Microsoft's Lankford Explores Cloud Development

The Visual Studio ALM product manager leads the crowd at Live! 360 through some of the market forces driving cloud development.

With the ubiquitous focus on the cloud, transitioning to effective and efficient cloud development is top of mind for any developer. Microsoft's Kris Lankford presented an evening keynote on Monday, November 18, that wrapped up the opening workshop day at Live! 360, held at the Loew's Royal Pacific resort in Orlando, Florida.

Lankford's presentation entitled "Cloud Developer: Are You One?" led the eager crowd through some of the market forces driving cloud development. He described the common perception of cloud development as all in or all out, but dove into a deep explanation of how it can be as much or as little as needed. With the device focus being on all types of devices, including PCs, tablets, and phones Lankford's premise was you can take what you have and extend it to the cloud and support the various devices with which consumers will access your apps.

Lankford, senior product manager for Visual Studio ALM solution at Microsoft, started off the presentation by sharing several updates on Microsoft's development platforms: including

  • Visual Studio 2013 update 4 is available, and features some bug fixes and new functionality
  • Visual Studio 2015 preview is now available to download
  • The open source .NET core runtime is now available to the open source community
  • The .NET framework is now cross platform for Linux and Mac
  • The Visual Studio Community Edition is now available free of charge

These announcements were greeted enthusiastically by the crowd, even drawing applause for the open source and free Visual Studio Community Edition announcements.

Then he touched on the primary aspects of the Microsoft cloud, and how it's not an all or nothing scenario. First, it's an enterprise-grade cloud, running myriad first-party services. It's also fully scalable, what Microsoft calls Hyperscale. This helps Azure accommodate companies large and small from start to finish. The hybrid nature of the cloud and its consistency is another significant factor. "It's not a lift and shift scenario," he says.

He also presented several data points to show Azure's reach and scope.

  • Azure is running more than one million SQL Server databases
  • There are more than 300 million Active Directory users on Azure
  • Azure operates in 17 regions globally

Moving on to the demonstration portion of the presentation, Brian Randall, another frequent speaker at Live! 360 events, joined Lankford for the bold step of creating a cross-platform mobile app live on stage. Randall quickly put together an app on a Mac running OS 10. "When he finishes," Lankford says, "he'll have an MVC Web site." Randall went through the steps of creating a simple to-do list app in Visual Studio 2013 on the virtual machine, then running it in Azure. While there were a few delays in the process, he did get the app the up and running fairly smoothly.

Lankford took over for the next major portion of the demo and created an expense tracking app for the Android platform. After creating the app in Visual Studio, he deployed it to his own phone right there on stage. He started the app on his phone and was able to start making entries. Randall and Lankford kept the crowd engaged, joking back and forth as they worked together on stage.

Randall then concluded creating his app as an ASP.NET project within Visual Studio, then launched it into Azure as a Web site. He ran through the debugging process, then published the site to Azure. After making a few simple changes, he launched it as a production site. Lankford summed up the process describing how they two were able to build and deploy sites to Azure, set up site configurations, and have the sites scale up and down depending on usage loads.

Live! 360 wraps up 1105 Media's 2014 event calendar. For the 2015 event schedule, go to, and

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.

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