Building a Windows Azure Development Environment

Happily, this post has become irrelevant thanks to the New and Improved Microsoft Web Platform Installer (WebPI). That spiffy little kit interrogates your system for the proper dependencies and installs the Microsoft Web Stack, tools, SDKs and the like. To get started, click on the link.

Microsoft updated the Windows Azure Training Kit to June 2012 as well; you’ll find plenty of information therein .. especially labs using the new bits and highlighting the new features of the platform.

The content below is preserved for archive only:

As I’ve been working with some of the best and the brightest the WAISG has to offer, I think it’s time to provide a link to assist others in some Windows Azure 101 (a/k/a “Getting Started”) bits and pieces. In this post, I’ll cover setting up your development environment on a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 system.

  • Make sure you have the current Service Pack for your operating system. The easiest way to do this is to click on the Orb (or Start, in WS2008R2) and type ‘Windows Update’. Windows Update will detect if your system is patched to current levels.
  • Install Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Studio 2010 Express (the free version). Be sure to check Windows Update again after installation (and rebooting) to ensure you have the current Service Pack (SP1) installed.
  • Using the Web Platform Installer, Install the Windows Azure SDK for .NET.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Express installs SQL Express by default, but your development environment may include a full (or development) version of SQL Server. In either case, check Windows Update for a current Service Pack for your version. The SQL Express management UI is a separate download: SQL Express Management Studio Express. If you have full SQL Server, the UI is included. For help running the UI, please see “Using SQL Server Management Studio” on MSDN.
  • Install the Windows Azure Training Kit. This kit is chock-full of information, tutorials and source code. The current version is “January 2012”. As this is updated frequently, I suggest you do the full install (about 500 mb) and install into a separate folder on your hard drive.
  • Get the additional bits you need for the labs. To do this, click on “Prerequisites.htm” in the folder you installed the Windows Azure Training Kit. This will start an application that will interrogate your system and advise any components you need for the labs you want to run.

:: whew ::    Only a few more steps (I promise).In order to use the local emulators:

  • Compute: You MUST run Visual Studio as an administrator (link to a Windows 7 Forum, but works for both W7 and 2008).
  • Storage: Your logged in user MUST be a member of the SQL Server sysadmin group (link to David Browne, who provides a script that does this for a local user .. as long as that local user is an administrator of the local system .. otherwise, contact your IT). This is required as the local user must be able to create databases for storage of Blobs, tables and Queues during development.

With these bits installed, you should be able to conquer any of the labs in the Windows Azure Training Kit with ease .. and speed your way into the Cloud!

I’ll see you there.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

2 Responses to Building a Windows Azure Development Environment

  1. Pingback: Windows Azure Learning Plan: Getting Started « OpsanBlog

  2. Pingback: Windows Azure and Parallel Computing (HPC) « OpsanBlog

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