What’s on your personal IT?

This post comes after a nice discussion with a friend yesterday, expecially after the sentence “you’re a strange Microsoft-addicted man“… ūüôā

But why this?

I work every day from many many years with Microsoft technologies and all the Microsoft’s universe¬†is my target of business from ever. Personally I literally love Microsoft as a company and Microsoft’s products in general. For business, there’s no better choice, with MS you’re sure to be in touch with a great company and with products that works.

My working machine (what I’m using at the office) ¬†is a portable Windows machine and here¬†all IT things are¬†Microsoft-related.

But what about personal life?

Technology is a big part also in my personal life, I can’t see my life at home without playing with something that is “technically cool”. But in this field, the things are a bit different. If at work I’m totally Microsoft addicted, at home actually I’m totally Apple addicted.

I’ve made this choice about 7 years ago. I’ve always used Windows at home, but one¬†day the iPhone 3G comes out (Steve Jobs the saint!) and this was the change. The iPhone experience was so good that I decided to buy also my first Apple computer and things goes naturally…

For my personal life I want:

  • Something that really works without to be a “nerd” and permits me to do my everyday tasks in the¬†better way!
  • Something that is cool
  • Something that gives me pleasure to see and touch
  • Something durable
  • Something that can be carried with me everywhere without problems

So, what’s on my IT right now?

iPhone6

My smartphone is an iPhone: no better choice. I’m an iPhone addicted and I think this device is one of the best IT products everywhere. The iPhone really WORKS! In more that 7 years with the iPhone family, I’ve never had a problem. Apple devices are great, they have a very long life right now (you can install the latest software also on a device that is 5 years old) ¬†and they’re so “immediate” to use.

 

IpadMini

I have also an iPad mini¬†that I use often when I’m out (conferences, customers) or when I’m at home in the evening (for Internet surfing, mail and other tasks). The iPad is a great companion to have and with iCloud all is in synch with my¬†other devices.

 

My personal pc actually is a MacBook Air. I had a previous MacBook Air 13 (6 years old and it runs the latest Mac OS really well also now!) but now I’m using a MacBook Air 11. The Air 11 gives me all what I want now: power and portability.

MacBookAir11_01

I need a device that can be extremely portable when I’m out and the Air 11 is perfect on this aspect, it’s just like having an iPad on the bag but with the power of Mac OS and a desktop pc. When I’m at home, I can plug it to an external monitor and the experience is great (exactly like a desktop machine).

With the MacBook Air I can run all what I need in my personal life and I can run it immediately and with a great experience everywhere.

 

Microsoft plays and important role also at home… thanks to Satya Nadella, now Microsoft has its productivity apps for every devices and I can use Office and many others MS apps that I need on all my Apple’s devices.

The next steps?

I’m seriously thinking to going completely online… ūüôā

Actually I’m an Office 365 user, I use OneDrive as my primary cloud storage account (but I use also GDrive and iCloud) and I can use the MS Office suite on my MacBook exactly like on my Windows pc at office (same apps and same data). Via VPN and RDP I can connect to my office servers and I can use the same programs I use at work also on mobility.

The only thing that actually I can’t do so well on my MacBook Air is programming with Visual Studio (because there’s not Visual Studio for Mac, Microsoft please think about that ūüėČ ). I say SO WELL because I can run Visual Studio on a virtual machine (and VM works very well on a Mac) and use it normally. But for Visual Studio, I’m thinking on a totally new experience. Why not using the cloud?

Actually I use VS Online, so my projects are safely synched with the cloud. Actually the Azure platform offers the chance to activate a virtual machine with Visual Studio ready to go in few minutes. Why not using these features?

I think that the next step will be this: stop using virtual machines on my MacBook but simply connect via RDP to an Azure Virtual machine for development when I need it. The Azure VM will be off when not used (no money charge at all).¬†Quite easy and so powerful ūüôā

The revolution begins…

SQL Server backup on cloud

In my daily work I see different types of Microsoft SQL Server installations and different types of IT managers that have their own backup and security policies. One of the security aspects that often is so poor is the backup conservation: backup on external discs, on tapes, on usb, on network folder and sometimes (ahim√® yes…) on the same discs of the SQL Server machine.

Now we live in the cloud era, so why not using the cloud power for high availability and data recovery?

I see that not so many people knows that on SQL Server 2014 (but also on SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2) there are built-in features to automatically backup your database to Azure and use its BLOB storage to securely save your data (encrypted and compressed).

This feature is so easy to use and it’s the same as the standard backup on discs, just specify the Azure credentials and the Azure storage account:

In this way you can have an on-premise database that is securely backup on cloud. Storing your backups in Microsoft Azure Blob Storage provides an instant, highly available, and a durable archiving option and no problems on hardware management.

For more informations about this feature (that personally I recommend a lot!) you can check the official MSDN site.

 

Google BigQuery: and Microsoft?

Google BigQuery is really a fascinating technology for big data analysis. In short terms

BigQuery enables super-fast, SQL-like queries against append-only tables, using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure. Simply move your data into BigQuery and let us handle the hard work.

Via a command line, a web interface or a REST API you can upload your large dataset to Google datacenters and query it by using the power of Google’s cores.

But what about Microsoft? Is there something similar?

In my opinion, the best response is actually this:

Microsoft actually does not offer a real time big data query service like Google’s one¬†but the Azure cloud platform (that I love) offers other alternatives.

Depending on your needs you could have at least two options:

  1. SQL Data Warehouse: A new Azure based data warehouse service that offers full SQL Server experience and can scale up to petabytes. This is the perfect answer if you have relational data and you need performances.
  2. HDInsight: A Windows Azure service that deploys and provisions Apache Hadoop clusters in the Azure cloud, providing a software framework designed to manage, analyze and report on big data. This is an interesting option if you have a large amount of data and you want to do calculations on a batch mode and store the aggregated result set elsewhere.

I think that Google BigQuery and Azure SQL Data Warehouse are actually the most interesting big data solutions.

Prices?

Obviously there are different prices for every services, but in summary there’s a main difference between the two platforms: With Google BigQuery you pay for the query you¬†perform, with Azure you pay for the resources you allocate.

 

 

Programming Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2015 book

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If you’re a serious NAV developer¬†and you want to know all about the new platform, this is the book for you…

Moving to WordPress

As some of you already knows, I had a personal blog hosted by myself on a .NET blogging engine called Subtext.

Subtext has served me for many years but actually it’s not enough for my needs expecially for a main reason: I can’t blog on mobility! So, on which platform to continue blogging? WordPress is my choice!

Starting from today, this is the place where you can read something from me… ūüôā