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Episode 031 - Talking Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft with Microsoft's Kirk Evans

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[0:01] Andrew: Welcome to the Microsoft Cloud Show Episode 31. In this episode we're going to talk to Kirk Evans with the Microsoft Azure Center of Excellence.

[0:12] (Music)

[0:17] Andrew: Welcome to the Microsoft Cloud Show, the only place to stay up-to-date on everything going on in the Microsoft Cloud world including Windows Azure, Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync and related technologies. Just the information, no marketing, no BS. I'm Andrew Connell.

[0:34] Chris: And I'm Chris Johnson.

[0:35] Andrew: And weíre just two dudes telling you how we see it.

[0:38] Andrew: Hello CJ, how are you doing today?

[0:40] Chris: Good, how are you?

[0:41] Andrew: I am wide awake and alive. Was out very late at a concert last night, but I am now fully powered withóI'm running on Duncan.

[0:51] Chris: Excellent, excellent.

[0:52] Andrew: What you been up to these days?

[0:55] Chris: Well, I had a new version of MyTrips for Windows phone go live last night, which has beenóI don't update the app particularly often, maybe two or three times a year but that one was kind ofóit had been a work in progress for a long time and so it's kind of like a very long needed facelift. So, new look and feel and things like that and finally got it through certification and out to the world. So, no doubt today will be filled up withómy inbox will be filled up with two things, it will be filled up with, "Oh my God! This is the best thing since sliced bread" and "Oh my God! Who moved my cheese? I want my old one back."

[1:39] Andrew: Very nice. So, that means you've cleared the backlog; you can start doing a MyTrips for iOS that I've been begging you for, is that right?

[1:46] Chris: Yeah, strangely enough, our mutual friend Mark Rackley, the JavaScript God, was on Facebook last night asking me when an Android version was coming out and I was like, "Yeah, no." I like using good development tools, not punching myself in the face with a screwdriver.

[2:06] Andrew: Hey, you saw the announcement last week from that Cordova and there could beó

[2:09] Chris: No, no, no. That's HTML and JavaScript, that ain't my bag, baby.

[2:13] Andrew: Okay, all right, whatever.

[2:16] Chris: I don't want to stick a browser in a native frame on a device. I think it's kind of cool, right. I'm sure some people get it but not me.

[2:23] Andrew: Yeah, okay, that sounds good. Well, cool! Congratulations on that release.

[2:27] Chris: Yeah, I think it's good milestone. What about you?

[2:30] Andrew: Been busy, been busy. So, I guess I didóI have two things that I've written and published in the last week one, I guess one bit of news that we had since the last time we had a show was that the Office 365 team hasólet's say it the right way, discontinued the preview program for auto-hosted apps, or the way I'd like to say it is, they're discontinued, they're dead, they're destroyed, they are no more.

[2:58] Chris: I wouldn't quite get that far.

[2:59] Andrew: Well, I just did. I don't have the blue badge, you do.

[3:05] Chris: No, no, I definitely get it, so that that was funny, that news was out of my team at Microsoft, so kind of near and dear to my heart.

[3:15] Andrew: Yeah, I have a blog post that I put out about that points to the blog post that you guys had a guidance paper that you guys published as well on how to convert a project from auto-host to provider-hosted and also some code samples. So, you can go to my blog, check that out I just made short link to it of aconn.me/autohosted. Andó

[3:39] Chris: Yeah, that thing was many surprises and that that was going away.

[3:44] Andrew: Yeah, it's a good thing. At least, we're not stuck in a limbo of a preview program and stuff for perpetuityó

[3:50] Chris: Exactly. Exactly, and we're going to do something else, so stay tune.

[3:55] Andrew: Can you announce anything?

[3:56] Chris: No.

[3:56] Andrew: Oh, okay, I'll try. The other thing that we wantó

[4:01] Chris: But we want to takeóbasically, the bottom-line on that one is we want to take all the good stuff from auto-hosted, remove all of the bad stuff that people didn't like about it but mayóyou know, give developers what they needed.

[4:12] Andrew: Very cool!

[4:13] Chris: That's different way.

[4:14] Andrew: Gotcha! Another thing I did was Iócoupleóabout a month or so ago, I had a talk that I gave, it's a keynote talk at SPTech Con in San Francisco, it was all about where I see as an Office 365, where we're going and how people need to approach it. And, I guess my gist is that I think that there's a lot of baggage and a lot of people that are frustrated or dismissed Office 365 right off the gate, but they needóand a lot of it's because the baggage that they've had and so they need to kind of look at in a different way. So, I just kind of gave some perspective on where we've been, how we got here, where we're going and all that kind of stuff and theyóI took that keynote and wrote an article series out of it that got published over on the IT Unity site. It was published on May 20, and theóI went there put a link to it where you can go see more information about it at aconn.me/o365perspective.

