Friday, 28 May 2010

What's New in the AppFabric Release Candidate

The Windows Server AppFabric Release Candidate was, well, released last week. Here's a quick look at changes from Beta 2.

What's New in PowerShell
Possibly the most visible change is the return of the Start Menu item for Powershell with the AppFabric module pre-loaded.

This fires up the Powershell console and runs 'Import-Module DistributedCacheAdministration' from the command-line, with the No-Exit switch to keep the console open. However it seems (at least on my Windows 7 machine) that there is something not quite right with this, as I now have to Exit from Powershell twice before the console actually closes. I've checked this on a VM running Windows Server 2008 as well as my Windows 7 laptop and it behaves the same on both platforms. Usefully, however, it also runs 'Use-CacheCluster', which if you're anything like me, saves you trying to run a cache command, then running Use-CacheCluster, then running your original command again.

I'm slightly disapppointed that the cachehelp command hasn't made a reappearance, so overall for Powershell I think I'll stick with my customised profile for importing the AppFabric commandlets.

What's New in Licensing
Err, nothing. There is no Go-Live license for the Release Candidate, although to be fair you might as well now wait another few weeks for the v1 release.

What's New in the Caching API
Again, nothing (that I can see), although since Beta 2 was the feature-complete release, it would be wrong to be making changes now.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

AppFabric Goes North!

Thanks to NEBytes for having me up to speak last night (and thanks to Andy (and Tammy :-) ) for putting me up). I ran my AppFabric distributed caching session, and for the first time nothing broke! Lots of performance problems though, caused by trying to run too many VMs on not enough memory. I think when I get home I'll review my demos: I want to run them all in one VS project to make it easier to swap between them as I'll just be able to run up one Cassini instance that'll contain all the demos. I was also thinking last night I might change the Regions/tagging demo so I get the objects from the database as required and then cache them in a lazy style. Watch this space.

I missed the first half of Jonathan Noble's session on Powershell 2.0, but I was quite impressed with what I did see. My use of Powershell can be described as 'fledgling' at best (even though it's used in managing AppFabric clusters and caches), so it was instructive to see it really put through it's paces. The remoting tools built into Powershell 2.0 look particularly impressive, it's made me think about how we manage our web servers at work and whether we should be using Powershell from our desktops instead of RDPing onto the servers and then using the IIS MMC.

I'd have liked a bit more time to look round Newcastle as it's somewhere I've never visited - maybe next time. I did get to drive past the Angel of the North, which was disappointingly somewhat less impressive than I'd anticipated. And this morning on the way back I got to see (if only on the horizon) the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge! (Thanks for the A19 tip Andy!)