Day #1 => Cloud Expo & Cloud Bootcamp

Thanks to Larry Carvalho and Krishnan Subramanian for lining me up to speak at the kick off bootcamp keynote and for a PaaS Session at the Cloud Expo Boot Camp. I had a great time and was able to cover some great material with the audience. It was great to hear a number of companies and people diving into PaaS Technology and learning about what this technology can do.

The audience, above all was very open to the idea of openness with technologies that are open. See the theme there? ūüėČ There were a few resounding themes to things people would like to see added to the Open Source PaaS Solutions such as Cloud Foundry, Iron Foundry¬†and Open Shift. Here are a couple of these;

  • People want to have continuous deployment or continuous integration features added to the PaaS Capabilities so that the PaaS doesn’t just deploy code blindly. The two companies that came up that have some capabilities around continuous deployment and integration are AppHarbor and CloudBees. But the stronger ask from the audience was for there to be some type of integration with one of the open offerings like Cloud Foundry or Open Shift. Some discussion also followed around these capabilities being a default “service” within a PaaS or even IaaS offering.
  • The other thing that brought up a lot of questions was the architecture behind the various PaaS Solutions. I walked the audience through a description based on what I wrote up in “Cloud Foundry Architecture – Removing the Operating System Barriers with PaaS Part 4“. It generally tends to fit similar architectures in the PaaS realm and most of the audience liked the idea of how PaaS operations are working.
If you attended either of my talks and want to check out the PaaS Providers that came up during questions and discussions, here’s the one’s I can remember:
  • Tier 3 – Enterprise grade IaaS and PaaS w/ the Web Fabric Product. This company I currently work for, they’re doing a rock solid job with the offering.
  • AppFog – Very application focused and IaaS autonomous, i.e. you can pick AWS, HP Cloud, or Azure with more options to come in the future. I’ve worked with these guys also and they too kick ass!
  • AppHarbor – .NET focused PaaS running atop AWS, provides a free tier and continuous integration and rollback features. I haven’t worked for these guys, but I’ve met everyone on the team and they’re all top notch. Props guys! ūüôā
  • CloudBees – Java focused PaaS with Enterprise focused CI/CD capabilities with Jenkins.
  • Heroku – These are the guys who kicked off the whole PaaS thing a few years ago. They started Ruby on Rails focused but also cover Java and Node.js too.
  • EngineYard – A solid PaaS offering running primarily atop AWS with some IaaS style features available too.
  • Windows Azure – Microsoft’s cloud offering, with a lot of updates around Node.js lately. They’ve traditionally focused on .NET, but lately have put as much or more focus on Node.js. Looks like things are improving in the Azure Camp.

More to come tomorrow with DeployCon at the Cloud Expo.  Until then, cheers.

Deploying ASP.NET MVC 3 Razor Web App to AppHarbor < 4 Minutes

Of all the cloud providers out there, AppHarbor easily provides the smoothest deployment experience for .NET available today. I did this in one shot, including a few mistypes, and still deployed an ASP.NET MVC 3 Web Application to AppHarbor in 3 minutes and 50 seconds.  (Be sure to hit the HD button in the top right corner to get the higher definition video)


Also cross posted on Youtube.

Git Rid of Windows Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) SDKs with .NET + Git + AppHarbor Deployment Revolution

I’ve been wanting to do a quick write up on the state of cloud apps from my perspective. ¬†What’s my perspective? ¬†Well I’m keeping up with ¬†the SDKs from the big players; AWS and Windows Azure. ¬†I’m also working on several cloud applications and providing consulting for some people and companies when approached related to which stack to go with, how to apply their current stacks (such as Ruby on Rails or .NET) in migrating to a cloud service provider. ¬†Cloud services, or really more accurately utility computing has my personal and professional interest. ¬†Above all, I keep trying to stay informed and know what the best path is for anyone that seeks my advice for moving into hosting & working in the SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS Space. ¬†Feel free to contact me in regards to cloud questions: ¬†adronhall at the famous gmail dot com. ¬†ūüôā

Now on to the good tidbits that have been released lately.

The latest Microsoft goodies area available.  For the Windows Azure SDK go check out the Microsoft MSDN Site.

For the latest awesome from AWS (Amazon Web Services) SDK check out the AWS .NET Site.

These two SDKs are great for customers who want to build on the bare bones X platform. ¬†Now whatever language & stack one builds in they are tied to that. ¬†Ruby on Rails, .NET, Java, PHP, or whatever. ¬†But getting tied to the stack is kind of like breathing air, one has to live with what air they have. ¬†You can’t exactly get a refund very easily on that.

The Cloud SDKs though for Azure & AWS provide a certain amount of lock in, in addition to the stack lock in you’re using. ¬†One of the easiest ways to prevent this lock in is to use a general deployment method backed by source control on something like Git or Mercurial. ¬†So far though, .NET has been left out the cold. ¬†There has been almost zero support for pushing .NET via Git or Mercurial into a cloud.


Ruby on Rails however has had support for this since… ¬†well since the idea popped into the minds of the people at Heroku, EngineYard, and the other¬†companies¬†that are pushing this absolutely amazing and powerful technology pairing.

Engine Yard
Engine Yard

Again, for .NET, the problem is it has been left in the dust. ¬†Smoked. ¬†It has left a lot of .NET Developers moving to Ruby on Rails (which isn’t new, this is just one more thing that has pulled more developers away from the .NET stack).


Well, that’s changed a bit. ¬†FINALLY someone has gotten the Git + .NET Pairing in the Cloud put together! ¬†FINALLY you can get a cloud application running in a minute or two, instead of the absolutely inane amount of time it takes on Windows Azure (15+ minutes most of the time). ¬†So who has done something about this?

AppHarbor is the first fully deployable solution for the cloud that allows Git + .NET to get going FAST! ¬†I don’t work for these guys at all, so don’t think I’m shilling for them. ¬†I’m just THAT happy that .NET has been pulled out of the dust bins and the community has this option. ¬†I am flippin’ stoked matter of fact.

Currently, because of pricing and ease of deployment, I’ve been solely using AWS. ¬†I can have a .NET MVC app running in AWS in about 5-10 minutes. ¬†Between that speed of setup and the pricing, I pay 2/3 as much as Azure would be and can deploy much fast with a completely traditional .NET deployment. ¬†No special project type needed, no extra configs, just a straight deployment with full control over the server (i.e. I can RDP in with no problem). ¬†Anyway, the list of reasons I went with AWS over Azure really deserve an entire blog entry unto themselves.


With AppHarbor though I can step into the realm of doing exactly the same thing a Ruby on Rails Developer would do with Heroku or EngineYard. ¬†Fully PaaS Capable with the scalability and features without needing to port or migrate to an entirely new stack! ¬†I’ll probably keep a number of things running on AWS (such as the pending WordPress Websites I am about to push up to AWS), but will absolutely be starting up some applications to run in AppHarbor.

If you’re a .NET Developer and you’ve been wanting, looking for, and frustrated that the .NET Community didn’t have a Git + Cloud Deployment option for .NET, wait no longer. ¬†Give AppHarbor a look ASAP!

Anyway… off to do a little work on my infrastructure project. ¬†Cheers!