[5:24] Andrew: The other thing that I want to kind of touch on was something that was announced last week at TechEd, but you and I didn't spend a tremendous amount of time talking about it and after-the-fact I realized how big of a deal this is, especially for those people who are SharePoint customers and who are doingówant to build virtual machines running inside of Azure and IaaS, and that's around the reserved IPs. So, that last week Microsoft announced that with Azure, what they could do is you can now have five reserved IPs that you get for free with your account that you can pin to youróto different virtual machines in your environment and so you don't have to have that always on VM anymore to retain a public IP, you can now haveójust if you have three or four, five VMs, you can reserve a public IP that will get pinned to that regardless of the VM that's been stopped or de-allocated.

[6:20] Chris: Yeah, nice.

[6:21] Andrew: So, that's big and if people want more IP, I think you can get an additional IP for $4 a month or something like that.

[6:29] Chris: Gotcha. Yeah, that's going to be super helpful because everybody had to leave these little ultra small VMs kicking around to keep the IPs up.

[6:36] Andrew: Yeah, yeah exactly. So that's me, just been pretty busy the last week, but I will share with you one challenge that I'm having right now, that I amóI don't know, the people listening to podcast you've heard us say that we do this over Skype and we share the videos and we can see each other and I don't know CJ if you can see the flat spot on my head from just beating it on my desk the last few days.

[7:00] Chris: I thought that was a normal occurrence.

[7:03] Andrew: Ha! Thank you, I appreciate that. So get this, so here's my situation. I'm trying to put Azure and 365 together, specifically Azure AD. So, what I have is many years ago I created something called a .NET account that is then a Live account and then a Microsoft account.

[7:23] Chris: Oh, you mean like one of those hailstorm accounts.

[7:27] Andrew: Hailstorm or Hotmail or Live or you name it, right. Outlook.comó

[7:32] Chris: Microsoft ID.

[7:33] Andrew: Yeah, it's a Microsoft account. So, I did that, then couple years later Microsoft came out with this thing called Azure. I'm like, hey, that's cool, let me go create a subscription. It said, use your Microsoft account, so I did that. So, I have a Microsoft account, I had changed the email or the primary log in to it to my personal email okay, which is also like my company email, whatever it is. So, when I log in to manage my Azure stuff, I log in using a Microsoft account, which is my primary email address. And then, a couple years later Microsoft came out this little thing that you might be familiar with called Office 365.

[8:08] Chris: Yeah, I've heard of it.

[8:09] Andrew: So, I create a subscription and I said, hey, I love this thing, let me move all my email over to it. So, I added my domain, added my email address and poof! Now, when I log in to 365, I use my organizational account in Office 365, which happens to have the same user IDó

[8:26] Chris: Yeah, so now you have a Live ID and an Org ID, which like they looked like your primary email address.

[8:33] Andrew: Yes, they bothóthe user ID for them is my primary email address.

[8:37] Chris: Welcome to identity hell.

[8:38] Andrew: Oh no, no, that's not so bad. Here is the part where it gets bad. I go over to Azure right, and there's a great post, I'll reference it in a little bit, there's a great post that shows you how to go over to Azure and you say, I want to go over to my Azure subscription and I want to be able to manage myóor link my directory from Office 365, my Azure AD from 365. I want to manage that inside of my Azure subscription. And so, I log in using my Microsoft account in the Azure, I go through the process, I add the account, poof! Everything is good and now I can see all my users from 365 inside of a directory, inside of Azure that I could use inside of my apps.

[9:17] Chris: Yeah.

[9:18] Andrew: Okay, everything's happy except the recommendation from Microsoft is that you want to be ableóyou want to manage your stuff in Azure using an organizational account and not a Microsoft account, right. So, I go over to my Officeóto my Azure account and I say, I want to add in my organizational account, my primary organizational account as an administrator for my Azure subscriptions, but when you go to do that the only one it finds is the Microsoft account, it doesn't find the organizational account. And so, I can't choose between the two and so now it looks like my only option is that I have to go create a dummy account inside of 365 and go login with that one in order to come over and have an organizational account that I can manage my Azure subscription with but then, that kind of defeats the purpose because now I'm logging in to 365 with two different IDs just to manage Azure or to check my email.

[10:10] Chris: Yeah, I think what you've done here is you've gone to the top a building and when you were told not to cross the beams, you crossed the beams and now you've got missed.

[10:20] Andrew: Well, if I look back at it. Yes, that would definitely be true. The problem is that I was adopting the services as they came out.

[10:30] Chris: Yeah, now I totally get what you mean and I've heard a lot of folks where they've got the vanity domain thing going on, they got the custom domain, they got Live ID but also got the Org ID for 365 and then open a browser and the first thing they go and they hit the 365 site isóyou're not a valid user, you got to sign and then you're likeó

[10:50] Andrew: Bingo!

