Successful Software Delivery with DevOps

With DevOps best practices and Microsoft’s DevOps tooling, Black Marble can deliver agile planning, source code control, package management, build, testing and release automation to continuously integrate, test, deliver and monitor your application.

It is crucial to not only have the right people in place for your cloud adoption journey, but also to use the right processes and the right tools. A typical DevOps approach consists of cross-functional teams provisioning their own infrastructure, with high degrees of automation using templates, codified rules for security controls and cloud-native architecture.

This is where the core aspects of continuous value delivery meet the demands currently driving companies; an integrated team approach including enterprise agile and cloud computing.

Successful Software Delivery with DevOps
Successful Software Delivery with DevOps

Delivering an Enterprise Cloud Operating Model

There have been some major paradigm shifts in the history of computing with some of the most notable being marked, not only by changes in technology, but by changes in staffing that technology. When the computing standard for mainframe shifted to client/server, the staff model moved from computer operator to system administrator.

The same is true with a move to the cloud.

The cloud fundamentally changes how businesses procure and use technology resources. Traditionally, having had ownership and responsibility of all aspects of technology from infrastructure to software with the cloud, this allows businesses to provision and to consume resources only as needed. Moving to the cloud can bring increased business, agility, and significant costs benefits.

However, the journey to the cloud needs to be managed carefully at each stage; not just for delivery but for expectations and ROI. Even more significantly, the cloud opens up access to a range of on-demand cloud services, unavailable just 10 years previously. These include hyper-scaling, AI services and computing power; short-term consumption providing significant benefits.

All these services combined, provide business realisations that only the cloud can offer.

Transforming your business into a cloud-business is more than simply moving your systems and infrastructure into the cloud – your organisation needs a Cloud Operating Model (COM) to adopt a cloud-first mentality. It is important to guide your people away from traditional IT thinking, to ensure they realise business benefits and harness the true potential of the cloud, where adoption drives innovation. This white paper will cover how this can be achieved with the assistance of Black Marble.

For more information on Delivering an Enterprise Cloud Operating Model, get in touch for a copy of the white paper I put together with our CCO, Rik Hepworth.

Cover of Delivering an Enterprise Cloud Operating Model White Paper
Delivering an Enterprise Cloud Operating Model White Paper, 2nd Edition.

Tech Update

It is that time of year, our Annual Tech Update is upon us.

if you are an IT manager or IT pro come to the morning and find out what happened in 2013 and see a roadmap for all Microsoft Technologies for 2014 from Windows to SharePoint, from SQL Server to Azure

register here Tech Update for Microsoft Technologies for the IT Pro

if you are a Development Manager or Developer come to the afternoon and see the update and Roadmap for developers and development technologies

register here Tech Update for Microsoft Technologies for Developers

I look forward to seeing you all in a few weeks


What’s New in Azure

Just before Christmas a number of enhancements were released, the continual growth combined with the short release cadence is showing Azure to be an amazing platform for development and delivery.

Included in the update:

  • Mobile Services
    • CRON – a well built job scheduler for routine maintenance (tutorial here)
    • CLI Support – The azure command line tool now has mobile service support
    • European Locations – now Europe is a Service location
  • Web Sites
    • can be run across 6 Shared or 10 Reserved Instances
    • Publish from Source Control Smile (TFS/Git)
  • Portal Enhancements for
    • SQL Data Sync
    • ACS Management 
  • Media Services
    • Job and Task management
    • Adding content from a Windows Azure storage account
    • Scaling to increase encoding concurrency
  • Virtual Network enhancements (thank goodness)

to learn more come to a BM Azure event check out


BizTalk 2013 Update

The BizTalk team recently announced that the next version of BizTalk is to be a major release not R2.

Feature Updates

  • ESB Toolkit integration –  ESB Toolkit is now fully integrated with BizTalk Server and the ESB Toolkit configuration has been simplified.
  • Dependency tracking  – The dependencies between artefacts can now be viewed and navigated in Admin console
  • Improvements in dynamic send ports 
  • Improvements in mapping engine performance
  • Ordered Send Port improvements – increased performance of ordered send port scenarios.

Adapter Updates

  • Azure Service Bus –   adapters to send and receive messages from Windows Azure Service Bus and to transfer messages to relay endpoints hosted on Azure.
  • RESTful services – adapters to invoke REST endpoints as well as expose BizTalk Server artefacts as a RESTful service.
  • Enhanced SharePoint adapter – SharePoint integration is much simpler and the need for dependency on SharePoint farms has been removed
  • SFTP adapterSmile

Most people forget about Host integration Server, HIS 2013 Beta includes

  • Data Integration – New OLE DB Provider for Informix and new Service for DB2 DRDA.
  • Application Integration – New Transaction Integrator runtime and web configuration-based administration and deployment.
  • Network Integration – New 3270 emulator and improved Session Integrator, both with direct TN3270 connectivity.

BizTalk now has support for Window Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012, SQL Server 2012 as would be expected and HIS also supports the newer IBM platforms

but best of all now Azure host able and available from the Gallery.

Important Note, if you use IE10 you must use compatibility mode with the BAM portal

Get the bits here and the documentation here


Microsoft goes Manga for Azure and Powershell

Spelunking through the internet I came across a project at Microsoft to engage people with various Microsoft Technologies using comic form. Black Marble have been producing Xmas comics over the last few years and the results have been great.

The series of comics follows “Squishy” the stress ball, Leah and Zach in a Manga inspired view of IT and development

In "Climbing Mt. PowerShell" the heroes learn PowerShell and the power of scripting to save the day, get it here

"Conquering Virtual Sprawl" Leah and Zach fights the chaos of large numbers of servers and harnesses virtual servers to save the day get it here

finally the heroes go where no heroes have gone before “Into the Cloud” get it here

the guys over at the Microsoft Born to Learn site really should be applauded at their efforts of tackling these subjects in such a great way


Managing SQL Azure Databases with Houston

SQL Azure Labs have released Project Houston a lightweight web based Database management tool for SQL Azure. Houston allows you to develop, deploy, and manage SQL Azure and includes support for basic database management tasks like authoring and executing queries, designing and editing a database schema, and editing table data.


Another Successful Technical Update

The usual suspects of Black Marble speakers presented on the Microsoft technologies from 2008 and the forthcoming developments for 2009.  A rapid fire run through covered everything from Oslo to Windows 7 through Azure and Performance Point to System Centre.  All the news, and milestones for Microsoft releases in 2009 and beyond.

Good lunch too.



Azure Briefing is coming to Black Marble HQ

The Developer & Platform Group at Microsoft are pleased to announce a series of technical briefings, targeted at ISVs and Start-ups, focused on the cloud based Azure Services Platform (first announced at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles in October 2008).  Black Marble are delighted to host the Bradford leg of this event on 13 February.

This event will cover:

· Windows Azure – The operating system for the Cloud

· .Net and Live Services – Mesh, Service Bus, Access Control and Workflow.

· SQL Data Services and data access

· Next Steps

The briefings will consist of technical discussion, demos and interactive discussion and will focus on what Azure is and how it can be used as a platform for cloud-based development. The sessions will be small, typically less than 30, to keep the flow of conversation going, and are suitable for Technical Decision Makers, Application Architects, Senior Developers and CTOs. There will be time after the event for more detailed ‘one to one’ discussions on any topics related to this session.

13th February 2009, Bradford: Invitation code: 5A219E

Look forward to seeing you there.