Notes from MS Connect 2017

November 15, 2017    Microsoft Conferences .Net

Notes from Microsoft Connect(); 2017

I was able to watch parts of Microsoft Connect(); 2017 this year. Since I took notes, it was worth sharing them broadly. It’s always fun to hear the announcements and see the demos at these conferences. There are a lot of good tweets about #MSFTConnect and on the Connect(); website Twitter wall.

Recordings are available on Channel9 . Source Code available for the Smart Hotels demo application

Free eBooks

Connect(); 2017 – Day 1 Recap from Jeff Bramwell

Microsoft Cloud Show - Episode 226 | News and Announcements from Connect() 2017

DevOps and VSTS Videos from Connect(); 2017 - here is a list with short summaries

I wrote a summary for the Omnitech’s blog .

Table of Contents

VSTS Announcements

They’ve been busy on the DevOps blog at Microsoft today.

C# 7.2 released

Keynote - Journey to the intelligent cloud

Scott Guthrie in the red polo Channel 9 Video Link - 1 hour and 49 minutes long

  • Introduction by Stephen Hawkins
  • Announcements coming
  • Any language, OS, or device
  • “Never been a better time to be a developer” - he always says that :-)
  • Best in class tools

VS Code

TypeScript @ts-check - check types in a JS file

Mobile Development

  1. Beautiful Native Apps, perform well
  2. Iterate quickly (build, test, distribute, learn)
  3. Backed by highly scalable cloud

Visual Studio and Xamarin .Net Embedding

  • compile .Net library, Embedinator NugetPackage generates a shared iOs/Android view or library

Same UI markup for iOS, Android, UWP

Visual Studio App Center - video

  • Multiple real device test cloud for automation


  • Setup build in under 60 seconds

  • Distribute app

  • On Twitter

  • User info, data

  • Push notification

  • Signup to use for free

  • Containers, Docker, Microservices

  • Many teams are thinking about it

  • Azure Container Services (AKS)


Siemens is using it. Video

Inner-loop development process

Scott Hanslemann VS Container tooling support

Scott’s tweet

  • Kubernetes based containers
  • Connect to Azure cluster from VS
  • Kubernetes Dashboard - localhost proxied to Azure
  • Local “looks and smells like production”, use Azure and collaborate as a team
  • Feels like on localhost, but I’m not
  • Confidence before committing

Same experience with Service Fabric coming


  • New approaches, Continuous Improvement
  • “everyone is looking to try and adopt”
  • VSTS a complete solution
  • Columbia Sportswear - video they use Cosmos DB

Donovan Brown

How the VSTS team uses VSTS to build VSTS

  • 500 developers
  • 50 feature teams
  • Work Items
  • KanBan board
  • Pull Requests
  • protect master
  • Runs 64,000 unit tests
  • PR’s are thefirst Gate

CI system more tests Safe deployment with Release management

  • rings, team first then moves out to more people

Application Insights for telemetry

Release Management new feature: Gates

  • any alerts fire, it will alert and stop deployments
  • Azure function or API call to check health

Windows has 25,000 engineers using VSTS


  • Sql Server 2017
  • Ultimate flexibility
  • Windows Server, Linux, Docker
  • Fastest ever
  • ML directly in memory database
  • Auto-tuning, threat detection
  • On premise or managed in Azure
  • Thompson Reuters video
  • SQL operations studio download - in preview and free
  • Suggested performance improvements
  • Azure auto tuning

Migration Tool to Azure SQL

  • Existing to Azure SQL as a service
  • Fully automated, wizard
  • Even for Oracle
  • Migration demo in Azure
  • Minimal downtime

Adding MariaDB

Cosmos DB

Guaranteed low latency Only pay for storage and throughput Scalable to terabytes and millions/sec SLAs Cassandra API support

Artificial Intelligence

Azure Data Bricks

Azure Data Bricks

Apache Sparks Based

Demo from Databricks people Parses unstructured data in Azure Data Lake Live data stream to a Power BI dashboard In preview now

Intelligent Edge + Intelligent Cloud

Free Azure trial

1 year free on Azure even after trial VM SQL Database Cosmos DB

Keynote - Building the intelligent apps of the future

Seth Juarez Channel 9 Recording

A.I. infused, new experiences, data driven Abstractions Cognitive Services - Anna Roth demo

  • Website demos - REST Api calls
  • You can export your model to your local application

Miguel de Icaza Apple’s OML on iOs use that from Xamarin

Heather - bots demo

  • quick create through the website
  • L.U.I.S. service

Peel away some of the hype Example: build an app that recognizes hand written digits

  1. Identify
  2. Explore > Analyze > Convert
  3. Generate a Model
  4. Make a Prediction

Announcement: Visual Studio Tools for AI Link

TensorBoard “like unit tests”

error function, the error should go down

Where to Run it?

