Windows Azure SDK for .NET June 2012 Release 'New Packaging Format, Side By Side Install of SDKs' and More; Implement SSO with Windows Azure Active Directory

A new Microsoft post shared a good overview of the new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) related capabilities in the June 2012 release of the Windows Azure SDK for .NET. Here is what is new:New Packaging FormatWith th June 2012 release, Microsoft opened up the packaging format of the cspkgs, and provided a way to convert the cspkg […]

A new Microsoft post shared a good overview of the new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) related capabilities in the June 2012 release of the Windows Azure SDK for .NET. Here is what is new:

New Packaging Format
With th June 2012 release, Microsoft opened up the packaging format of the cspkgs, and provided a way to convert the cspkg to the open OPC format,which is compatible with the .zip format.

What this means is that "now you can unzip, edit, re-zip, and deploy your packages to Windows Azure without the need for Visual Studio, or even a Windows OS!," stated Avilay Parekh, Sr. Program Manager.

Until now, "hackers could easily open the cspkgs with unzip utilities and examine what was in the package. However, it wasn't possible to edit and repackage the cspkg and deploy it to Windows Azure."

Direct Instance Addressability
What this means is that "if you have a web role with 4 instances running in the cloud, you can ask Windows Azure to assign these 4 instances ports like 5000, 5001, 5002, and 5003. Then you can directly talk to a specific instance by using a URL like - http://myapp.cloudapp.net:5000, http://myapp.cloudapp.net:5001, and so on," Parekh explained.

Custom Load Balancer Probes is a great way to control whether and when your role can receive traffic from the Windows Azure load balancer. "This is a rather advanced scenario, which, if this were Windows OS, would be under a couple of "Advanced", "Advanced", buttons," he said.

Side By Side Install of SDKs
June 2012 SDK remove a particular road block that "keeps users away from upgrading to newer SDK, because there was no way to test the newer SDK while keeping production code in the already running 'older' SDK."

Now, you can install this SDK side-by-side with the older November 2011 SDK.

Micorsoft also shared resources to help implementing Single Sign-on with Windows Azure Active Directory.

"You can implement web single sign-on with the help of Windows Azure Active Directory that was provisioned for your customer when they subscribed to Office 365. Windows Azure Active Directory provides directory, authentication, and authorization services, including a Security Token Service (STS)," Microsoft stated.

With the web single sign-on, "you will provide access to your cloud application to your customer's employees through a federated mechanism that relies on an STS that is provided by Windows Azure Active Directory."

You and your customer will accomplish this by performing the following tasks:

  1. "Your customer must provision your application in Windows Azure Active Directory. Also, as part of this step, you must provision your customer to have access to your cloud application. In other words, you need to ensure that users from the Office 365 tenant with your customer's specific domain are granted access to your application.
  2. You must protect your cloud application with WS-Federation and onboard your customer. In other words, establish trust between your cloud application and the single sign-on endpoint of the directory," informs Microsoft.

Check the following article for detailed information about web single sign-on: