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A tale of two woes (whoa!)

Nov 22 2016

About a month ago, my seven-year-old laptop overheated and crashed. Since then I’ve really struggled to keep it up and running. I’ve had to reinstall Windows 10 five or six times, and Visual Studio more times than I can count. Woe.

At one of the Connect 2016 sessions (http://bit.ly/2fnZ1sf) held last week Donovan Brown, Senior Product Manager, Visual Studio Team Services, mentioned that he was using an Azure virtual machine nearly full time and I thought to myself that I should give it a try. Of course, I was very skeptical, I’ve used RDP to remote into servers for many years, the experience has never been one that I would describe as enjoyable. Still I was desperate.

My MSDN subscription provides me 160 credits per month to use within Azure, and because I’m already using a fair chuck of those credits on other services, I decided to go with the bare bones plan with 1 processor and 4 gigs of memory, and, just as every other experience that I’ve had with RDP, it was slow and cumbersome. A no go.

But just to make sure that I’d crossed my t’s and dotted my i’s I bumped the plan up to a DS3_V2 Standard which includes 4 cores and 14 gigs of memory, and whoa! The difference in performance between my local computer and the virtual machine, except for downloads, was barely perceptible. The internet connection in the virtual machine was noticeably faster. Much faster in fact than my local home network. Large gigabytes of data download very quickly.

Cloning my repository from Visual Studio Team Services I was able to get my development environment up and running in less than hour! Much faster than my typical twenty-four hour reinstall Windows, download Visual Studio, recover my data, and configure everything routine.

Now, it’s early in the process. I haven’t yet spent the time necessary to fully evaluate the experience, but I’m excited to spend a whole day developing in the virtual world of the cloud. Other than the cost of the DS3_V2 plan, which I believe will still fall within my credit limit, I’m a bit concerned about making sure my repository is up to date. I can imagine a situation where I haven’t updated VSTS from within my virtual environment and subsequently synced it locally, and then finding myself not able to access the internet. That’s a fairly small concern though, as just like you, I’m discovering it is increasingly difficult to do much of anything without a connection to the cloud. The day when your bidet requires a mobile app to start – is coming.

I'm a C# application developer focused on cross platform mobile apps using the Xamarin solution.

Prior to teaching myself to code, I worked in the IT field as a small business owner, IT Systems Administrator, and website designer.

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