Azure Machine Learning

Announcement: Azure IoT Edge Tool Download to local machine New Data type System.Numeric.Tensor<T>

Announcement: AI School

Azure DevOps Simplified

Channel9 Video Link Brian Harry - VSTS PM What is DevOps? People, Process, and tools “everything you do” use the tools you are comfortable with

Deploying to Azure “striving to make Azure the best experience to deploy to” Abel Wang demos Azure DevOps Project

Even Mac Support

platform support


  • YAML for config as code. Executed in the build.
  • Release Gates
    • Blog article
    • Gradual rollout to environments
    • VSTS rolls out, then waits 24 hours, then releases to the next gate
    • designate release blocking bugs which would stop a release
    • Abel Wang demo
      • ARM template, Kubernetes, Web, api and mobile all in one release!
      • VSTS Release Management
      • query for blocking bogs, then a post deployment gate
      • represent build pipeline as a YAML file, save it in source, version everything together
        • “Extremely flexible”
        • “happy dance”, “this is what we’ve been waiting for”
      • VSTS CLI
      • “we now have the ability to do things we couldn’t do before” -> minute 29
    • Separate short video [Deploy quicker and safer with new greenlighting capabilities in VSTS](Deploy quicker and safer with new greenlighting capabilities in VSTS)
  • Enterprise Git - Abel at minute 31
    • Pull Request process now with forks, not just branches
    • Pre-merge policies in VSTS
    • VSTS Git
    • GVFS - for large Git repos
      • Windows - 300 GB
      • Github is interested in partnering with VSTS
  • WIKI with Markdown in a Git Repo
  • TFS 2018 released today for on premise
    • TFS 2018 release

A day in the life of a modern .Net Developer

Scott Hunter and Aditi Dugar

Containers in Azure

Demo: Traditional WinForms app

  • WinForms already modernized, can install in Windows Store
  • and futher modernize
  • Next step, WCF service and move from WCF to Web API backend into a container
    • docker file, docker-compose (a yml file to configure how the containers work together)
    • Asp.Net image and SQL Server image

Move to .Net Core

  • Not everyone needs to move, .Net Framework will still be there for Windows specific
  • .Net Standard
  • Windows Compatability Pack for .Net Core which brings back Windows only API

New application with authentication demo

  • Apply EF migration from the error page!
  • easy to add new properties to ApplicationUser : IdentityUser class (saved in the db, command line: dotnet ef migration add photo)
  • gives you generated ViewModels
  • code is in Github
  • call old dll with Microsoft.Windows.Compatability Nuget package

.Net Application Architecture guidance

Steeltoe to .Net Foundation

Asp.Net Core is really fast (TechEmpower benchmarks) Azure Diagnostics and Live Analytics Production snap points (debug live in the cloud) templates for Angular and React Authenticator app support in templates CI/CD support for containers and App Service

Application.Insights.SnapshotCollector Nuget


Customer Sucess stories

2,000% speed increase

Application modernization with Microsoft Azure

Corey Sanders Channel 9 Video Recording Note: He talked really fast, so I watched it at .75 speed.

Why should I modernize?

  • Agility
    • Hard to make small changes (bring down server)
  • Time to Market
    • Get new things to the customers
    • Getting feedback
  • Total Cost of ownership
  • IT Simplification

