define Environment Variables Before a Role Starts
How to Define Input Endpoints for a Role
How to Define Internal Endpoints for a Role
How to Define Startup Tasks for a Role
How to Encrypt a Password
How to Restrict Communication Between Roles
How to Retrieve Role Instance Data
How to Use the RoleEnvironment.Changing Event
How to Use the RoleEnvironment.Changed Event

How to: Use the Windows Azure SDK Tools to Package and Deploy an Application
How to Prepare the Windows Azure Compute Emulator
How to Configure the Compute Emulator to Emulate Windows Azure
How to Package an Application by Using the CSPack Command-Line Tool
How to Run an Application in the Compute Emulator by Using the CSRun Command-Line Tool
How to Initialize the Storage Emulator by Using the DSInit Command-Line Tool
How to Change the Configuration of a Running Service
How to Attach a Debugger to New Role Instances
How to View Trace Information in the Compute Emulator
How to Configure SQL Server for the Storage Emulator

How to: Configure a Web Application
How to Configure a Web Role for Multiple Web Sites
How to Configure the Virtual Directory Location
How to Configure a Windows Azure Port
How to Configure the Site Entry in the Service Definition File
How to Configure IIS Components in Windows Azure
How to Configure a Service to Use a Legacy Web Role

How to: Manage Windows Azure VM Roles
How to Create the Base VHD for a VM Role in Windows Azure
How to Install the Windows Azure Integration Components
How to Enable Windows Azure Connect for a VM Role
How to Develop an Adapter for a VM Role in Windows Azure
How to Prepare the Server Image for Uploading to Windows Azure
How to Upload a VHD to Windows Azure
How to Create and Deploy the VM Role Service Model
How to Use Certificates With a VM Role in Windows Azure
How to Change a Server Image for a VM Role by Using a Differencing VHD
How to Change the Configuration of a VM role
How to Manage the Lifecycle of VM Role Instances in Windows Azure

How to: Administering Windows Azure Hosted Services
How to Setup a Windows Azure Subscription
How to Setup Multiple Administrator Accounts

How to: Deploy a Windows Azure Application
How to Package your Service
How to Deploy a Service
How to Create a Hosted Service
How to Create a Storage Account
How to Configure the Service Topology

How to: Upgrade a Service
How to Perform In-Place Upgrades
How to Swap a Service’s VIPs

How to: Manage Upgrades to the Windows Azure Guest OS
How to Determine the Current Guest OS of your Service
How to Upgrade the Guest OS in the Management Portal
How to Upgrade the Guest OS in the Service Configuration File

How to: Manage Management Certificates
How to Create a Management Certificate
How to Add a Management Certificate to a Windows Azure Subscription

How to: Manage Service Certificates
How to Add a New Certificate to the Certificate Store
How to Associate a Certificate with a Service
How to Update a Certificate in the Certificate Store
How to Configure an HTTPS Endpoint in Windows Azure
How to Control Access to Certificates on a Virtual Machine

How to: Use Storage Services
How to Create a Storage Account
How to Read Configuration Settings for the Storage Client Library and Handle Changed Settings

How to: Configure Windows Azure Connect
How to Activate Windows Azure Roles for Windows Azure Connect
How to Install Local Endpoints with Windows Azure Connect
How to Create and Configure a Group of Endpoints in Windows Azure Connect

How to: Manage CDN on Windows Azure
How to Enable CDN for Windows Azure
How to Map CDN Content to a Custom Domain
How to Remove Content from the CDN
How to Manage Expiration of Blob Content
How to Manage Expiration of Hosted Service Content

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Autoscaling Windows Azure applications coming this autumn

Technically there are lots of way to do this already (including AzureWatch which I blogged on back in June) but it was great to see this week details on what we are working on as part of the new Windows Azure Integration Pack for Enterprise Library (Also check out details of what else may appear in this pack).

Grigori has shared details of the thinking and the scenarios being addressed in a upcoming Autoscaling Application Block.

In brief, the block will pull implement rules that look at data to decide on appropriate actions. Simple 🙂

  • Rules
    • Constraint – min/max, associated with when
    • Reactive – based on a KPI
  • Actions
    • Instance Scaling: varies number of instances
    • Throttling: limit or disable expensive ops when thresholds are hit
    • Notifying: alert rather than act
    • Custom: hooks to add more
  • Triggers (data to react to)
    • Windows Azure Diagnostics tables (e.g. CPU utilization)
    • Windows Azure Storage API (e.g. # unprocessed orders on a queue)
    • Windows Azure Storage Analytics (such as transaction statistics and capacity data)
    • application data store (your custom metric)
    • real-time data sources instrumented in the app (e.g. # active users, # tenants, # documents submitted)

Check out the full post.