[10:51] Chris: That's a classic multi-sign in issue.

[10:57] Andrew: Yeah, it's frustrating, but I mean it's justóit's confusing is because all those active directory stuff is all very heady in directories and stuff like that and it's hard to kind of see where they matches up and so you getóit's one of those things you have to put everything aside, turn the music off and just read and being like, okay, let me make sure, let me make sure I'm getting down the rabbit hole the right way and so it's confusing, but whatever.

[11:18] Chris: Yeah, interesting, interesting.

[11:22] Andrew: So, anyway that's my pain right now, but hopefully get it resolved and if so I'll update everybody on the podcast, hopefully next podcast.

[11:32] Chris: Yeah, well I suspect there's going to be someóhopefully, well not hopefully, I suspect there's going to be some other listeners that are in a similar boat because lots of people went and got their Live ID and then gave itólike did the whole [11:43] domain thing with Live ID, and then they're going to also stumble into this problem when they also go get a 365 subscription if they do for their own personal use.

[11:55] Andrew: Yeah, it's justóI mean, it's something that IóI know they have seen a lot of people have asked about it. So, it's got to be something in mind for the product groupñthe Azure product group anyway. So anyway, enough of that. So, today what we're going to do is we've got a guest that we've brought on to the show who is a brilliant Azure guy. So, let me just go through it and introduce Kirk Evans, who is an architect for the Azure Center of Excellence. Kirk is a developer and a recovering SharePoint professional and Kirk is a frequent speaker at conferences and maintains a very popular, and if I might add, a very resourceful blog at blogs.MSDN.com/kaevans. So Kirk, welcome to the show.

[12:46] Kirk: Thank you very much for having a guest.

[12:48] Andrew: Absolutely. This is aófor everybody listening, if you're not familiar with Kirk, this is by far one of theódefinitely one of theólike the leaders in terms, like the technical side of showing you how to do some really, really cool stuff. He's been doing it for SharePoint for many, many years and the Azure stuff on his blog is incredible. His blog is a wealth of information. So, that's your post, so one of your recent post from roughly a month ago is the one that I'm walking through trying to set up my Azure in 365 ADs together so I can add an app and have everything being trusted by Azure AD and it'sóI'm not banging my head because of your post, I'm banging your head because of something that if had I not been in a certain scenario, I'd be in better shape.

[13:34] Kirk: But, I got to tell you, wheneveróI don't know the post you're talking about is the ones about adding web API into the office 365 AD tenancy?

[13:44] Andrew: Yeah.

[13:45] Kirk: Honestly, the more I look across the identity landscape and see what's going on in the industry and what people are doing as far as identity, the whole same old claims thing that we're working on for so long like that that seems to be really kind of down in the SharePoint area, the rest of the world is doing that exact model. So, I would say that once I kind of look at it and then started looking across what are other platforms doing, how do other people do this stuff, and I realized, holy smoke! This is like the way that everybody else in the world does this. So, I would say that learning open ID, learning [14:32] probably like the two number one things, can you two number one things? Three, three number one things. I think developers really need to understand those two technologies.

[14:50] Andrew: It is so confusing too, I was going to say because I think it's really hard for people to grasp that thing.

[14:55] Chris: I was just going to say, before we dive into the leads, why don't we like, what is this Azure Center of Excellence thing right, you work for Microsoft, right?

[15:03] Kirk: Yes sir, I do.

[15:05] Chris: And then, which bit of Microsoft?

[15:07] Kirk: Interesting. Let meóI once have a heart attack and so Iótruthfully, I report up through Microsoft consulting services and our group is actually kind of funded by two different groups within Microsoft, the Azure product team and then MCS. So, we report officially through MCS, but we have this kind of dual master role where we also have some responsibility back to the Azure product team as well.

[15:35] Chris: Gotcha! I see, I see. And so, what's theólike, so the Azure Center of Excellence, what's yourówhat's the kind of the goals for the team and what's the stuff that you guys work on?

[15:45] Kirk: I am a technical presales architect for MCS. So, as customers are looking at building some interesting new scenario and we have some consultants who are out talking to the customer and trying to figure out what's possible, I would be one of those guys that comes in and says, here's something to think about, here's how I would probably architect this. And then, part of my job is to try to keep as current on Azure as possible all the recent announcements. Obviously, we learn a lot about those before the public learns about them. So, we sign up for the internal previews and we start kicking the tires on as much of the stuff as we can. So, as soon as the customer hears about it they get interested in this, you know, I want to learn more about resource groups, I want to learn more about Azure websites slots and we have to be prepared to be able to have this conversation really, really quickly.

[16:43] Chris: I see, I see. Awesome!

[16:46] Kirk: It's that difference of not having the three-year release cadence anymore.

