Hello World

Headed to Seattle. Half the plane is filled with MS employees. Some are headed to TechReady(Internal Technical Training event similar to TechEd), others headed for the annual Microsoft MidYear Business Reviews, yet others to who knows what. It's been an interesting time at Microsoft in 2014.The big Windows 10 announcement on Jan 21(who saw HoloLens coming out??), Azure firing on all cylinders, Cortana coming to life in Canada, Xbox One making serious inroads…..It's been a great time to be at Microsoft over these past 2 years as the company is shifting gears and transforming into the Cloud first, Mobile first paradigm. There are plenty of things that we still need to get done, but for the first time in a long time I feel great about the direction we are headed in. I was on main campus in Seattle back in August and I could feel such a different vibe by the Commons buildings. There was a true sense of urgency and customer focus that I hadn't felt in a long time. Teams were revamping the way they built products, becoming more agile, finding ways of shipping customer ready features as soon as possible. In fact, over the last 12 months Azure has shipped over 120 new major updates. Long gone are ye olde days of shipping on a three year cycle.

Similarly at Microsoft Services, we have been transforming our business and deliveries to focus on really aligning every service or engagement to truly deliver business value back to their entire organization. No longer are we doing projects just for the IT department, but connecting the dots all the way back to their business groups so that IT is seen as Business Enablement rather than just a cost center. The idea for this blog has been kicking around in my head for a while now. I work closely with a broader team of Consultants, Architects, Field Engineers and Support Engineers at Microsoft Services to positively impact our customers. We are constantly working on cool exciting new projects, consuming new technical content and figuring out improved ways of doing things.
As an Application Development Manager, my job at Microsoft Services is to help customers run and develop software on our platforms. I do this by helping provide guidance on our technology and improving their software development practices. This could be in the form of providing technical advice, reviewing their architecture and code, helping them improve their test practices, adding automation to their build and release processes, etc. I do get pulled in when they experience issues in production, however my core focus is making sure that things get done properly up front so that no one has to be up at 2am debugging code.

My goal with this blog is to document and share that knowledge with you. Our primary focus is going to be on sharing best practices around improving your Software Development Lifecycle, all the way from inception to operationalizing it in production. We'll cover the latest in DevOps, Cloud Services, Becoming Agile, and who knows what else. We'll be sharing some of the things we are working on and excited about, in addition to stories from the field and customers. Hopefully I will also be able to convince some of my buddies from the dev teams to share their experiences as they undergo their own transformations. Please subscribe to the blog feed and let us know how we are doing by leaving a comment.

The title of this blog is intended to be a play on Tim Gunn's "Make it work". Tim walks into the designers studio each week providing advice always ending with his famous catch phrase. You can see that he really cares about making his designers successful. That is our mission at Microsoft Services: to make our customer successful.

Let me leave you with a recent conversation I was having with a CIO at one of my customers the other day about Cloud Services, and why they need to start adopting it now. I think I really hit home when I made the point that I could pull out my credit card and provision more storage and compute capacity than their 2 massive datacenters(+ DR site) in under an hour and cheaper too.

What took months and years of effort, now takes the clicks of a few buttons. The barrier to entry has dropped significantly and I can't think of any single startup that is thinking about building a new datacenter. What incumbents viewed as a competitive advantage, is now their downfall. Buying, configuring and deploying a new server takes an average of 2-4 weeks. Head over to Azure or any other cloud provider, and you could have a shiny new instance in under 5 minutes ready to go.

The analogy I usually draw on is that at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, most factories ran their own electric power generators. Electricity didn’t exist as utility like we think about today. Need more power? Install another generator. Think about that for a minute.
 • How much would it cost to build out the entire forecasted capacity?
 • How long would it take to install and get operational?
 • Could we operate it efficiently and reliably?
 • …

These are the same concerns that organizations face today as they think about building out their datacenters. Thankfully we don’t run our own power generators any more. Power generation technology improved and it slowly became a utility available on demand. When was the last time you walked into your office and thought about how power was generated to power the lights or your laptop? Most organizations saw that they could focus on their core business building widgets rather than worrying about stocking coal in their basement.

There are lots of valid concerns today about moving to the Cloud around Security, Reliability, Privacy, etc. Thankfully the industry is recognizing that, and I am sure that they will be sorted out. Just as the power generation industry overcame those objections to convince their customer, cloud providers too shall overcome them this time around. The economics of the market dictate it!

Hopefully we can continue this conversation in the coming months. Let me know what you think about the Cloud and what challenges you are facing at your organization.