Niraj Bhatt – Architect's Blog

Ruminations on .NET, Architecture & Design

Category Archives: Most Valuable Professional

Presenting at Great Indian Developer Summit 2012

Readers, I have been blogging quite less lately but really working on bouncing back soon. Meanwhile, I am speaking at the Great Indian Developer Summit (GIDS) 2012 on Windows Azure Access Control Service Usage Patterns. My session is on 17th April, 10 a.m. IST. Infact, this is my 4th presentation at GIDS conference, having presented at last three. If you are attending the summit, do drop by my session; I am committed to provide maximum ROI on your time investment. Below is the session snapshot

“Access Control Service (ACS) is perhaps the most powerful but least understood aspect of Windows Azure. While developers / architects understand it’s value proposition they are often left confused with surrounding acronyms and buzzwords like Active / Passive federation, SWT, SAML, ADFS, WIF, WS-Trust, WS-Federation, OAuth, OAuth WRAP, etc. This session distills the facts along with the underlying business motivation helping you with your moment on ACS. Having built the initial base session advances to focus on typical usage patterns of Access Control Service within enterprises. These common recurring implementation themes would further simply the mapping of ACS to your LOB applications. Attend this session to walk out with real implementation knowledge on ACS.”

Here’s the presenter billboard (speciality of GIDS 🙂 )

Looking forward to meet you in person…


Live!!! PluralSight Course – “Windows Azure Diagnostics”

Friends, My new course for PluralSight – “Windows Azure Diagnostics” just got published. It has been quite a gap since I last did the flyweight pattern module for PluralSight. Windows Azure Diagnostics (WAD) to me is a very important aspect of Windows Azure. I can confidently say hadn’t it been for WAD, I wouldn’t have succeeded developing a single application on Windows Azure. On top of that most the articles and materials I came across on this topic talked about only imperative code based setup. I confess WAD was a distant topic for me, and for quite some time I dreaded it, not quite understanding what it stands for and how to work with it. Finally, having got my Ahaa moment , I thought of sharing this knowledge with you all. Among others, course talks about WAD integration with Enterprise Library Logging Application Block and Log4Net , including configuring the logging verbosity at runtime. Course also covers DB Trace Listener, WAD PowerShell Cmdlets, On-Demand Transfer and IntelliTrace.

Do drop me a line (, if you happen to look at the course. What you learnt, how useful it was to you, what could have been better (I personally felt there is room for voice quality and demo alignments)?. Though, I am still happy with overall content and course 🙂  . If you would like to see any other courses around Windows Azure or other Microsoft technologies, please let me know that as well.Until next time, happy learning…

Book Review: Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook

Apparently, this is my first public book review. A month back when PACKT Publishing asked me to do a review of this book I was delighted for couple of reasons. Firstly, I would get my hands on a book I so much wanted to read and secondly review the work of the maestro – Neil Mackenzie. If you don’t know Neil most probably you haven’t done a serious Windows Azure project 🙂 . Neil is the most active person on Windows Azure MSDN Forum, maintains a comprehensive blog on Windows Azure (at times I have felt that the depth of his blog entries surpasses that of MSDN documentation) and a Windows Azure MVP we all are proud of.

Highlight of the book for me are the exercises (referred as recipes), which are to the point, with concise code snippets, cutting the unnecessary verbose. Book’s first chapter starts with a very important yet very less discussed topic – authenticating with Windows Azure Platform. Chapter covers authentication scenarios pertaining to Azure Storage, Service Management, and AppFabric (caching) covering subtle topic of storage key rotation. Second chapter gives a thorough coverage of Blob storage including Leasing and leveraging Azure CDN. Third and fourth chapter dive into Tables and Queues again discussing key topics Pagination and polling back off (we recently helped a client cut on its transactional cost using similar approach). Fifth chapter which happens to be longest chapter of the book is really packed. You would be amazed at how much information is covered in these hundred pages. Chapter covers everything about hosting on Azure – multiple websites in a single role, HTTPS support, VM Role, Azure Connect and MarketPlace DataMarket among others. Chapter sixth and seventh contains vital topics of diagnostics (your key to success on Azure Platform) and service management APIs. It’s interesting to read the PowerShell coverage of these chapters. Finally book ends with couple of chapters around SQL Azure and Azure AppFabric. I was impressed with Neil’s knowledge around SQL Server DB and detailing of DMVs (dynamic management views).

Coming to the cons of the book, depending on your experience you might feel that book could have been better organized. May be an introduction chapter or an appendix at the end providing a 360 degree overview of Windows Azure could have been helpful. Also, while recipes are compact; snippets and corresponding explanations are done separately which at times is tedious to shuffle between. Lack of screenshots might be a concern to few readers. Also few topics like Access Control Service, WCF services, etc. have lesser focus (in case those are your prime use cases).

To sum up, writing Azure book is tough, especially with the rapid release cycles and features being churned regularly. Considering that, I would commend author for his work and would strongly recommend this book to accelerate your knowledge on Windows Azure. Three hundred plus pages can easily transform you into a PRO, helping you create more effective Windows Azure solutions.

Happy Reading 🙂 !!!

(P.S. You can download a sample chapter of the book from here).

India’s First Windows Azure MVP

Phew, Am I Busy 🙂 ? While this a month back old news I am still glad to share it with all of you. Last October my MVP competency has been moved to Windows Azure. That makes me India’s first and currently the only Windows Azure MVP. Thanks to each one of you in community for your continued support and encouragement. Thanks to all my readers and all my session attendees. Thanks to my MVP lead and MVP friends. And finally thanks to my family for allowing me the time to pursue these dreams. I am also excited presenting tomorrow @VTD on – Integrating Silverlight and Azure with SharePoint. I Hope to catch you there. Thank you, once again!!!

I am back :)


What a way to celebrate a year of blogging!!! Yesterday not only marked a year of this blog (started in June 2008) but I also got my MVP status renewed into a more fitting category of – “Connected Systems Developer”. I wanted to write a detailed blog post about this, explaning the ins & outs of the MVP program but then thought otherwise. As usual, I owe the award to my family (for allowing me to stay away whenever it was required), friends @ Microsoft for providing opportunities to contribute & knowledge to share, and my MVP lead Abhishek. And last but not the least, you guys who make communities such a passionate place. A humble thank you to everyone 🙂 .

10% Discount on Microsoft Certification exams with a free retake before 31st March, 2009

Good news!!! Microsoft is providing MVPs with free discount vouchers for benefit of local communities. If you are preparing for any Microsoft certification exams or know somebody who is planning to take one, do drop in a line to me. I will ensure that the examination discount voucher reaches you ASAP. Let’s spread the word to save some hard earned money of our friends, especially during these bad times.

Note that the Exam discount Voucher Code is valid for exams taken by May 31, 2009 in India. Also the limited time offer is valid for Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) exams only. Go to this link for more information to assist you on Microsoft Certification exams. To schedule an exam after getting voucher code, go to this URL to find a testing center near you.

Please ensure that you verify discounts at your end, to avoid any surprises (no liabilities, please). If you have any queries I will more than happy to take it up with my lead. Till next time, keep learning 🙂 .

Speaking at MCT Summit 2009

I would be taking a session on – “Building Secure Web Services using WCF” at this MCT Summit. You can find the details about summit here. A brief introduction to my session is also there in the speakers list. To get there just search for my name 🙂 . In couple of days I will post the link to download demos I am going to demonstrate. Hope to see you there.

Ultimate Destination!!!