[16:49] Chris: Yeah, isn't it glorious? You know, you need to beó

[16:51] Kirk: It is, exactlyó

[16:53] Chris: You can't just sort of get drunk on news once every three years, you got to dip in every week or every day almost it seems.

[17:02] Kirk: Yeah, you could just learn .NET too and ride on that for three years, right.

[17:07] Chris: Totally, and to be fair, of all of the groups at Microsoft that are completely nailing this it's Azure, right. Azure are just smashing it and banging it out of the park, so to speak. Is that the right word?ó

[17:18] Andrew: Oh, my goodness!

[17:19] Chris: Or is that a quialism? Knocking it out of the park is the right word, right?

[17:22] Kirk: Banging it out of the park?

[17:24] Chris: Well, no the banging bit was the quialism maybe it was knocking that I should have been using. Butó

[17:28] Andrew: I've got it, let's move on.

[17:32] Chris: Okay, yeah, let's not get into the bashing of the Kiwi.

[17:34] Kirk: Sheep.

[17:39] Andrew: So, you sayóand Kirk, you say that you're not doing SharePointó

[17:42] Chris: Talking it out of the park.

[17:45] Kirk: No, I'm not doing SharePoint stuff really at all anymore.

[17:51] Chris: Why disappoint me, Kirk Evans? Why you disappoint me?

[17:53] Kirk: Well, what a lot our customers are asking for is, I want to host SharePoint on Azure IaaS. And, so I spent a lot of time trying to talk customers down off that ledge a little bit and say, there's Office 365 that's going to scale, give you a better experience, let's look at what are the capabilities. And lot of customers really don't know about hybrid capabilities and so I spent a bit of time talking about just basic hybrid connectivity, IaaS, what can you do with site-to-site VPNs and now the new regional VPN connectivity. Trying to discuss a lot of those concepts with customers, a lot of them just aren't familiar with more thanóI have a virtual machine in the cloud, now what? So, a lot of customers are really looking at Azure as the dumping ground for the stuff that they don't want to run On-Prem anymore. And I spent a lot of time trying to educate them around, you know, let's up-level the conversation of what are your business goals and what the things that you're trying to achieve rather than just dumping SharePoint on the cloud.

[19:05] Chris: Totally. I think they feel like it'sóI think that is kind of the natural progression from On-Prem is to take your images and dump them somewhere else and for no other reason than it's a more known quantity to them right, that they're used to VMs rather than really thinking about the bigger problem, which is what are they trying to solve and does it really solve it for them by doing that.

[19:29] Kirk: In fact, I think if anything, it probably creates a new set of problems that they hadn't necessarily considered. So, that's a lot of whatóI spent a lot of time talking with customers trying to understand what are their actual business objectives, what are the things that they want to do andóI mean, I'll admit, I'm supposed to be technical presales for MCS but remember I also have that dual role over to the Azure group. I don't want toómy boss is Steve Fox and so one of theóand for those who don't know, Steve has been in the community long time, spoken in a lot of conferences about SharePoint stuff. One of hisóone of my favorite terms with his is, breaking you into jail. So we don't necessarily want to break customers into jail by doing something that later on, they may not be as happy with as if we invested in time to do the right thing right now.

[20:24] Chris: Yeah, gotcha.

[20:24] Andrew: What it seemsóI've always kind of look at IaaS, the IaaS offering inside Azure and I mean, even on the competing cloud products is it's really kind of a stopgap whereówhere we are today.

I mean a lot of people want to move things to the cloud, but then they have a lot of these different applications that they can't move to the cloud because these are not designed for the cloud. And, so the easiest way to do it is just to create a virtual machine in the cloud, get out of the hardware maintenance business and push stuff up in to the cloud using virtual machines, but the future of kind of where we want to go in the cloud is being able to have either a software as a service like Office 365, which you can subscribe to, or you want to be it as a developer, you're building applications, you want to do things with the PaaS model, more platform as a service and leverage things like service PaaS and websites in SQL AzureóAzure SQL databases andósorry, the naming changes way too often to keep it straight. I've got a straightóstumble every once in a while but, yeah, I mean just see the IaaS stuff is that I like that term of breaking into jail because you're simply just kind of moving the cheese from one problem over to another problem and you're still going to ultimately probably want to get out of that maintenance of SharePoint down the road and that'sóI mean, while there are going to be customers that are in that situation where they cannot go to 365 for a certain regulatory or geographic or whatever issues, at least it is a good option for them to have kind of that in between kind of purgatory, that's a bad way to sayóin between kind of like staging ground.