The Cloud Maturity Model flow

Cloud Maturity Model

  • Lift and shift
    • Migration tools
    • no code changes
    • smaller cloud value
  • Cloud Optimized
    • Containers
    • a great step forward
    • no new code
    • increased density
    • portability, agility, tooling
    • high availability with Orchestrators
    • VMs and Containers
    • works with Service Fabric
    • Azure Container Instances
      • per second billing
      • Dev/Test
      • no infrastructure
      • fast start and stop, scale
      • compared to Kubernetes and Service Fabric orchestrators ACI has no control
    • Service Fabric (SF) demo at ~21 minutes
      • higher in stack then Kubernetes
      • add micro-services in a native way
      • Using Visual Studio
        • PowerShell to create SF cluster
        • Menu Add > Docker Support for SF
        • Configure and control in VS
        • Publish from VS
        • SF explorer
          • Scale Service
    • OS Container Services: DC/OS, Pivotal, Docker Enterprise, OpenShift (RedHat)
  • Modernizing: take advantage of cloud native solutions ~28 minutes
    • Serverless, logic apps, Cosmo DB, Managed DB (SQL, MySQL)
    • big step forward, code changes necessary
    • Event Grid -> events fired when something changes in your subscription in Azure
    • Cognitive Services
    • Demo
      • Demo
      • Breakpoints in VS work for Azure Function
      • WebApi into SF as a container
        • Calls into Cosmos DB
        • Web project - a change to allow it to call into the Web Api

It’s a journey. Think of how you can make steps toward modernization to improve your application and business.

Migrate to Azure

Source Code available

Go at your own/app pace and move towards modernization.

Transform business-critical .NET apps with containers and Azure

James Sturtevant - Senior Software Engineer Channel 9 recording


  • Move a WebForms application to the Service Fabric (SF) Platform.
  • Monitoring that application.
  • Azure global scale to introduce fault tolerance
  • add new features to the app

SF Cluster

Steps to Containerize a traditional application

  • Create the Docker container
  • push to Azure Container Registry
    • create a Service Fabric Application (from the Demo)
      • configure in ServiceManifest.xml, ApplicationManifest.xml (Policies) and Cloud.xml
      • Template in VSTS available, but he published from VS (script and use VSTS instead to deploy)
    • Scale it up easily, fault tolerance
  • push to SF
  • Migrate SQL to Azure SQL (with migration service)

DEMO: 7:30

  • Move cached state to a Redis Cache
  • Could be conflicts with multiple instances using the same DB instance


  • Doesn’t care about the type of monitoring you do
  • OMS - great at infrastructure and platform
    • App Insights is a good option
      • each container
      • performance counters

Global Scale

  • Availability Zone (AZ)
    • physically separated within an Azure region
    • independent power and cooling
    • simple to setup
    • 3 zones in each region
    • intra-Az < 1ms, inter-AZ < 2ms
    • Have a traffic manager
    • SF AZ
    • SF Cluster can be set it up cross regional as well
      • minimum 9 VMs, 3 or more regions

Microservices Architecture

Decompose it. Start with a new feature, something that needs to scale, needs low latency, already modular

Keep in mind: latency, failures (retries), shared state

Stateful middle tier architecture overview

  • use ReliableDictionary<T>
    • example CartController.cs
  • always put in a transaction
  • Data is replicated reliably across many nodes
  • extracted out and put into a separate database - data merge is needed with a LINQ Join
  • he was able to add in Async/Await and C# 7.1

Source Code on Github

Comprehensive reference

Microsoft docs

My TakeAways

I wasn’t expecting SF from the title, but it is exciting to see how he was able to move an old WinForms app and more it to Service Fabric. Containers in SF is a great technology to have. I will introduce these ideas of modernizing applications to the teams I’m working with.

Azure: building applications using Azure Service Fabric and ASP.NET Core

Channel 9 Video Recording Vaclav Turecek

Sample code

File new Service Fabric (SF) > Web Api

  • Creates a Web Api project with some SF files and config (Package)
  • it’s a console application
    • bootstraps and registers it with SF runtime
  • He gave a in-depth explanation of startup with the SF hooks


  • Use <code>IReliableStateManager</code> to have a stateful features in a controller.
  • all operations with reliable needs to be Async
  • fast if dictionary is already created (grabs it from cache)
  • always replicated across services and machines, and local disk
  • Recommendation: don’t cache it yourself, unless profiling shows a bottleneck
  • replicated transactional log

Visual Studio publish creates a SF package with a service manifest. It includes a PowerShell script to deploy to Azure. Visual Studio gives you profiles and parameters for environments.

