TechEd 2010: SharePoint & Azure – ‘How Do They Play Together?’

Steve Fox presents at TechEd 2010 North America

Steve Fox, Senior Evangelism Manager at Microsoft presented his session, SharePoint and Azure: How Do They Play Together? this afternoon at TechEd.  I'll be frank and state up-front that there was a fair amount of code on the screen in this session so, as a non-developer and in the interests of ensuring that readers get the most out of this post as possible, you should know that Steve said he'd be making the deck from his presentation, including all source code, available on his blog later today.

Beginning his session with the official definition of Azure, Steve stated that "Azure is an operating system in the cloud that enables reach, reusability and scale."  From there, Steve addressed the question of "Why integrate SharePoint and Azure … especially given the considerable effort involved to re-architect for the cloud?"  Steve submitted four reasons why it's worth doing so: "scalable endpoint cloud-based data and services with SharePoint solutions"; the ability to "migrate to hybrid or cloud-based custom services"; the ability to "integrate cloud with core features of SharePoint"; and "extend Azure applications into Office."

Steve then provided a brief "tour of the tools" involved in integrating SharePoint and Azure: the Azure developer portal, Visual Studio 2010, and SharePoint 2010.  Of the Azure developer portal, Steve explained that you already have the portal set up if you have an Azure account, so you can start adding services immediately.  By way of example, Steve briefly demonstrated "Hello World" (to amusingly ironic applause in response to Steve's own ironic "woo!").  Steve pointed out that, with SQL Azure running, you're able to directly manage services that you've deployed from the portal.  With Visual Studio 2010, Steve demonstrated how to set up a New Cloud Service Project while showing that you have, "a bunch of tools available" to build for Azure, including templates.

Steve explained that there are three integration approaches for SharePoint and Azure:  an iframe, a hosted service, or custom services.  Between these three approaches, there are "lots of possibilities" for integration.  By way of showing just what's possible, Steve showed a slide chock full of examples, so I'll refer you again to his blog for the slide deck and more examples of what's possible in terms of integration than you can shake a stick at.

Steve then provided demos, including varying amounts of code (just a snippet with the iframe, not much with the hosted service, and a lot with the custom services) for each of the three integration approaches and, again, all of that source code will be available to you at the aforementioned blog.  In each demo, Steve walked through the setup process, ultimately showing the final result of Azure integration within SharePoint 2010.

One natural enough question was asked during the interactive session, which was "Is there any facility for Azure to host SharePoint?"  The expected response was, alas, a flat "no," with Steve noting for the record that "Everything being talked about [and shown] is consumptive."

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