Getting Started With Windows Azure

First LoginI will begin this post with a disclaimer. I am not a staff of Microsoft 🙂 I am the CTO of a West African start-up called Zished. We got venture funded by Savannah Fund. As a result of that, I became the first Nigerian to get accepted into the accelerator. With that knowledge, I intend to do whatever it takes to make sure my start-up succeeds. However, I am also conscious of the need for speed so at the end of the day, my criteria for tool selection will always be based on functionality and ease of use. I currently use a six year old HP Pavilion dv6000 which was given to me by my only sister. Due to my personal attachment to my hardware, I will only use tools that work with my current hardware. I plan to replace my machine when I visit Nigeria to see my sister. Absurd yes. But hey I am the one writing the code here 🙂

In the cloud computing space today, Amazon Web Services is currently number 1. I tried it a while back and I found it a bit confusing to use. I am a Generation 3 programmer (I learnt how to program in my 20s) so I am not particularly fond of the command line.

I was one of the earliest adopter of Google App Engine for PHP in May this year. I even created my first PHP application on Google App Engine on May 25 (10 days after the Google IO announcement). The problem is that till date Google has a process of whitelisting which means you application is placed on a queue. I am a Nigerian and I know from first-hand experience that waiting on a queue is a recipe for disappointment.

Last week there was a Windows 8 event at the iHub. I was unaware of the event until Kojo came downstairs to call me. I met some Microsoft officials at the event and they told me that Friday the 13th of September would have a focus on Windows Azure.

True to the information I was given, the focus on Friday was Windows Azure. The presenter Mr Umit Sunar did a very good job of showing the participants all the features of Windows Azure. At the end of the day I had found what I was looking for. The next steps would be up to me.

Interested participants were given keys to enable them access the 30 days Windows Azure sandbox. I registered at the venue. After the program, the presenter was patient enough to answer all my questions and I did have a shipload of them. I also got access to online resources.

I headed home around 6pm (I told you I had a load of questions). I went online and found some videos. I looked at them until I nodded off.

The next day, I would log into my Windows Azure sandbox and really fumble with it. I am simply grateful that all my sins here would be forgiven and never remembered after 30 days. I would cringe at the idea of doing this on the production account.

Yesterday I was able to create my first website on Windows Azure. I had to download WebMatrix to get it done. In the end, I have achieved a measure of understanding of Windows Azure. I am happy to have gotten started. I know there is a lot to learn but every programmer knows that the first step is always the hardest.

My first website features an installation of PrestaShop. You can check it out here.

This is Truston Ailende. I am a member of the Zished Team and this is my 21st day in Kenya.


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