[21:57] Kirk: Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of use cases for using IaaS public facing internet sites. If you want to use SharePoint for that, that can be a real pain in the ass to do if you're trying to do that in your own data center because the active directory dependency, a lot of companies can't get past the fact of, Holy smoke! I can't have a read-only domain controller andóyou mean, I have to have a writeable domain controller accessible from the DMZ. So, lot of customers can't get past that part. Well, putting an isolated directory out in Azure and then managing that through the port forwarded endpoints, perfect example of that something that you really can do. And now, it can be used as content deployment, cross-site publishing and all these other capabilities to push that content to that format in the cloud or direct authoring yeah, all the WCM capabilities that O365 doesn't have today.

[22:58] Andrew: Cool! So, and you mentioned a second ago, let'sóI mean, kind of pivoting a little bit off the SharePoint space a bit, but you mentioned a bit ago that you wereówell you're recovering SharePoint professional and you're not doing much SharePoint stuff anymore, butó

[23:11] Kirk: Yeah, you can tell them still in recovery because I just fell back on the SharePoint discussion there real quick.

[23:17] Andrew: Well, it brings up something else because I have seen content on your blog recently you talked about it about working with the Office 365 APIs and it kind of looks at more like theówhere I'm seeing more of SharePoint going from it being a separate product in itself, where it's really just seen is, look, this is just another service that 365 has to offer like email, like presence, like directory, like social and stuff. And, now we have these APIs where you can tie into more of your cloud kind of company with 365 and being able to build things are going in Azure, I mean, you've done a bunch of work in the space lately, haven't you or is that?

[23:57] Kirk: Yeah, the coolest thing that our group is working on is a solution accelerator. A solution accelerator in Microsoft consulting is basically a set of code, it's not a demo, it's something that actually is a functional solution that our consultants then can either repurpose, reuse or just take parts of it or just take inspiration fromóthe whole idea is to accelerate the engagement so that they can hit the ground running really quickly. And, their solution accelerator that I own right now is one called Mobile Workforce and the idea is you have a company that has workers that are out in the field with occasionally connected devices and we all know that it's not just one device anymore. And CJ, as much as you don't want to program Android, you're going to need to learn it whether it's PhoneGapó

[24:57] Chris: Never.

[24:58] Kirk: Xamarin or if you're going native whatever, but I think that's probably the number one scenarios that a lot of customers are facing right now is enabling that bring your own device strategy, enabling secure connection to their own data and being able to secure that in a way, but also recognizing the fact that as much as my wireless might work great in my house right now, it doesn't necessarily work great a mile down the road.

[25:27] Andrew: Right.

[25:27] Kirk: So, we need to be able to handle things like offline sync and we also need to be able to secure things through using things like Azure Active Directory and registering applications and that's why the O365 APIs are so just flipping unbelievably cool, because you're right, I can go build my own web API and I can secure it with Azure AD and then I can create a Windows 8 app or an Android app or iOS app or Windows phone app, I canóI have all these different types of clients, even my website, instead of having my website talking directly to data store I probably want to have my website just be another client to that Web APIs so that I can reuse that same logic layer across all these different client applications. That's why O365 is so cool to me, because you're right, at that point it becomes just another endpoint to me. And, that's what I think is so unbelievable is how many times when you're writing applications do you write scheduling or calendar or messaging or, you know, you need to save a file somewhere? All of those are right there in Office 365 preview APIs right now and I can only imagine that they're going to expand on this to include a full breadth of O365 services. I think that that becomes one of the pillar capabilities for building these occasionally connected apps and then couple that with all the stuff the Azure team is doing to make that scenario dead simple through mobile services. Holy smokes! That is geek porn.

[27:16] Andrew: So, why do you say that? Why do you say mobile service is geek porn?

[27:19] Kirk: Oh my god!

[27:20] Andrew: This is Azure mobile services you're talking about, right?

[27:23] Kirk: Yeah, usingó

[27:24] Andrew: Okay.

[27:24] Kirk: Yeah, using Azure mobile services. I should use the right name. All right, so think about all the different things I just talked about, there's Azure AD and then there's a web API and then there is a client and then when you have these things are also going to need storage. So you're probably going to have SQL Azure database. Well, instead of you having to build all of those things and figuring out the connectivity in the storage of keys and all that other stuff, you couldóthis is so unbelievably cool to me, you should go to Azure Mobile Services and you say, "Here's my mobile service, here is going to be my table." Double-click and it creates the freaking client for you, the web API for you and it can allócan integrate with Azure AD. And, when you do that it also includes the offline sync through the SDK and it's not just Windows. That's one of the coolest things is you go look at the Azure Mobile Services and across the board, Windows technology is one of the least represented. It has everything from PhoneGap, which is akin to the Cordova stuff that we talked about before. And, just to make it even cooler, when they release the Cordova tools for O365 the other day, that integrates extremely easily with Azure Mobile Services. So, using JavaScript inside of a Cordova app can then talked to O365 APIs that can also integrate with your Azure Mobile Services extremely easily. There's plenty of documentation and samples that show how to do it. So, CJ, you could have that new Xamarin clientóor I'm sorry, new Android client using PhoneGap for MyTrips really, really easily.