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Last couple of spaces for the Windows Azure Discovery Workshop Sep 12th

I just checked and we are down to our last couple of spaces for this workshop.

Check out the full details.

P.S. We will be repeating the workshop monthly but we haven’t yet advertised the dates.

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Hello! Welcome to, the new home of IUpdateable from Eric Nelson

You quite likely just arrived here because I today (August 26th 2011) updated my feedburner feed to point to this new blog. Apologies  for any “problems” this might have caused you in your favoured RSS reader. All should now settle down nicely.

But just in case … please make sure you are subscribing to OR (if you dislike feedburner) then direct to 

As background:

I have moved here after a superb 30 months on . GeeksWithBlogs is great but it doesn’t quite match what I am after in a blogging platform right now where as broadly does.

This will be my second change of platform in 7 years – it was back in July 2004 I created my first technology blog over on (which still acts as a mirror if you need to dig out any of my old posts). At the time I was an Application Architect inside Microsoft UK, I was very focused on early adoption work with SQL Server 2005 and I was looking for a broader way to help developers in the UK. A blog seemed to be a great way of doing this and I used it to share my learnings, thoughts, advice, best finds etc. throughout the beta of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. By 2009 I was following some great bloggers on who spoke highly of it and I decided to request a blog on the site to tie up with a job change inside Microsoft UK. IUpdateable was born. 

Over the next few days I will bring across the best of my posts from the last year or so (Hence expect a lot of posts!) and then once that is done, I will mothball IUpdateable.

Thanks for reading.


Microsoft and Windows Azure–deploying a customer facing application in Six Weeks

I often get asked about how we are using Windows Azure internally and under NDA I can share some of the details – but its great to be able to point publicly at some of the excellent work that has been going on. And they are genuine technical case studies …  hurrah! 🙂

How Microsoft IT Deployed a Customer Facing Application to Windows Azure in Six Weeks
Learn how the Microsoft IT Volume Licensing team gained experience with Windows Azure by focusing on a straightforward, isolated customer-facing application that allowed them to architect and redeploy to Windows Azure in six weeks with immediate cost savings.
Technical Case Study






Architecting and Redeploying a Business Critical Application to Windows Azure
The Microsoft IT Volume Licensing team architected and redeployed a business critical application, with full security review and approval, to Windows Azure. The resulting solution delivers lower cost and improved scalability, performance, and reliability.
IT Pro Webcast | Technical Case Study





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FREE One Day Windows Azure Discovery Workshops for product authors – first is September 12th

In September we will start to deliver monthly workshops on the Windows Azure Platform to help Microsoft partners who are developing software products and services and would like to explore the relevance and opportunities presented by the Windows Azure Platform for Cloud Computing.


The workshops are designed to help partners such as yourself understand what the Windows Azure Platform is, how it is being used today, what resources are available and to drill into the individual technologies such as SQL Azure and Windows Azure. The intention is to ensure you leave with a good understanding of if, why, when and how you would take advantage of this exciting technology plus answers to all (or at least most!) of your questions.

Who should attend:

These workshops are aimed at technical decision makers including CTOs, Technical Directors, senior architects and developers.  Attendees should be from companies who create software products or services used by other organisations. For example Independent Software Vendors.

There are a maximum of 12 spaces per workshop and one space per partner.


This format is designed to encourage discussion and feedback and ensure you get any questions you have about the Windows Azure platform answered. There will be the opportunity for more detailed one to one conversations over lunch and into the afternoon.

Topics covered will include:

  • Understanding Microsoft’s Cloud Computing Strategy
  • Just what is the Windows Azure platform?
  • Exploring why software product authors should be in interested in the Windows Azure Platform
  • Understanding the Windows Azure Platform Pricing Model
  • How partners are using the Windows Azure platform today
  • Getting started building solutions that utilise the Windows Azure Platform
  • Drilling into the key components – Windows Azure, SQL Azure, AppFabric

Registration is 9:30 for a 10am start. There will be lunch at around 1pm after which the formal part of the workshop will finish. The good news is the Microsoft team will remain to continue the discussion in a more informal format.

How to register:

If you are interested in attending, please email with the following:

  • Your Company Name
  • Your Role
  • Why you would like to attend
  • You current knowledge/exposure to Cloud Computing and the Windows Azure Platform

Please note: I am on leave until August 15th at which point I will review submissions and arrange for confirmations to go out.