If you haven’t had a chance to play around with Windows Azure yet, I just stumbled across a ton of learning resources, a Virtual Lab, and a free one month trial (that does not require a credit card:
- Virtual Lab: Windows Azure
- Windows Azure One Month Pass USA
- Windows Azure Developer Portal
Download Microsoft Web Platform Installer
Download Windows Azure Platform Training Kit
Web Seminars: Everything You Need to Know About Azure as a Developer
Web Seminars: PHP and the Windows Azure Platform
About this Lab
In this virtual lab, you will create a fully functional Windows Azure application from scratch. In the process, you will become familiar with several important components of the Windows Azure architecture including Web Roles, Worker Roles, and Windows Azure storage. You will also learn how to integrate a Windows Azure application with Windows Live ID authentication, and you’ll learn how to store relational data in the cloud using SQL Azure.
The first few minutes of the virtual lab are designed to get you up to speed quickly – you’ll install the appropriate development tools and create a new Windows Azure application using Visual Studio 2008. Within 15 minutes, you’ll have a .NET Web application deployed to the cloud using the Windows Azure developer portal.
The remainder of the virtual lab is to explore various facets of Windows Azure and related technologies by building a Web application for a fictional company, Graphic Design Institute. Students of the Institute will be able to log in using Windows Live ID, upload artwork they have completed and publish the artwork so that it is visible to others. From a technical perspective, SQL Azure will be used to store information about the students while Windows Azure storage will contain the actual artwork itself. You will also use Windows Azure queues to enable communication between a Windows Azure Web Role and a Windows Azure Worker Role, in order to enable some background processing in the application.
The recorded video which accompanies this document is designed to walk you through the completion of the entire lab; you should be able to complete the lab using only this document, only the video or the document and video together. The video is approximately two hours long, but you will likely want to pause playback often to absorb the content and explore the code; you should expect to be able to complete the lab within 3-4 hours.