Backend communication setup - minute 29

  • Goes through a naming service (diagram)
  • (I need to watch this again and give it more focus)
  • You need a load balancer and a gateway (Gateway pattern)
    • Azure Load Balancer > SF
    • API Management, Event Hub, IOT > SF
  • Option 1: Direct cilent to service
    • raw ServicePartitionResolver API for DIY service address resolution (difficult)
    • Service Remoting
    • DNS Service (simple)
  • Option 2: Request forwarding
    • Reverse Proxying (used in demo), needed because it is stateful

IAsyncEnumerable - No Linq Support

Spread the volume out to multiple machines - minute 40

  • with partitioning and using multiple service instances to manage your data
  • Front end coupled to the Back end. it has to know how it is partitioned.
  • as you grow, there is no limit with services
  • partitions can’t be re-partitioned
  • Create on the fly with this.fabricClient.ServiceManager.CreateServiceAsync
    • example: create a service for each “poll” in the sample app
    • start with default services in the ApplicationManifest.xml for VS debugging
      • can be deleted, create with a script instead with New-ServiceFabricService
    • Limits: hardware, small amount of overhead (over 100,000s)
    • Hint: Use ExclusiveProcess mode

My Takeways

This was an deep dive into using Service Fabric with Asp.Net WebApi. SF is very robust and you can even create services on the fly to scale easily.

Stateful is a good option, but I don’t yet understand why you would choose that over storing information in a database.

I’m going to have to learn more, but SF looks like a great way to host API. How do you choose between SF, Azure App Service and API Management?

Securing your web applications with ASP.NET Core 2.0

Channel 9 Video Recording

Nate Barbettini - dev at OKTA

His free eBook about Asp.Net Core

Authorization and Authentication has been updated in Asp.Net Core. It’s generic, un-opinionated and modular.

Authentication Demo

  • This is a good basic walk through of adding Auth without using the Authentication template.
  • He used the base template (file > new project) from Visual Studio
  • services.AddAuthentication(...).AddCookie()
  • app.UseAuthentication();
  • new ClaimsIdentity...
  • HttpContext.SignInAsync(
  • He showed the cookies in the response and request for login to demistify how that cookie authentication is working.


Do they have permission to do what they want to do?

Demo at 17 minutes

  • [Authorize]

  • services > .AddCookie(options =>

  • Create an authorization policy for re-use

    • [Authorize(Policy = "MustBeAdmin")]
    • Create policy in startup.cs >
      • services.AddAuthorization(options => { options.AddPolicy("MustBeAdmin", p => p....) }
    • forbidden message, until new Claim(ClaimTypes.Role, "Admin");

    Asp.Net Core Identity, template gives you the functionality he showed early, but a lot more

Hardening Asp.Net Core - 27 minutes and 30 seconds

  • Anti-forgery (CSRF)
    • make sure form posts are originating from your site
    • token is built in automatically
    • you have to validate that token with [ValidateAntiForgeryToken] on controller action.
    • apply it in Startup in the services.AddMvc(options =>) to all actions
      • options.Filters.Add(new AutoValidateAntiforgeryTokenAttribute());
    • [RequireHttps] on controllers
    • apply as a filter options.Filters.Add(new RequireHttpsAttribute())'
  • Security Headers
    • Modern browsers have optional security header options
    • Check at
      • NGrok or to open up a tunnel to your local host (or deploy to Azure…)
    • app.UseForwardedHeaders(new ForwardedHeadersOptions { ForwardedHeaders = ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedHeaders.XForwardedFor | ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedProto });
    • NWebsec.AspNetCore.MiddleWare NuGet package
      • app.UseHstst(options => options.MaxAge(days: 365).IncludeSubdomains());
      • close the trust on first use (T.O.F.U) loop
      • opt-in to the pre-load list
      • app.UseXXssProtection(options => options.EnabledWithBlockMode());
      • app.UseXContentTypeOptions();
    • Remove the server header
      • Program.cs
      • add UseKestrel(options => { options.AddServerHeader = false;})


I haven’t worked with the Asp.Net identity system for awhile. It’s great to see how well Asp.Net Core has integrated Auth and made it easy to work with through middle ware. This talk is well worth watching before diving into a new Asp.Net Core app. I’m going to recommend this to my co-workers. Understanding these basics is important.

The security hints are another thing I’ll recommend putting into core sites in the future.

More videos in my queue

Breakout shorter video highlights

Sessions to watch

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