[29:18] Chris: Yeah, nice. I've been really impressed just how it manages to wire up so much of the plumbing for you without you having to learn like every single little piece of the technology along the way and exactly how it all hangs together behind-the-scenes. It's awesome how that'sóit's come a long way in the last couple of years, maybe two-year and half or so since it came out, something like that.

[29:40] Kirk: Yeah, one of the biggest things that they introduced, and to be fair, it doesn't necessarily automatically generate an app that will fit your data scheme. It actually just generates a sample to do item, application that you can then quickly change, but some of the things that it includes is dynamic schematization, I guess this is the term that they use where I'm just going to throw JSON data at the service and then it will automatically mapped that to some tables, create some columns for me and then I get the data stored in that table, just that part is just kind of mind-boggling when you look at some capabilities of contract versioning and a lot of that problem goes away.

[30:28] Andrew: Is that kind of like looking at itówould a good analogy that being like kind of a code first with migration with entity framework and databases by doing it on the mobile side throwing JSON at it and it does the whole backend schema and architecture and everything for the infrastructure?

[30:43] Kirk: Yes, sir.

[30:44] Andrew: Holy crap!

[30:45] Kirk: Yeah.

[30:47] Andrew: That's impressive.

[30:47] Kirk: Yeah, and you just look at it and you're just like, "Wow! That was so ridiculously simple that the bulk of my work was not focused onóokay, here's my table, here's the types, let me write all these SQL statements and all that junk." You don't do any of that stuff, you just go to client and you just throw up someóyou just throw up some JSON at your web API, boom! And everything just kind of magically happens and then you can control things on the backend using either node so you can write some JavaScript to control different points of when your API is called, and that's how you can also do things like add in Azure AD to do authorization, authentication to users. I mean, just the capabilities there are just ridiculous and then for those customers who don't want that dynamic schematization, you can still control the API at whatever layer you need. So, the flexibility and the number of capabilities that it provides and the fact that the SDK itself is kind of spans everything including Windows, but also Xamarin, PhoneGap and node and everyóall these other different technologies, that part is just, I think, that's where the Azure team is really knocking it out of the park, is the fact that other documentation is up on GitHub, their samples are up on GitHub. And, all the samples that they put up on the portal, even the stuff that they automatically generate iOS, Android, they just include everything including Windows. I think that part is really cool.

[32:28] Chris: Yeah.

[32:28] Andrew: So, you said something GitHub, like where can they go to find information about it like the GitHub account or is there a specific repositories or is it just they have an account or what?

[32:39] Kirk: Just go to Azure.com and when you go to Azure.com and you scroll to the bottom of any pages on documentóany of the documentation pages you'll see at the bottom where it says, go to GitHub repository.

[32:51] Andrew: That is one of the coolestóokay, now I know what you're talking about. That is one of the coolest things I've seen the Azure team do in terms of being so open with stuff where they've gotóyeah, so for everybody who hasn't seen this, like Kirk just said, if you go to Azure.com, go to the documentation pages and scroll to the bottom, you'll see a little GitHub icon. What you can do is every single document in the Azure documentation is inside of a repository where you can go in GitHub, you canófirst, you can get a local copy if you wanted to, I don't know why you'd want that but if you wanted to you can get it. But, what's really cool about it is that if you want to propose some additional changes to or you see there's an error in the document or you want to provide a sample or something, you can go in, fork it, make a change to it, submit a pull request over. There's a steward over on the Azure site that's looking at the content that's coming in and will maybe push that kind of stuff back into the main documentation that will show up in the Azure website. I've beenóthere's aóI've been with somebody on the SharePoint team, actually somebody on your team, CJ-I've been pushing this really hard to say, this is what we need for the SharePoint and 365 side is to take what we have in MSDN and TechNet push those two things together and have that kind of community kind of contribution of being able to the put the content in there instead of having thoseóand having the comments on discuss and or and having comments on discuss not instead of.

[34:12] Chris: Yeah, yeah.

[34:14] Andrew: To really making documentation where it's still driven by Microsoft and it's still managed by Microsoft, but opening it up and saying, yeah, anybody can go through it if you've got some stuff to share, come on in here and share those stuff.

[34:24] Chris: Yeah, makes sense. Everybody is all in it together and making it better.

[34:29] Andrew: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it's really cool. The Azure guys are justóthe way that they are innovating, the way that they're pushing stuff out, I share the excitement that you guy there heardóthat you'reóit's very obvious I'm interested in this right now.

[34:42] Kirk: You know what, I've been with Microsoft 10 years this March. Even just two years ago, I could not have fathom in this type of openness. It justóit is mind-boggling as thisóas a Microsoft veteran, having seen this whole fight against Open-Source, the generalóokay, well, we're not going to really do Open-Source, we're create our own Open Source to kind of flex, I know that's not really the story but still that there's a lot of community perception around that. And well, a lot of the community is really gravitated towards GitHub and an Open-Source, there are still large factions of Microsoft that are still trying to figure out, "Whoa! What just happened?" and here's the Azure team just, "Excuse me guys, can y'all step aside because we're just like racing down here and doing the right thing." It's just really amazing to see thatóI'd been saying this a lot in Twitter, it is the new Microsoft and it is just stunning to watch what's happened just in the past year to two years.

[35:51] Andrew: So, let me ask you about that then. You say a year to two years, and that to me kind of coincides with the time that Scott Guthrie came over on the Azure site, which he did amazing things everywhere he's been. It's just like, "Hey, we're going to put you over here" and it's like, ding! It's gold. Okay, let me come over here and let meówhat are you going to do over here thatóding! That's gold now, okayó

[36:09] Kirk: But there is a reasonó

[36:09] Andrew: We're going to put you in Azure siteó

[36:10] Kirk: There's a reason that he has the position he has.

[36:14] Andrew: Yeah, because it'sóI was going to ask you, do you think that that is that driven a lot by him moving over on the Azure side, do you see a lot of that from coming one to two years, so obviously it's not coming from specifically from top-down from the CEO side in the last two to three, four, five months since Satya has taken over Microsoft butóI mean, I'm sure he's had some involvement or some influence with it too because he came from the Azure side. So, I mean if this isóit's part of question but I guess I'm part kind of just editorializing a bit. That's one of the thingsóthere's one other thing that makes me have such a better outlook in being so much more bullish on Microsoft afterófor a couple of years kind of being little bit more on theólike sour kind of in the dump a little bit on Microsoft in the direction they were going, was it the people that are running the ship now? The people that have the keys to the kingdom are the ones that have been driving these crazy innovations, this crazy openness, this rapid release cadences and everything with Azure? Those are the guys that have the keys to the kingdom now for the entire company.

[37:18] Kirk: I wish that I had better insight to give you a better comment other than that sounds great. Truth is that there's been an army of people who have been heads down working on this for years and discounting the fact that those people, you know, you're seeing the fruits of a lot of innovation now that has been in the works for a number of years. So, to say that Satya came in and turn the company around and inside that a brief amount of time, I don't know how true that is because a lot of that Steve had to set in motion for it all to be announced within the past couple months.

[37:56] Andrew: Yeah, Steve Ballmer. Yeah, in thatóyeah, I would definitelyóI don't mean to imply this has been, you know, Satya has been all sudden the last six month, all sounds like, "Hey, guess what? We're going to [38:04]."

[38:04] Kirk: Well, I get it. The opposite side of the coin is, "Holy smokes! The past couple months have been really damn fun." So, I love that Microsoft has a swagger that I haven't seen in a while. And soó

[38:19] Chris: I think the biggest change especially coming fromóon the Azure side is they're not afraidóthey haven't been afraid to break from the norm and break stuff internally and I don't mean the bits right, I mean Azure saw all these but I mean like just break the way stuff is done inside of Microsoft to reinvent themselves and do things differently. And, that to me is the real key, right. They haven't been afraid to go people off and do things differently and to make their products better and to make the way they work with the community better and the whole nine-yards and that I think is dying to permeate a lot more now with the helm of a lot more in Satya.

[39:12] Kirk: Yeah, I absolutely agree. You know, there was a time where I almost felt a tinge of apology in my voice whenever I told people I work for Microsoft and immediately it was always a jokes about, "Oh, can you fix my printer?" or "I want to go back to Windows XP. I really don't like Vista or whatever." I mean, there were always that dark period of employment where a lot of Microsoft people were kind of questioning, "Wow! Where are we going?" and then really since the release of Windows 8, love it or not, it made a palpable change. That was an inflection point to say, here's where we're going to go and it may not be popular now, but it's kind of the right thing to do. And at the time, I think that was kind of theóyou're saying the one to two years, honestly, I think that was about it, the release of Windows 8. It was, okay, this may not be something that everybody really likes, we'll make some changes, we'll listen to feedback and we'll make gradual improvements, but I honestly think that the company's focus on unifying the platform, getting alignment between Xbox and Windows and phone and becomingórecognizing that we're changing strategic direction from a monolithic licensing company to a devices and services company. There were so many different changes that happen, all at that one inflection point. I think that it was making the conscious decision of we're going to be a devices and services company, we're going to focus on subscription models, we're going to enable O365 subscriptions and Azure subscriptions and less on the recurring EA type of model. All right, that was probably the number one big change in my opinion.

[41:21] Andrew: Very cool. It's cool to hear a differentóanother perspective on especially somebody from the inside that's been living in the Azure space and stuff. It's been a lot of fun to be involved with Azure over the last few years and really seeing how things are just getting pushed out over and over and it'sóI guess one of theóI'm back to the point of where I'm now eagerly watching keynotes live because I want to see what they're talking about at TechEd and at BUILD then it's like going, here's what we're doing next and here's what we're doing next, oh my god! I love the slide that has the "Here's how much data we have in Azure now and here's how many authentications going on" and "Oh yes, somebody screwed one little thing up and we actually supported 3 billion authentications in one day." It's like, oh my god! [42:04] support that.

[42:05] Chris: I was sitting at BUILD and I tweeted Mary Jo Foley because I was like, "Hey, you missed out the 365 news that was in the keynote." like around the API and stuff, and she was like, "This just turned much to tweet!"

[42:20] Kirk: Well, all right so, kind of wrap it up because I realize we've been going for a while. I saw a discussion between some of the SharePoint MVP folk saying, there's just so much innovation and our developers keeping up and [42:38] any value, and then pretty quickly the answer came back was, holy smokes! There's so much coming out, this is so exciting. I think there is a giant fire hose coming out of Redmond right now. How much you decide to take the entire stream or just the parts that you need right now, that's the coolest thing is you don't have to go out and be a complete Azure specialist, you can go pick the couple of bits that fit your scenario, whether it's going to be machine to machine or internet of things, or if you're going to go into big data, or if you want to go into occasionally connected in and using more of the PaaS side, there's so many different opportunities that are out there to leverage, to focus on business scenarios and that's kind of the coolest thing is that there is like an entire new platform of Microsoft stuff. It's not just Desktop, SQL, Dynamics, SharePoint, Office. There's like this entire new company of products that has come out that you can pick and choose from that to fit your business solutions.

[43:48] Andrew: I completely agree with you. It's very muchóto me it's very much like the SharePoint space where you would look at somebody and they wereóor a company would come to you and they say, "Can you do this? You're supposed to be a SharePoint expert." You're like, "No, no, no, this project is way too big." I personallyóspeaking for myself, I've never touched BI inside SharePoint. I've got resource, I know where to go to find information about it, I know who to call, but I've never touched it. Why? Because the product is so big. A DR scenario? I've never done it. I got a guy that does it for me. I focus on the dev and I focus on some specific parts inside SharePoint and extending it and I reach out to somebody else. Same thing with Azure, you can't put every shiny toy in every single productóevery single project. It's not smart, it's not practical, and you just focus on what you got just kind of working this thing as long as you're not breaking into jail and trying to invest and buy into something that is an older technology and likeó

[44:41] Kirk: You mean like Hotmail address?

[44:42] Andrew: Oh, boy!

[44:44] Chris: Speaking of jail.

[44:46] Andrew: If I can hit the reset button I would do it in a minute, trust me. There's a way that I can move around, I'd do it in a second, butó

[44:53] Kirk: Yeah, we all inhaled.

[44:56] Andrew: Yeah, but only some of us exhaled. All right, well cool. Hey, Kirk, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and talking about from your perspective in the Azure spaces, the Center of Excellence and how it all relates to what we're all doing today. So, I'm sure the listeners got a lot out of this. So, thank you very much andówell, I have to bring you back another time to talk a little bit more about theseóthe mobile services, it sounds like that's a whole another thing that we could dive into and have a much, much deeper discussion on it.

[45:22] Kirk: Geek porn.

[45:24] Chris: Yeah, baby! All right, so yeah, thanks Kirk for coming along. Hey AC, before we wrap this up, we got a new five star reviews in iTunes. Woot! Woot! Let's put the sound or the foghorn, siren on the recording here because this is epic. This is titled, A+ Bang! Bang! Or exclamation, not bang, bang but bang isóanyway. Skippy PGD and he says, "Great content and very relevant info on cloud technology. AC and CJ provide great consumable and current content. Only downside is I wish they did more recordings." My god! Skippy PGD, more recordings-every week is not enough for you, huh? I don't knowó

[46:16] Andrew: There is aóI will give you a PayPal account, my friend. We will most happily take donation and we will do more recordings and we will talk more, but thank you very, very much.

[46:25] Chris: Yeah, lovely enthusiasm and thank you for the reviews. Super helpful to get the feedback, but I don'tóyeah, you know, weekly is probably as often as we're going to do it for now unless something drastic changes, but appreciate the feedback.

[46:42] Andrew: Yeah, that's awesome feedback. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Cool! So, it's been a great discussion. I guess we will have toówe'll go on to the next show next time.

[46:51] Chris: Yeah, thanks AC.

[46:53] Andrew: Thank you very much everyone. 

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[47:33] (Music)